Monday, July 22, 2013

Shopping For Clothes - Not as Easy as I Thought

Today I'm going to talk about one of my favorite subjects - clothes.  Now, that hasn't always been the case, because back in the day, I didn't like how I looked in clothes and dressing myself was an exercise in depression most days.  But I as I lost weight, I got more and more of a thrill when I could wear smaller sizes and actually shop at regular stores - no more plus sizes for me, woohoo!

Along the way, I made a few discoveries about sizing.  You'd think, after several years of wearing regular sizes, that I would pretty much have this down, but no - I'm still getting flummoxed by both manufacturers, fabric, and my mind.  For example:  I wear technical shirts when I exercise.  Most of them have some spandex in the fabric, which means that they are clingy.  While I like what technical fabric does for the sweaty me as I workout, I don't like clingy tops.  No matter how small I am, I don't like anything that emphasizes my stomach - so I always size up.  And sometimes even the largest size (yes, an XL) is way too tight for my comfort level.  So I often have the dreaded feeling of "will it fit?" when I try on a new top...and there's a reason why I don't wear certain brands, cute as they are - they're just not made for my body.  Which is disappointing - I feel like I earned the right to wear cute exercise clothes, and yet a lot of them make me look like a sausage-y blob.

And then, there's regular clothing.  Something as simple as a t-shirt can throw me.  For example, after we ran the Color Up 5K, I wanted to buy one of their shirts - it was a nice soft cotton shirt v-neck and I knew I'd get a lot of wear out of it.  I asked to see the size XL - they held it up, and I said "that should fit" and bought it.  After we got home and had showered most of the color away, I put it on...and it hung on me like a tent!  I was so upset - what was I thinking, buying that size in a regular shirt?  As fat as my mind sometimes still thinks I am, I'm not an XL in normal clothing.  We drove back to the race site (just a few minutes from our house) and luckily they were still there, packing things up, so I was able to exchange it for the right size.  It's frustrating to make mistakes like this, and I can't believe that I couldn't translate seeing that big shirt as being too big for me.
 
 Wearing the right size...please excuse the no makeup look as it was incredibly hot that day and I was trying not to melt.

Weirdly enough, I'm pretty consistent in pant size.  I mean, you'd think with all the guesswork I have to do with tops, it would be like that with pants, but no - they're fairly easy to buy.  Of course, I only own about three pairs of pants compared to about 20 tops, so there's a lot more room for error with tops, I guess.  And speaking of tops - my arms...ugh.  They are still disproportionally bigger than the rest of me, which I've mostly accepted at this point.  But where are all the elbow-length tops?!  I swear, a few years ago they were everywhere, but they're pretty scarce now, at least in my town.  All I know is that I sure feel a lot better about my appearance when that extra arm hang is hidden.

Don't get me wrong - I'd much rather have these issues at my current size than what I had to deal with in trying to shop for clothes back when I was overweight.  But this many years into maintenance, I'm surprised that I still have to do the "hold shirt up, surreptitiously stretch over chest to estimate size, choose two sizes to try on" dance.  I don't have it in me to confidently pick a size.  Most of the time I still overestimate how big I am.  And there's nothing that will make me feel fatter than wearing clothes that are too big.  I'm sure that for people who've always been normal-sized, this is hard to understand...but there's a reason why I wear clothes that fit and flatter my new body, and it has a lot to do with keeping me in a positive mental state about this body, which in turn helps me to continue keeping my body in a positive physical state. 

21 comments:

  1. I do understand you. I do think that in a couple of years, this will be normal for you too and you will pick the right size immediately.

    My running/workout clothes are clingy and I honestly don't give a crap if you can see my stomach. I don't like workout clothes that are too big.

    I am like you when it comes to wear clothes that are too big for me, they make me feel fatter than I am. That's why I also wear "thin" fabrics. Wool, big sweaters etcetera make me feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately at this point in my weight life I don't have anything that's too big in my closet LOL.

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    1. Interesting about wearing "thin" fabrics, but I get what you are saying. I have a big knitted cardigan that is cute, but makes me feel like a puffalump when I wear it.

