Strangers to this blog may not know this, but those close do:
I love clothes. And makeup. And jewelry.
(Shoes? Not so much. Having a 10W foot–well, really a perfect 9.5W, which one can never find–makes shoe shopping not so fun).
Given my above comment about large feet and shopping, one would think my large body would keep me from enjoying shopping, but I LOVE it. I love walking through the racks, running my fingers on the fabrics: silks, satins, cottons, rayons, each with a different texture and grain.
My academic work, even, is on Fashion, albeit Victorian and Neo-Victorian, mostly. But I. Love. Clothes.
Truly, I do. Which is why when someone takes away that enjoyment I have of shopping, I become irate.
It is not easy shopping for this body. This body is a size 18 (to think, I publish this number so publicly, something I used to be so ashamed of!), and size 18s are, for what it’s worth, not so easy to find. In my town, there is Lane Bryant, Dress Barn, Dillard’s, Macy’s, and a few off-choices, like Ross Dress for Less, or TJ Maxx. But each size fits differently, depending on the make and model, so that in some places, I’m a 16, or 1x, and in other places, I’m an 18 and a 2x. But also, some places just don’t care about me at all.
I just had a positive shopping experience in the intimates section at Dillard’s. I went in looking for a robe and pajamas, and the woman was helpful, and kind. That’s not something you see every day when shopping for a plus-sized body, because I had to walk to her station and ask, in front of Other Women, if she had a “plus-sized section for pajamas.”
How embarrassing, I thought at the time. To remind her and others about my largeness.
But she was immediately helpful, walked me over and showed me what she had, and what she didn’t (which was also helpful). She even pointed out the caftans which were “grandma-ish,” she said, and “you don’t want those!” Which I didn’t.
So different than other experiences in department stores, in which women brush off my knowledge of fashion because I’m fat. Try to put me in clothes that are too big, not flattering but “covering up the problem areas.” Even my long history of not understanding how to shop for this body I live in, because I thought I should cover up, hide hide hide, be ashamed of who I am and what I am, and never, ever enjoy what I wear.
I love clothes. I love them. I cannot tell you, Gentle Reader, how much I do. And it pains me, every time, when someone dismisses my love because I am the size I am.
And it pains me, too, every time I dismiss my love of fashion because of my size. That I ask myself, in great seriousness, if it’s even worth it, to try to dress in flattering shapes and accentuate my figure because all people would see is FAT.
Living with this body is almost as difficult as shopping for it.
But I’m trying.