I hated shopping until a few years ago. I was stuck on the size on the tag. Here’s how I accepted my size and started loving clothes again.
This is after having kids, getting my career going, and accepting my body. This post is a bit different as it is more of a personal essay. Although I wrote it in March 2018, the story still resonates with me. It has been updated since then.
This post was originally published in March 2018 and updated May 2022.
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What I used to do
First, this was the cycle I would go through a years ago, before blogging: I would go to a store, scoop up a bunch a clothes that were “my size”, not try them on, and buy them. I was pretty sure that they would fit and didn’t want to deal with the disappointment of trying it on. I was already a Large and was upset about that!
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Then, when I would get home, I would just put the items in my closet. I was sure they would fit me so why bother trying them on? Then, when I decided to wear one of the items that I just purchased, the frustrating part would begin. The item was way too tight. It was super tight (you know when a top is a struggle to get on but you keep trying anyway, then you wonder if you will be able to get out of it).
The feeling that I was “too big” always left me feeling frustrated and defeated. Back to the store it would go AND I was convinced that it must be that the brand “ran small”. But I knew that really wasn’t the truth…
A little background on me: I was much thinner when I was younger. Up until about graduate school, in my early 20s, I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted. I could wear whatever I wanted.
However, things changed as I finished up grad school, had kids and got into my career. My body changed. Long gone were the days of being a size 8/10. The gym was hard to keep up and my metabolism was a lot slower. I insisted that I was a size Large and these brands just needed to get it right!
“I had to let go of my obsession with the size on the tag of my clothes.“
What changed for me was that I had to buy new clothes for work. My previous position entailed attending multiple meetings a day and called for more formal professional outfits. I wore Ann Taylor and Banana Republic dresses. Then, I changed positions to get more of a work-life balance. My new position required clothing that was still professional but functional. I could dress more casually. However, I needed to feel comfortable and be able to move.
At the same time, I didn’t want to spend too much. That’s when I decided to do change things up!
First, I had to let go of my obsession with the size on the tag of my clothes. Shift from being fixated on being a “large” hoping to get back to my good old “medium” to just trying on stuff to see what fit.
This was the moment….
Then, I was at Target (shocking, I know) and just started getting items in xl and even xxl. I tried them on. The strangest thing happened.. not only did the clothes actually fit, but I also felt better. Clothes that allowed me to breathe, move, and actually sit down. It felt like everything I tried on, despite being a larger size, just fit better. This opened the door to creating more outfits, using color, and developing my style. Just embracing that I am a midsize woman. This is what ultimately led to my blog.
“The fixation on the size on the tag was also about a deeper issue, not accepting myself.“
That’s how I was able to start mixing up pieces in different ways (like this outfit) and get my long lost mojo back! I stopped trying to be something I wasn’t and collecting clothes I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) wear.
Additionally, no one sees the tag anyway! But… people can see if you are wearing the wrong size. So forget the tag and focus on fit is what I say now. Grab a range of sizes when you go shopping. Be open and focused on fit, not size.
The fixation on the size on the tag was also about a deeper issue, not accepting myself. I wasn’t accepting myself “as is”. It was a cycle of buying an item and hoping that it would fit. The idea in my head was that once I reached that point, that I would be happy. That would be the better version of me. This internal deficit model wasn’t inspiring or healthy. Words cannot even describe how much happier and confident I feel after I accepted myself. By accepting what is and building from there, I am living in the present. Enjoying me, with curves. Read my other post about being Midsize.
Are you going to ignore the size on the tag too? If this post resonates with you, let me know!