A lot of it comes from the clothing world where designers have taught us well that being bigger is undesirable. It is an ages old situation where only the cute clothing comes in sizes 0, 2 and 4. There is a bold line in the sand when shopping in stores too that separates us based on our size.
The average woman in the United States wears a size 16. That is a significant different size than a 0. Over time these sizes have gotten bigger too. Depending on brand and cut sizes also vary, where a size 16 is not the same fit as another. It all makes the numbering on clothing bizarre as well as frustrating, deflating and well one of the most dreaded experiences in life depending on what you are shopping for. No one wants to have to buy a swimsuit, wedding dress or other important outfit and have to buy a bigger size.
Yet we do.
To combat the tag size of our clothing we resort to hacks implemented by the clothing industry to help us feel better. These include a number of things that while probably started in an attempt for help has also created further mental distress for clothing size. Everyone knows these hacks at this point and ultimately they become the outward tag size we wear.
Mentally we wear these tags feeling them become representative of who are. While we are not defined by our size, it is hard to escape the imprint clothing has left on our minds as a result of our size.
Here is the list, the one that directs what you wear when you are not the ideal size. I’m not sure who came up with this list or the ideal size but they are not a very good person in my book… or maybe they are and I am in denial. Regardless, this list has become the reason so many of us suffer and feel miserable rather than having healthy relationships with our body. We have let this list become defining, real and tangible when selecting, wearing and feeling good in our clothing.
I for one say this list is nonsense but even I have felt its clutch on my heart when shopping for clothing and seeing myself in pictures. Breaking up with this list is extremely difficult because we are surrounded by what defines beauty for so called experts. It changes how we think people see us and certainly how we see ourselves. It gives men permission to look past us in favor of someone who more closely aligns to the ideal size, shape, hair style and so on. It measures all of us fairly or not but it does. I say it is more separating than anything we have done in the history of people.
Black clothing make you look thinner, sexier and feel more confident. While I personally love some black I also don’t always want to wear it. Wearing black all the time affects our mood, it limits our vibrancy and what we may believe about ourselves is possible. Certainly, black is a staple color for a lot of reasons in life but if we’re wearing it just to appear thinner and sexier, then we are missing the larger reasons to wear it or include it in our wardrobe.
Stripes should be worn horizontally, not laterally if you are larger. They can make you look taller and thinner. What if though I like my stripes diagonal or crisscross? The idea we cannot wear something we love because the stripe is one way or another gives me pause.
Skirt length should be longer if you are both bigger and older. I quietly cry with this one because I grew up in the time of mini-skirts and have loved them ever since. As I’ve gotten older, the idea I shouldn’t wear a shorter skirt makes me sad.
Bold colors should not be worn if you are bigger. Again, I refer you to black as this seems a rule no one should listen to as an exclusive.
Bikinis should only be worn by younger and thin women who have the body for it. Last I checked they made tops and bottoms of bikinis in all sizes so I think this one is garbage.
Coverups on swimsuits are a must for the larger women. Granted I love a good cover up but its because I’m wanting to limit sun exposure or love the breeze through the fabric that makes you feel cooler. However, wearing it because you are not a bikini sized 0 that’s not fun at all.
Prints and patterns should be complimentary to your body shape. A larger person shouldn’t wear larger prints and patterns for example. Secretly, crying at the inability to not wear polka dots here.
The list goes on but I’ve pulled the ones that I personally have encountered feeling in my own clothing. Granted there is a way to dress that makes you uniquely feel your best and certain styles look better on you than they do others. However, choosing things simply because of size you wear, that is limiting and depressing. It creates this disconnection between our mind and body that leads us straight to dieting and destruction to our mental well-being and overall health.
It may be impossible to change the mindset of clothing designers who are taught to only work with beautiful tall skinny models, but let’s talk real people. The mom in carpool, who works endless hours at her job, taking care of her family, getting to soccer practice and getting her kids to eat a veggie. The person who has so much on their plate they reach for the fast food because that’s what’s available when they haven’t eaten all day and are starving and late for their next meeting. Let’s talk about the person who doesn’t have the personal trainer, chef and anything in the way of true help to focus on our needs and chores.
Her list is drastically different than the one of designers. Her list is seeking comfort in clothing that doesn’t pinch, bind, twist, constantly need to be pulled up and that can get mixed with the kids dirty soccer uniform in the wash. Her clothing must hold up, give her confidence, be easy to wear and fit her life.
Colorful variety that fits what we feel in that day
Comfort that gives us confidence, doesn’t make us self-conscious and makes us feel like a million bucks every time we put it on
Personalized for our likes, style preferences and who we individually are
This list is shorter but I like it a lot more. For one there’s freedom that if something aligns with these points than it is closer to being something I’ll love immensely every time I put it on. Secondly, it helps me feel like me instead of fitting into what everyone else is trying to wear this season. Lastly, it gives me the opportunity to see clothing for what works for me and makes me feel my best according to my list, not a designer.
I believe it is good for us to build health, be healthy and work on our weight but not at the expense of our mental and spiritual health. If we don’t first love ourselves than no amount of weight loss will ever be there to help us do that. That relationship with ourselves is created through balance of mind, body and spirit where they can work together to heal our body and help it be the ideal weight for us.
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