The weirdest thing happened to me today. I went clothes shopping, and it didn’t end in an internal whirlwind of self-loathing and depression. In fact I… had a good time. I. Had a good time. Shopping for clothes. No really. Do you understand how bizarre and inconceivable this is?
I approached the trip with my normal sense of dread. I needed to get some nice work pants, and pants are historically one of those things guaranteed to make me feel like shit. Because, you know. If you’re fat, you are banished to the plus-sized section (if the store even has one!) or a specialty store. And frankly, for me to try to find pants that I like isn’t easy to begin with. I want pockets, damnit. I basically just want men’s pants that will fit over my generous ass and I don’t know why I can’t have that.
The last time I went to Lane Bryant, I actually was too small for most of the clothes, so I figured I would try Nordstrom and just see if they had anything that even fit me. I asked the clerk for size 18 pants, and she said they didn’t sell anything bigger than a 16. Uh oh. Sinking feeling. But she said I should try, so… okay. We picked up every pair of 16s we could find and I went to try them on.
I had to ask for about half of them in a size 14 instead. This is something that has never happened to me. Ever. I haven’t been able to wear “regular” clothes since I was in high school. And suddenly… I can go anywhere, and be able to find something that might fit. I still can’t quite mentally grasp that.
It’s amazing what a little thing like that can do. Even when you don’t actually like any of the choices available, just knowing that you could wear it if you wanted to is huge. And it does kind of confirm how I’ve always felt plus-sized women are treated, like we’re unwanted as customers and treated as shameful. That made shopping an incredibly shitty experience for me before, particularly since I never liked many of the looks that got put together for larger women at stores like Lane Bryant. Argh.
Anyway, suddenly discovering I could wear size 16 pants kind of made my day. Then finding size 16 pants with pockets at Brooks Brothers continued to make my day.
But the thing that really made my day/week/month?
I’ve suddenly begun to love clothes because I’ve found a way to dress that makes me feel good. I feel confident and playful and happy. And phase two has been ties. I love ties, and I now have shirts that will work well with them. I don’t want to borrow my husband’s ties. I want my own. So also at Brooks Brothers, I talked to one of the sales associates and had him help me figure out colors.
That was fun. Hella fun. The poor guy was a bit stumped. Apparently they don’t get many redheads coming in to that store. He eventually had to pull over one of the other sales associates, and then we spent the next twenty minutes holding up various ties while the guys decided if they looked good with my hair and skin or not. It was magical and hilarious.
I’m excited. About wearing clothes. Write this day on the calendar.