Hey all! I know I’ve done several tutorials in a row for the past couple of weeks and I thought it would be nice to write something a bit longer again. I want to discuss one of the most stressful parts of being a woman with a body in this society.
When I say that I’ve cried in a dressing room I’m sure it sounds shocking to some readers. But I guarantee that if you’re a woman it might sound a little familiar. Women’s bodies are constantly being pushed to fit certain standards. You have to be as skinny or as fit as every celebrity. You can’t have rolls, cellulite, small boobs, or a flat butt. I find one the most pervasive ideas we have is that we have to fit into certain clothing sizes. The goal is to be a size 5 and squeeze into those jeans that cut off your circulation.
But as I’ve reflected on this idea I feel like it makes no sense. Why do we have to fit into clothes when clothes should fit us? Despite what some fashion companies and designers would like you to think, it is actually easier to make clothes that fit all shapes then to lose weight or cause yourself injury trying to create a body type that you just don’t have.
Every woman looks good in some article of clothing. If something fits your unique body it looks good, no matter how “unideal” your body type is (that’s another discussion for another day). If you wonder why celebrities always look good it’s because they have all their clothes fitted and altered. That’s what you would look like if you had a personal tailor. Women used to make their own clothes and they fit perfectly which caused a lot less body insecurity. But instead of doing that now we are cramming ourselves into sizes that just don’t work because companies prefer to think that all women are size 2 when the majority are size 12-16 (and anyone outside of this range should have options too).
So yes, I’ve cried in a dressing room. Every year my numbers kept going up. Instead of celebrating my growing body and development in middle school I was worried that my pants might go over a size 8 when everyone else was wearing a 0. It’s like a game; when the numbers go up you are somehow a worse person. It’s no wonder men are allowed to feel good about themselves at a variety of median body sizes, they just use inches and centimeters to determine their sizes. But we can’t possibly give women that level of security. Make sure they are a 31 in one store, a 12 in another, and a 40 in the stores that want to make you feel extra terrible.
It’s like we’re gas lighting women every time they enter a store. You thought you knew your size but “surprise!” you’re fatter than you ever thought! It doesn’t matter that we just forgot to tell you that we arbitrarily change the numbers every 6 months. So we sit in the dressing room and cry because we don’t “fit” even when the problem is that nothing fits us.
I’m definitely not over my body image issues. I probably never will be completely for a lot of reasons. But I haven’t cried in a dressing room in several years. A lot of women find ways around this shame. We order online or find awesome sites that are ahead of the game and creating beautiful pieces for women of all sizes (see modcloth and Lane Bryant!). For me, I finally put on the “biggest” size number of jeans that I had ever worn in my life. But I looked good. The jeans fit all my curves and didn’t smash my stomach so much that I was afraid to eat. The clothes I wear aren’t a size small, but they look great. They make me feel confident. And when something doesn’t fit I throw it out. Why do I need to hang onto things that make me feel bad? I don’t have any obligation to fit into clothes that are too small. And I feel great about the clothes I wear. And guess what? No one knows or cares what size they are anyway.
As a disclaimer I know I haven’t had the hardest time of all people. I still fall into the range of people who are not discriminated against because of their weight. We also need to remember that other people’s bodies are NEVER our business. I don’t care if you are “concerned about someone’s health”, it is never ok to comment on someone’s body or tell them how to live. This is why the clothing sizes are super important. They send the message that it is okay to look however you look in this society.
So next time you’re in the dressing room depression I encourage a little rethinking. The cute skirt doesn’t fit you? That’s fine because it wasn’t made for you. It should be perfect for YOU. I promise there is someone else thinking the same thing and they made that skirt in the correct size in another store. It’s taking a while for the world to catch up, but people are starting to realize that selling clothes to everyone is the best thing for business and your moral compass. Maybe someday we can wake up and feel amazing for how our bodies pump blood to our organs and how our eyes reflect light to create images. It is a goddamn miracle that our bodies run how they do every day. So I try to create a little inner peace by covering my beautiful amazing mind vehicle with things that make me happy. Cellulite, extra cushioning and all.