Trying on clothes has always been an issue for me. At the heaviest, it was more of a chore than anything. A day spent in a dressing room was one that was also filled with tears, frustration, and general disgust for myself. I would really be so disgusted with myself that my response to deal with the disgust? Surprise, surprise – I would EAT!! Not only would I eat, but sometimes I went straight from the dressing room to the grocery store to pick up ALL THE SNACKS and pig out food that I thought would make me feel better. Did any of this help – no, of course not, obviously. However, for the moment it was a good comfort. There were times that I just flat out refused to try on jeans – as a result – I spent most of my twenties in wind/exercise and sweat pants.
The absolute WORST was trying on dresses for proms, bridesmaid dresses, and anything fancy that required more than my “fancy wind pants” – ps – I really wish that wasn’t a thing in my life – but it totally was. There are so many memories burned into my mind about trying on dresses with my Grandmother. She would cry along side me. Of course I wanted the hip and pretty dresses but they did not make those in plus sizes when I was in high school. My Grandmother was a big force in my life and she really loved and supported me. However, I truly think that one of her biggest disappointments was that I was the chubby kid. She wanted to dress me up and treat me to all the pretty clothes but it just wasn’t doable back then. It was tough to be chubby in the mid 90ies. The plus size clothes were very matronly. Clearly, they were made for older women not 15 year olds. Those hours of dress shopping were very traumatizing. When I grew up and my dear girlfriends starting getting married – the bridesmaids dresses started. OH MY WORD never mind the styles and colors – frankly, my girlfriend brides were very good at picking out their maid’s dresses. But, almost always being the largest bridesmaid just made my guts hurt. Nothing worse than going for a fitting and hearing that your dress size is a 26 and everyone else is a 0 – 6. I don’t have any pictures to share of me in weddings – but I can assure that I was always in the back row – being hidden by everyone else.
Now, trying on clothes is a must different experience. There are still tears, but they are much different tears. There is still frustration – but it comes from a different place. These days trying on clothes is much more positive but it can still be difficult. Mostly because of my relationship with my scale and food – I continue to get caught up on what number in on the tags. This becomes an issues when you shop in all sorts of different places. Most of the clothes that I wear now come from my Aunt’s closet and Old Navy. I also buy some items at Posh – the local consignment shop. When you buy consistently at one place you begin to understand how their sizes work. So – at Old Navy I know what sizes to grab. I’ve been told that Old Navy sizes run bigger than other stores. Before – I’ve always just reached for the XXL and hoped it fit. To be honest, I still grab for the XXL and then I have to remember that that is not my life anymore.
My issues come when I go to other places and try on the same sizes that I tried on at Old Navy and they don’t fit. This becomes discouraging for me. I know that it is not important and I know that it doesn’t mean anything other than the clothes are cut differently. Yet it is something that I have a hard time getting over. I have put so much emphasis on numbers that their meanings are paramount to success for me. The rational part of my brain knows that it means nothing and is not relevant. The irrational – and apparently larger part of my brain worries about it.
Because I enjoy wearing vintage dresses and other looks – this becomes a big challenge for my brain. Mostly this is because the older the clothes are typically the smaller they are. So this dress that I LOVE – according to the label is a size 14. By todays’ standards I’d say it is really a size 10. It fits really well and I love the way that I look in it. I needed to reassure myself that the size doesn’t mean a darn thing. It is all about the fit and if I’m comfortable!! I love the way this dress makes me feel, so it’s a winner in my book.
This beauty also came out of my Aunt’s Closet – it is labeled a size 12. I recently wore it to a celebration of life. It fit a little snug – which leads me to believe that by today’s standards it might be a size 8? I’m not really sure. Either way – the dress is simple yet elegant and I like the way I look in it. I am not sure how old it is – but I think it is a timeless beauty!
This little black number is a medium and it fits a little snug around the chest but good in the waist and shoulders. It’s an older dress but I would argue that it is a true – or what I think is a true – medium. I’ve never been able to pull off a little black dress before so wearing this really makes me feel confident. Although I am not dressing it up in this picture – I really do enjoy mix and matching a bunch of different colors with it. The LBD is a lot of fun!
Pants are my worst enemy. Here I am fit – but a bit flabby – mostly from lose skin. I have come to the realization that I have ZERO BOOTY. So its a little bit of a challenge to find pants that work for my body type. Also, I find that I can wear like 3 different sizes and they all fit differently on different parts of my leg, butt, and waste. It’s annoying that my pants are sometimes tight around my knees (is this a thing for anyone else?) but lose at my waist. I need to start squatting like it’s my job to get my booty right. I am not complaining because before I would just jam myself into whatever would zip or button and I rarely could find anything that would.
Although the shops have more to offer me now – because of where I’ve been I still need to refocus and concentrate on the positives in the changing rooms. One part of this journey that has proven to be so important to me is just friggen going with it. For so long I have suffered over the number on the scale and the letters on the labels. In the end it’s the way you feel that really matters and counts. I mean really the only place the number really matters is at the doctors office – right? Outside of that 15 minute appointment every 6 months I have to be comfortable in my skin and clothes. I have learned it is less about the clothes and more about the person wearing them. I really like her – she’s confident, daring, and strong – regardless of what size her pants are!!