Shopping. It’s supposed to be a girl’s best friend.
Try enemy instead.
Is there anything more torturing than picking through racks, finally finding ONE piece of clothing that you (a) like and (b) is your size, taking it into the dressing room, and looking at yourself in three full-length mirrors in horrible lighting that make your skin look radioactive? Sweaters and jackets aren’t too bad. Shorts and bikinis? A different story.
We shame our bodies because we don’t see them as “perfect.”
Mannequins make everything look so flawless, so beautiful. Their size 2-4 frames have the ideal proportions. They don’t have our lumps and bumps, our knobby kness, our torsos that seem to be longer than our legs or vice versa. It’s hard to picture how that shirt will look on you when you see it hanging on a culturally desirable figure.
Sure, we can have more plus-size models and body positive ads. But will that really stop that voice in your head that mocks you when that sparkly tank top doesn’t fit just right? Sizes on clothes are powerful.
You don’t have to be XXXXL to feel body shame. You just have to have a body.
Size 0 or size 2 doesn’t guarentee happiness. Looking like Barbie doesn’t exempt you from bad body image days.
Even when the size small/medium shorts I had always worn in high school hung off my body, even when my bra straps slipped off my shoulders, even when my feet swam in my tennis shoes… I wasn’t happy. At first, it was because I still looked in the mirror and saw the pudgy girl I thought I was. Then, during recovery, it was because I didn’t have rippling biceps like my sister to fill out that t-shirt or didn’t have a big enough butt for those shorts. I was a size 00, and I still left stores empty-handed with tears in my eyes.
The sizing on clothing was a back-and-forth battle. Every time I needed to buy new pants because the old pair I bought (while at an unhealthy weight) became a little tighter, I was happy. Tighter jeans meant getting healthier, stronger.
Then a tiny voice would say, “But don’t you want to be size 0 anymore? If you’re this new size now, what’s to stop you from getting bigger and bigger?”
I thought I had escaped the calorie-counting, scale-watching obsession with numbers. Yet, here were more numbers–sizes–making me have a virtual breakdown in Kohl’s parking lot.
Having a beach body doesn’t mean fitting into some bikini. Having the body we always wanted doesn’t mean fitting into some pair of jeans we’ve had hidden in our closet for years.
Having the “perfect” body means having the confidence and self-esteem to feel comfortable no matter what we’re wearing. We are spirits and minds and hearts inside bodies, not merely bodies meant to look picture-ready all the time.
Like it or not, clothing is often a part of our identity. We choose what we want to wear and how we want to wear it. As much as walking around naken might get rid of this pressure to dress “right,” that doesn’t work if you want to be a functional member of society.
Sizes probably aren’t going to change, but you will. One day, you might be a size 0. A few years down the road, a size 8. But–just like the numbers on a scale–these sizes aren’t measuring your health or happiness.
I wish I could cover up every clothing tag in a store. I can’t (at least, I think that might be illegal). What I can do is change my attitude.
Next time I try on a less-than-flattering shirt or too baggy/tight pants, I’m going to think, “Something’s wrong with these clothes” rather than “Something’s wrong with me.”
You aren’t a dress size. You aren’t a swimsuit. You aren’t even that tank top you love to wear.
That t-shirt looks horrible on you? Put it back on the rack. Move on.
You are more than a body. Work on cultivating your spirit and self-confidence instead so that, even if you wear a muumuu, no one can say you don’t shine.
Love to hear your thoughts!
–> How big of a role do the sizes of your clothes play in your life?
–> How do you deal when trying on clothes in stores and nothing seems to fit?