I went into a clothing store, and the lady asked me what size I was. I said, ‘Actual.’ I’m not to scale.–Demetri Martin, comedian
The biggest thing politically within fashion is that the clothing should be displayed on different body shapes.–Zac Posen, American fashion designer
If you’ve ever had the privilege of having to buy plus-sized clothing, then the two quotes above probably resonate with you in some way.
A conversation I had at lunch today with a friend got me to thinking about clothing and my non-scale related weight loss goals, as those are the goals I’m really looking forward to meeting once surgery is done. Sure, the numbers are important because they represent a tangible measurement of success, but they are only one indicator of progress. Non-scale victories (NSV’s) are the benchmarks that I feel will keep me going, even when the scale refuses to budge. I know the last time I endeavored to lose weight, they did, and I don’t think that will be any different this time.
But back to the conversation we had.
Me: So I’ve been buying clothes in smaller sizes and storing them away for after surgery, because I know I’ll hit those sizes again since I passed them to get to the size I am now. Do you think that’s a stupid thing to do?
Him: No, because you know that after surgery you’ll be taking in fewer calories, and well, biology is going to do the rest since you won’t be physically able to eat much.
Me: Well, I figured that since the stuff I’ve got is a size that I have been before over a large range of weight that it’s okay to do it, that’s how I’ve rationalized it to myself. And they’re things I can have altered.
The conversation drifted to other things after that, like how Tim Tebow and Ryan Lochte should have a reality show together. But I digress…
And it’s true–I have been buying clothes in a dress size that I currently do not wear but have worn before. When I wore that size before, I wore it for a good long time too! And I’m pretty positive I’ll be in that size for a little bit, anyway. Not nearly as long as I wore it before, but still a good little bit! And if I’m not, no worries. I can have most of what I’ve got altered since they are things like dresses and skirts, like the one below.
The clothes I’ve got waiting for me represent a sort of light at the end of the tunnel. They represent an additional something to motivate me to stay on program. An inspiration of sorts. I know that I’ll eventually get to wear them, and that I have to be patient, work hard and comply with my surgeon’s orders so that I can get to that first milestone–being able to wear clothes that are 6 dress sizes smaller than I am now.
Some people buy goal dresses or jeans–I bought an entire goal wardrobe! Let’s put it this way: a couple of weeks ago, Talbot’s sent me a new credit card–their Classic Awards Black card. If you’re a Talbot’s shopper then you know that if you’re a Black card holder, your spending tops a certain dollar figure annually and you’re entitled to certain perks. I have a feeling that as the weight comes off, I won’t have any trouble maintaining that card membership. The clothing I have purchased there is classically styled, well-made and conservatively cut. I try to dress professionally most days of the week as I am a high school teacher in a conservative school district with a fairly rigid dress code for employees.
I don’t plan on going buck wild with my clothes as I drop dress sizes–I just want to look polished and put together, two things I don’t think I do very well now at my current size. This is not to say that I look hideous in what I wear–that’s not it at all. There are simply days that I do not feel polished, stylish or comfortable in my own skin. Mind you, I dress better now than I did at 20 and even 30, but I’m still trying to refine my sense of style. It’s gotten easier with age, and I think that the weight loss will help that along as I’m able to wear smaller clothes.
Being a plus-sized woman, it’s tough to find clothes that I like that are of good quality, classic style, well-made, and easily accessible in a store. Apparently this is simply too much to ask from manufacturers of clothing for the large women of the world. As a woman whose dress size forces me to shop online for nearly all of my clothes, the prospect of being able to walk into a store, try on a dress, determine if it fits well, and walk out with it excites me beyond belief. You see, at my current size, to buy a dress, the process I go through is:
- Peruse the limited options available to me online.
- Find something that doesn’t look trampy, frumpy, sloppy or shapeless. Or neon.
- More importantly, find something that won’t make me look like furniture. Or a labia. You know the kind of awful clothing of which I speak, fellow fat girls.
- Curse the fact that I must pay shipping and wait 5-8 business days for the item to arrive.
- Upon arrival, determine if said item fits and looks right.
- If the item meets neither of the above criteria, curse the fact that I cannot simply return it to a brick and mortar store.
- Drive the return package to the post office, where I will likely have to purchase postage to send said package back.
- Wait 10-14 business days to get my refund.
Time spent: about 22 days. With no guarantee that a dress is found.
For a straight-sized woman, the process is:
- Go to any number of stores to find a dress.
- Get it off the rack.
- Try it on in the dressing room.
- If it doesn’t fit, leave it behind and go in search of another one.
- If it fits, squeal with delight and pay for it immediately.
- Go home and hang it up until it gets worn.
Time spent: an afternoon, at most.
The fact that I’ll be able to do this in the near future is really exciting to me. Even more exciting to me is that my options will be so much more plentiful than they currently are. And as someone who likes to look good in my clothes, I’m thrilled that I’ll finally have a body that I can dress in more types of clothing and accessories. Surgery will give me an exterior to match the bold, confident, sassy, intelligent woman that I know lives inside me.
And by golly, she is going to be dressed to the nines.