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  2. YES!!! I have so many friends whove lost weight and still arent comfortable in fitted clothing---and for more than a few they still struggle mentally with not feeling "the size the really are now!" as a result.
    (is that the longest sentence ever?!)

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  3. My experience is similar to yours--more trouble with the tops sizes than pants. Honestly, I pay no attention to the size on the label. Sometimes I think the designer just had a different vision than I did of how the top was supposed to fit and/or look. If it pleases me, I wear it, no matter what the size. I don't like things too tight or too loose, I like them JUST RIGHT, like Goldilocks.

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    1. I like how you phrased that - the designer had a different vision. Very nice way to look at it (and much nicer than my "WTF was that designer THINKING?!?!!!").

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  4. I am the exact opposite. Tops fit me regularly and consistently in the same size (although I still have temptation to grab larger sizes still WTF?) . Pants are my nemesis. I can wear 3 different sizes in pants, which makes no sense, and so frustrating to shop for bottoms.

    I tend to wear form fitting clothes a lot because they do make you feel like a regular person instead of a fat person trying to hide that fat (like it ever really worked, right?)

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    1. Wait, our fat selves WEREN'T hidden by our clothes??? ;) Sigh.

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  5. I am with Lori - my pant size is a 10, 12, 14 and even 16 in some brands - and they all fit me exactly the same!

    Glad you were able to get a smaller shirt - its so cute!

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    1. How wild that so many pant sizes fit you!!!

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  6. Its worse when you are losing I guess. Old clothes are baggy and you don't want to buy new ones coz you will be losing more. Wonder what to do about that?

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    1. You know, I always bought a couple of things that fit me along the way down - I shopped at discount stores and didn't spend a lot of money, but it was very helpful to my self-esteem to wear things that fit.

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  7. I agree that it is so important to have clothes that make you feel good. It makes me want to maintain the weight loss to be able to fit into them. Bottoms will always be the issue for me. I still get the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I try them on in a dressing room, hoping they will fit.

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    1. I know that dressing room feeling all too well. :(

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  8. I have the same problem with tops. I don't dare buy one without trying it on, and nothing--NOTHING--is worse than trying on clothes in the summer. (Well, okay, there probably are worse things, but it doesn't feel like it at the time. :) )

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    1. I finally have stopped buying tops online - even those brands that I think I know fit? I have trouble with...I HAVE to try everything on.

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  9. It is so easy to hide behind baggier clothing. Glad you aren't doing that, and you look great in that shirt! Clothing manufacturers mess with our heads, and sizes are all over the place. sigh. Have a great day Shelley

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  10. Yes! I've been "normal sized" for six years now, and I still struggle with getting clothes in the right size. I'll hold up a tent proportioned shirt and think, hmmm...this may be too tight. I resort to taking my daughters shopping with me so they can provide oversight on fit and size.

    And athletic clothing? Makes me crazy. I buy it anyway because I LOVE tech fabrics for their technical properties, but it really hurts my feelings to buy an XL or even an XXL when I know that I am NOT fat anymore! I suppose nike and underarmor designers have a vision of twig proportioned girls in their clothing lines and not real, fit, healthy grown women!

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  11. Shelley,
    I really enjoy reading your blog. I finally have to say something though. You are beautiful as you are. Please stop apologizing for not wearing make-up or bags under your eyes. I repeat. Realize you are beautiful as you are. Maybe that will help with seeing yourself differently.
    Not scolding but kinda am...

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    1. Thank you for this, Julia - I think part of the problem is that I feel like I'm 18, and get a bit of a shock when I see myself in pictures...like, who is THAT??! LOL

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    2. I kinda took this as a wake-up call to myself as well. We do that as women sometimes and it drives me batty. If we made it to this age, we ain't got nuthin' to apologize for!! :o)

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    3. Pardon my French, but DAMN STRAIGHT, SKIPPY!!! I'm channeling Kathy Bates' Fried Green Tomatoes more and more since turning 50. :)

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