I've had this post simmering in my head for a long while now. It's something I have often contemplated, have been bound by in the past, and now have moved to acceptance of and past my hang-ups about the subject. Now, I will be writing this from my perspective as a "plus-sized' woman, but I think that this is something that we can all relate to, no matter what shape or size.
Over the years, as I have struggled with my weight, I have conversely struggled with dressing the body that I have. After the birth of my children and the immediate years following, while I was in the thick of my struggle, I couldn't bring myself to buy clothes all that often. In fact, my mantra became...
I'll buy clothes when I've lost weight.
In my mind, there were two parts to that statement . One was that I didn't want to spend tons of money on clothes if I was just going to lose weight and then not be able to wear them. Two, I thought that it would motivate me to get the weight off. I would refuse to buy a pair a pants in a certain size, vowing that I would only spend the money on them when I had lost X amount of pounds. I told myself that that made me wise about money, when in fact I was really just punishing myself. Weeks turned into months, months turned into to years of this nonsensical way of thinking. I'm not against rewarding yourself for hard work...in fact I think that if you are on a weight loss journey and go down a size you should reward yourself. Go buy that new outfit and celebrate! But, I had taken my way of thinking to the extreme. I'm sure my friends and family were absolutely sick and tired of seeing me wear the same things over and over and over. I had very little in the way of clothing, not because we couldn't afford it, but because I just plain refused to buy clothes until I had reached certain goals. I'm not kidding when I say that I didn't have many clothes. My closet was very sparse and it was all my own doing. Crazy way of thinking, but I was stuck there for a long time.
Now, I'm not one who thinks that dressing nicely is the be all end all. I don't think that, at the end of the day, it holds a lot of clout against who a person is on the inside. Please hear me on that. BUT, I do think that what we wear can affect us. What's wrong with wearing something that makes you feel good or more confident or pretty? What's wrong with our clothing being a means of self expression? Nothing. What we wear, whether we want to admit it or not, sends a message. We can't stop the fact that we are often judged by what we are wearing. We judge others ourselves, in an instant upon seeing someone, and without even thinking about it. It's automatic.
Somewhere along this journey to getting healthy that I'm on (and will be on for the rest of my life), my view shifted a bit. It's not that I didn't like to dress nicely before. I have always had a love for fashion and makeup. But I did finally get to the point where I decided that I was going to put my best foot forward where I am right now. No more of this punishing myself and withholding a cute outfit simply because I am in a larger size than I wish. No more waiting to dress the body I hope to one day have....
It was time to dress my NOW body.
There are two things that I think helped me shift my way of thinking when it came to dressing my now body.
1). I stopped putting as much emphasis on a SIZE. I used to get so hung up on what size I wore. I refused to buy a certain size pair of pants simply because of what the tag said. Once I let that go, it really did free me up to buying things that looked good on me, and were flattering my size and shape. I have a pretty large array of "sizes" in my closet right now, things that all fit me. That's because of the difference between sizing in any given store, brand, or manufacturer. I may wear one size at one boutique and have to go up two sizes at another. Is it because I magically gained lots of weight between one store to the next? No. It's simply because of how different brands label their clothes. Also, we all are different shapes, heights, and sizes, and to try to apply a set amount of size charts to the masses is so silly. Try to not get hung on the size, and pay attention to how things fit you.
2). I stopped wanting to hide because of my size, but embraced where I am now. Granted, I am a couple sizes smaller than when I started trying to get healthy, but I still had my same hang-ups about it. I realized that I should stop being embarrassed and start embracing where I am on my journey at this moment and put my best foot forward TODAY! Do I still have a long road ahead of me to reach my health and weight goals? Yes. I haven't lost sight of that, but that doesn't mean that I can't try to be the best me I can be and be proud of that at this moment.
I could go off on a tangent and talk about the difficult logistics of finding cute clothes in plus sizes, but that is another post for another day. We'll stick to the topic at hand. I may be the only person who has ever thought this way, but I have a sneaky suspicion that I'm not. Not matter what your size or shape, or what journey you are on, I want to encourage you! Stop trying to hide until you are at your goal weight, are a certain size, or look a certain way. Stop waiting to dress the body you see in your mind's eye. Go ahead and dress your NOW body!