Regardless of your body shape or size, one thing most, if not all, of us women deal with is the difficulty that comes with shopping for clothes and shoes. With the minuscule irritations that come with the process, other than a temporary sense of frustration (or blind rage, if you’re me), we all also tend to develop negative images of ourselves which affect more aspects of our lives than maybe we ever realized. My insecure thoughts as a preteen and teenager due to my inability to connect with others my age mutated into the way I viewed myself overall, which then linked into my fashion (or lack thereof) all the way until college.
When I tried clothing on in a store and things didn’t fit, I shut down and gave up after one store. I hated myself to the point where I would have rathered worn my baggy cargo shorts until they looked like Tarzan’s loincloth than keep trying to look for new clothes and wear my shoes until the soles burned out rather than get new pairs. Clothes shopping literally enraged me, which shouldn’t be the case.
With that said, here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in my own journey over the past year and that I hope you find useful as well.
- Don’t be afraid to browse other stores if nothing fits at one store. Like I mentioned before, the lack of universal sizing standards is absolutely ridiculous, and several department stores like JCPenney and Boscovs sell several different brands for you to explore. You’re bound to find at least find one item that will work as long as you keep trying things on and searching with an open mind.
- Challenge yourself to browse items outside of your fashion comfort zone. Believe me, I know this one is difficult. We all find that one pant cut we know will fit or that one color that acts as our go-to, so it’s much easier to grab those at the store and go instead of explore new options. If you have the ample time to spend in a clothing store, grab a little bit of every style that catches your eye even for a second and bring it in the dressing room. You never know which looks you’ll slay until you try!
- Spend a minute or two taking in the view you see in the mirror and experiencing your thoughts/feelings in those moments. Whether it’s a piece that works on you or doesn’t, look in the mirror and acknwledge the thoughts and feelings that come with that reflection. If your shirt makes you look wider than you’d like, what about it makes you feel that way (cut, rouching, color, etc.)? If your pants fit perfectly, how are they cut to make you look and feel so good? Stand and look at yourself in just that new bra and your jeans and take in your half-bare self so you can finally look at that and say, “This is pretty nice.” Be in the shopping experience rather than just trying to grab something quickly.
- Make it fun! This sounds cliche, but it really does help if you can manage to make it fun. When I’m in a dressing room and trying on pants, sometimes I’ll start wiggling my butt if I think the pants fit well. Even if something is too big or small, I’ll take a silly mirror selfie and laugh at how silly it looks. If you have a friend with you, make your own fashion show and strut to that 360* mirror like you’re owning New York Fashion Week (even at a Forever21). I always get a good laugh this way.
There are obviously other ways you guys cope with difficult shopping trips, so leave them in the comments!