I found a terrific new blog today. It’s called How to Eat a Cheeseburger. The entire blog is about body image and how women’s body images have been warped by the culture of “you can’t be too rich or too thin” and the too-thin bodies of actresses and models that are presented as the norm. All I can say is, Amen.
This is the post that jumped out at me, called “If the Dress Don’t Fit, Get a New One!” How many times have you looked at a piece of your clothing that doesn’t fit, and thought, “As soon as I lose 10 pounds, that will fit again.” I’ve certainly done it plenty of times. I’ve even bought clothes that were a little snug with the idea that it would fit soon – as soon as I lost five pounds.
I’m 51 years old, I have a sedentary job, and my metabolism is screeching to a halt with every passing year. I’ve just recently begun to face the reality that this is the body I have, and it’s probably not going to change much. Yes, I might lose five pounds at some point, but I’m not going to keep any “contingency” clothes any longer that don’t fit.
Along these same lines, I saw an episode of “What Not to Wear” a couple of weeks ago. The person being made over was a forty-something who wore very tight clothes, but kept wearing them because, in her eyes, the problem wasn’t that she was wearing the wrong clothes, but that she needed to lose a few pounds. As a result, she looked even heavier than she actually was. The makeover team got her into clothes that actually fit, and showed her how to accentuate her positives, and she looked great. The point of the makeover was, Wear clothes that fit you now.
I’ve been getting rid of clothes for a while now as part of my decluttering/recycling/simple living effort. I went back through the closet again this weekend and pulled out a few more things. Anything that doesn’t fit, that’s out of style, that has to be dry cleaned, or that only goes with one thing was fair game. I’ve ended up with a lot of basics: my base colors are black and brown/tan/camel, with tops and a couple of jackets with more color. I have a few “church” outfits that I can also wear on dressier occasions than work, and shorts/Tshirts for slumming around the house.
I’m fortunate in that I don’t have to wear suits and heels to work. I’m a college librarian, and we tone down our dress so that students will find us approachable and not intimidating. I’d call it “business very casual,” I guess. We have four men in the department, all of whom wear jeans to work pretty often. I don’t do that; I usually wear Dockers-style pants (actually, Dockers fit me better than any others) or long skirts. We occasionally have to get up on a ladder to reach the high shelves, or get down in the floor to reach the low shelves, so short skirts are out. (And I suppose, from the prevalent stereotypes of librarians, that people expect us to look frumpy anyway. Far be it from me to defy a stereotype.) 🙂
Here’s another post that I found today on the same subject, from Urban Minimalist, called Wardrobe Shopping Rules for the Minimalist. Her rules are excellent. I would add one, that helps you achieve the goal of wearing things that fit. This is from that same “What Not to Wear” episode: buy clothes that fit the largest part of you. For instance, if you’re buying pants, and your hips are a bigger size than your waist (as is the case for me), buy the size that fits your hips. You can always have the waist taken in. If you buy the size that fits your waist and try to squeeze your hips in, you’ll look heavier and sloppy.
Be honest with yourself, accept your current size, and remake your closet accordingly.