Dressing for “Me”

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This is my latest cross-post over at WeAretheRealDeal. You can read it below the jump or by clicking here.


Last week, I did some birthday shopping at Ann Taylor Loft, one of my favorite stores.

I’ve long accepted the fact that I’m no longer a size 6, as I was at my thinnest post-Weight Watchers weight loss.

So instead of being disappointed every time I go shopping (like I had been for the past two years), now I just gravitate to the 8s at the start of my adventure — and most often they fit just fine.

Like most women with curves, I can’t slip just anything on and have it fit perfectly, but after years of dressing myself at various sizes, I more or less know what cuts work on my body and what cuts are less than flattering.

Well, as luck would have it I found a beautiful pair of charcoal gray dress pants (see image of Loft model at left) for work that I was in love with … but they only had sizes 0, 2, 4, 10, 12 in the store.

I was too impatient to wait for them to order me a pair from another store (hello, half the thrill of shopping is walking about with something new!), so I had two choices: try on the 10, knowing it would be big, or walk away empty-handed.

So I stood there, hemming and hawing for a minute or two. Hemming and hawing because, you see, long ago, I’d vowed (perhaps unrealistically) to never to buy double-digits in clothes again (unless I was pregnant).

I had a “stigma” in my head about buying clothes anything higher than an 8 — which sounds horribly vain and totally disordered, I know. But after losing weight in 2004, I just didn’t want to ever have to go there again and well, I’m stubborn.

Of course, rationally, I know there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a size 10 — it’s less than the average size today! — but after spending five years in single digits, it was a blow to my ego to have to buy another size up.

Sure enough, I tried the pants on and yes, they were a little loose, but they felt flowy and fluid. I loved the way they fit my legs (not clinging), how they hung a little on my hips (in that low-maintenance, sexy-but-not-too-sexy-for-work way), the way they laid and draped on the curves of my body.

Most importantly, I loved how they fit the body I have NOW … not the body I had four years ago and still often covet.

The saleslady loved them (OK, I know they’re paid to pay compliments to consumers, but I really believed her).

She agreed they looked a little big, but in a good way, and told me with the right belt and fitted top, they’d be super-flattering.

And the best part? I felt good in them, confident. In them, these extra 10 lbs. didn’t seem to define me; rather, the pants fit ME instead of the other way around.

So I bought them, the size/tag be damned.

For kicks, when I got home, I put the new pants next to a pair of 8s from Ann Taylor (AT, not the Loft) and sure enough, they were the exact same size. I got a good chuckle at that one. It seems sizing is not standard at all these days …

And in the end, I feel good in these pants. No one knows what size they are but me (ok, and blog readers).

Don’t they say any big journey begins with a single small step? In a way, I think it was a bit serendipitous that they were out of 8s: it forced me to accept myself TODAY. To buy a size up for the first time in years, and to acknowledge that, in those pants, the size didn’t define me. They just made me feel good about myself.

They fit like a gem. And if they happen to get even looser in the coming months, awesome. But if they don’t … it most certainly wasn’t the end of the world to buy them.

For the peace of mind this shopping experience gave me, I think it’s safe to say these pants have fantastic ROI!

How about you? How have you dealt with shopping when you’ve gained weight and needed to buy a size up? Did it affect how you felt about your body?

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3 thoughts on “Dressing for “Me”

  1. I hate how sizing isn’t equal across the board, as I’m a 12 in some stores, and a 16 in others. I used to refuse to buy a 16, until I found a pair of jeans that fit so well I had to buy them. They’re Seven7 brand, and while not “seven for all mankind” still a “premium” brand. They look great, no matter what the number is.

  2. I went through a similiar thing last fall, I needed to size up but mentally it was so hard. When I finally went shopping I tried on a few larger sizes and they looked so much better and more importantly I felt so much more confident in them. A good fitting pair of pants is so much more flattering than too tight pants.Size really is meaningless because they vary so much from store to store
    and even within the same brand depending on cut. Rock those new pants!

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