I’ve noticed something. A lot of my clothes don’t fit me any more. Oh they still physically fit me, just like most people who give up dieting and learn to listen to their body and give it what it asks for, rather than telling it what it should need, my weight has settled into a setpoint that stays pretty much the same, give or take a few kilos.
What doesn’t fit about the clothes isn’t the size. It’s the message they send to the world. It’s the message I was sending when I bought them.
I’ve been going through my wardrobe over the past couple of months, and making room for lots of new clothes. Not only have I been lucky enough to be sent some for reviewing by Autograph Fashion (more reviews to come there) and No Exceptions (a glowing review to come for them by the end of this week I hope), but I’ve done a lot of shopping lately. Up until about 4 or 5 months ago, had been a long time since my wardrobe had got any serious refreshing. The last time I had bought any clothes other than the odd super sale piece or something I really needed for work, was when I was in the US in late ’07/early 08, where I went a bit nuts because everything was so very, very cheap compared to here.
So I’m going through my wardobe over the past few months, and I’m finding clothes from before I moved into this apartment, which was 13 years ago! There are clothes that I bought when I had starved myself into a size 16-18 (I’m now a size 26 Australian). There are clothes that I bought because they were on super sale and have never worn them. There were clothes that I used to wear, but nowdays I find depressing, because they are black and shapeless and bought out of self loathing. I got to thinking about all of these clothes that I no longer wear, or have never worn in some cases, and realised that I needed to just let go of them all and re-think what I’m doing with my clothing.
First of all, any of the clothes in good condition need to go back out into the world for some other fatty to wear and love. Just because they’re not suitable for me, doesn’t mean they won’t make some other fatty delightfully happy. Not to mention that the bulk of them will be donated to charity, so either someone who needs them will get them or they’ll be sold to raise money for a good cause. Either way, it’s so hard to find good pre-loved plus-sized clothing anywhere, and the small mountain I have here will be well appreciated I’m sure. Plus I’ll pop the never worn items up on eBay and someone will get a bargain out of those, plus I’ll get a few bucks back.
But most importantly, I’m building a wardrobe that makes me happy, makes me feel good about myself and accurately represents who I am. I’m lucky, I’m in a place in my life where I can afford to do so, I live in a capital city with some stores that stock plus-sized clothing (though not many, and the options are somewhat limited), I have access to the internet and the tools needed to do internet shopping, and lots of contacts and resources to find clothes that fit who I am.
For the first time in my life, I am not dressing to please others. I am not dressing to hide myself, to disappear. I am not dressing to apologise for the size and/or shape of my body. I am not dressing to fit someone else’s idea of what is appropriate.
It is incredibly, unbelievably liberating.
As a super fat woman, for so long I have bought clothes simply because they were the one item that fit. When I did find an item that I liked, I either wore it to rags, or held on to it, even after I stopped wearing it, forever, because I may never find something like that again.
It feels good to let go. To say goodbye to those garments that have served me well, and good riddance to those that made me feel bad about myself, because I was using them to hide or disguise myself.
When I open my wardrobe, and choose my outfit for the day, it is a positive experience. Even if I’m having a dodgy self esteem day, the minute I open my wardrobe, I take a step towards improving my self esteem. Sometimes several steps. Invariably, I put on the chosen outfit, and up goes the self esteem a little more. Then I leave my house, and because my outfit feels good on me, it shows in the way I carry myself, in the face I present to the world. And invariably, at some point during the day, someone will compliment me on something about my outfit. Which adds even more to my self esteem. It is a cumulative effect that always seems to go up, rather than down.
How do you feel about the clothes in your wardrobe? Do they make you feel good about yourself when you look at them, and when you wear them? Do they accurately reflect who you are and how you feel? How do you approach shopping for clothes for yourself?