Posted by Amy | Posted in Gwynnie Bee, Having It All | Posted on 10-05-2012
I have come to the gruesome realization that I don’t know the first thing about fashion and shopping. Really, I don’t. I know that violates some sort of Girl Code, but it’s true. Being overweight all my life I would rather hide out in comfy jeans and a sweater than give two thoughts to putting well-fitting clothes on my body.
My shopping experiences sort of go like this: Hit the mall at the last possible minute. Pull the first three black garments off the rack I encounter in my size. Dart to the dressing room, get naked, try them on. If there’s no muffin top or glaring ugliness, I run to the counter with the least people and make like a shepherd and get the flock out of there. God forbid I have to shop for a dress for a special occasion. I will undoubtedly end up self-medicating with Ben and Jerry’s.
Shopping has always been a trauma for me. Always. And now that I’m not 300lbs, it’s still a trauma. There’s nothing empowering or even fun in shopping for me.
My business partner is a stylist, always fashionable, always well dressed. And it’s totally confronting for me. It’s not like she’s purposefully mean or terrorizing about how I dress but let’s face it, it doesn’t work for us to go into a business meeting together, her dressed to the Nines, and me looking schlumpy. We went shopping together recently. I browse through the racks, pulling out things I think she would think would be good for me, inspect them and put them right back. A half hour later I found one cute jacket and she had two arm fulls of items. Whoa, how the hell did she do that?
It’s at that moment, that I realize that I don’t know how to shop and the first problem is that I don’t know how to conceptionalize what a garment looks like on a hanger to what it will look like on me. When ever I go shopping, I’ll pull things off the rack and put them right back, thinking they would never look good on me. Hanging there with no definition there’s absolutely no way for me to tell how it’s going to look so I don’t even bother to try. And why? Because I have proof from thousands of trips to the dressing room that nothing looks good on me. I can’t even count how many times I’ve ended up in tears in a dressing room with a mountain of clothes at my feet because everything I picked made me look like a trashy ho or an over stuff sausage or simply didn’t fit. I’d really rather avoid that trauma thank you very much. I’ve come a long way in dealing with my self-esteem and body image, and fashion and shopping just brings me right back to being 16 and dressed in what I think is a pretty dress and That Boy saying “Look, your fat is exploding out of your dress. I’d never go out with you”. Whew, anybody got some Ben and Jerry’s for me????
Here’s another case in point – Melissa, one of the Gwynnie Bee stylist handed me the next item from my closet for me to try.
Seriously? You think THIS is going to look good on me? Um ooooookayyyy. I stuffed it in my bag, all thanks and smiles, totally dreading the moment when I’d have to mail it back and admit that I looked like the aforementioned sausage in it.
After I got home and had a glass of wine I was finally ready to summon my courage and try it on. After taking a moment to figure out how the ties worked, I slipped it on and stood in front of my mirror, eyes squeezed shut tight. Peeping one eye open like I was watching a horror movie, I was totally shocked that I looked good.
It’s apparent that I have zero fashion instinct. Thank goodness I have people around me who have much better sense that I do! I just have to start trusting that.
I don’t think Fashion and I will ever be friends. Well, I don’t know if I can say that. It is the final frontier. Fashion is the last area for me to pick apart and tinker with and see what it means to me. I don’t think I’ll every be a fashionista, but hopefully my days of crying in a dressing room are over.