Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I was trying on clothes again at lunchtime. I like doing this when I go up to town for a walk, just trying things that I wouldn't dream of buying and seeing what they look like on. And the funny thing is that they usually look good. Almost anything, in any style looks better than I imagined it would. I've even tried things like skinny jeans (admittedly that was something of a mistake when I picked up the wrong pair) and those tailored shorts everyone is wearing.

It struck me though how much my shopping habits have changed. Before, the decision making process went much like this.

1. Drag yourself to a shop about 3 months after you realise you have no decent clothes. Look longingly in the "normal" shops and try on a 20. Realise that whatever you might tell yourself you're not a 20, and it's the fat shop or nothing.

2. Go to the fat shop and hope no-one you know sees you going in. Of course they see your "figure" every day, so it's unlikely to come as a surprise, but you don't like to confirm their suspicions.

3. Head for the shoes. You're only there for the shoes, aren't you? Just in case anyone saw you going in. Look at the shoes, and then on the way out surreptitiously start looking at clothes.

4. Reluctantly pick up something that looks like it has some shape or style. (Admittedly they're getting better in this respect, but there are still things in there that look like tents). Remind yourself to put the 20 down and go for the 22 to avoid embarassment when the 20 doesn't fasten.

5. Try it on. Close your eyes as you take your clothes off so you can't see yourself in the mirror. Attempt to fasten clothes. If they fasten you will buy them to avoid trying anything else on, as long as you can answer no to the following questions:

  • does it look like there's a sack of potatoes down the front. or the back?
  • does it look like a sack, a tent, or any type of home furnishing?
  • does it only fasten because you're breathing in?

6. Styles, fashion, colour came into it only rarely. partly that's just me, I hated shopping so much that I'd avoid it as much as possible, and if I had something I'd tried on and something potentially nicer that I hadn't, I'd go for the one I'd tried to avoid facing the changing rooms again. It might make me look 1% better, but that 1% wasn't going to help a lot. And there was no point trying a different shop. It was the fat shop or nothing. (belatedly I realise that wasn't actually true, and that some shops I never thought about did have plus size clothes. But why would I have gone in there to find that out in the first place?). So my ability to find stuff that passed the rudimentary of tests was roughly equal to my ability to spend money on it. If I found something that didn't make me look a complete mess I'd buy it, because there wasn't much that fit the bill.

Now, though I have a problem. Everything I try on answers the questions. It all fastens (properly), and it all makes me look pretty good. There's the occasional thing that doesn't work, but they're not as frequent as my bank balance would like them to be. So I'm into new territory. I actually have to make decisions about what I like most.

It's taking some time to get used to. That I don't need to buy something merely because it fits. I can't afford that. I can't even afford to buy everything that fits and looks pretty damn good. I can't afford that either. Everything I try on looks far better than what I used to wear, and it's taken me a while to realise that it's nothing to with the clothes. It's because of what's under them.

So instead of buying the gorgeous stuff I have to buy stuff that I actually need, and that I'll wear more than once (unless it's the party dress which is worth every penny if only for the fact that I've immortalised it on here, even if I never wear it again). When I first hit size 14 I went mad on skirts that I loved. But do I wear them? Not often, I mainly wear jeans and a jumper. And that's what I should therefore be buying, even if I look far better in the dresses and skirts.

It's heartbreaking. There are all these gorgeous glam dresses, short sparkly skirts, posh tops, impractical shorts, and I can't justify buying them. But at least when that special occasion comes up, I know I'll be able to find something to wear!


Blogger Lainey said...


I've been a lurker for a while. I really enjoy your blog. You always seem to write about something worthwhile.

Re: the clothes. Just be glad you have the option and relish in it. Also- some things can be worn for work and play. A smart black skirt can be sexed up with fitted shirt and some cheapo accessories.

PS) I live in Edinburgh. Hope you had a good time the other day. x

1:41 PM  

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