Retail Affliction and How to Overcome It

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

Disappointing Pants at Torrid

pants

When I took a trip to Torrid a few weeks ago, I originally went to find items that interested me from the Rebel Wilson collection. However, when I made my way to the clearance pants rack, I found the awesome pants shown above. I had seen them online for about $100, so when I saw them for cheaper in-store, I knew I had to try them on (especially because I fell in love with the oxblood color).

The only pair of oxbloods left was a 20, which I figured could work. I also grabbed a black pair in an 18, just to be safe. Of course, the oxblood pair went on first once that dressing room door closed. But I didn’t get the magical reaction to them that I thought I would.

They fit fine around my waist, but the legs were so big on me that the supposed-to-be sleek faux leather pants more resembled those on parachute pants. (Last I checked, I’m not MC Hammer.) I felt discouraged, but I still hoped that a size smaller would fit me perfectly. That wasn’t the case, either, apparently.

I will say that the black size 18 pair I put on next looked much better on my legs. If only they didn’t almost cut me in half around the waist. Even more discouraged, I walked around a little bit, hoping that maybe they were loose enough when I moved that I could power through the tight fit. Unfortunately, I almost walked like a cowboy in a shoot-out because they were that tight on me.

I can’t say that the pants are absolutely beautiful because they really are. And, obviously, not every pair of pants will fit every body type. Regardless, I have had the same issue with some different pant styles in Torrid’s catalog as well as even a pair of Tripp faux leather pants, which really disappoints me. I have a more prominent waistline, and my legs are much more toned and thinner than my stomach, which sometimes makes shopping for nice pants like that tough; I fill out one section, but not the other. Add the fact that I’m short into the equation, and that equals a struggle trifecta.

If you’re taller and not in between thinner or thicker legs, these pants will look absolutely gorgeous on you; if they’re on sale near you, don’t hesitate to grab them up. It just stinks that they didn’t work out for me.

Why I Don’t Wear Spanx

mebodcon

The dress in this photo of me is one of the sexiest things I have ever owned. I love the black and grey leopard print on the front (since I absolutely love my leopard print), and the dress clings to every inch of my body just right. However, with a tighter dress come more visible rolls and a more visible tummy. Yet I wear it, and I wear it without Spanx.

When I look at the photo, is it hard to keep my eyes from darting right to that back roll or my prominent stomach? Absolutely. But that roll and that stomach are still me, and I like to keep it real. Now, I have no feelings whatsoever about people wearing Spanx, since I’ve considered it from time to time; wear it if it makes you feel amazing, or don’t wear it if it doesn’t interest you. However, my personal idea of keeping it real includes leaving my body as it is.

My thought process works like this; if I’m a “what you see is what you get” kind of person from the start, including with my body, it will help weed out all of the people who are too shallow to deserve a place in my life. Anyone who genuinely gives a damn about you, as a person, won’t care about your chub that much or judge you for it. And with my history of people staring at me and judging/picking on me, I don’t need people like that around. I need genuine ones, and so do you.

The other reason I don’t wear Spanx is to challenge myself and learn how to accept and love myself from the inside out. The more I can look at myself in a different way (like in that bodycon dress), the easier it becomes to see it and my flaws without feeling uncomfortable or insecure. I still feel a little uncomfortable looking at the photo sometimes, but I can also say I looked freaking beautiful that night. I felt amazing about myself, and it helped lead to my first kiss and my first date (which both felt magical).

So, there’s my little post about why I haven’t gotten Spanx…yet. (I’m thinking I can make it a treat for myself once I’m confident enough to wear it and not think that I need it afterward.)

How many of you guys do or don’t wear Spanx, and why? I’m interested in your voices, so start a conversation in the comments below!

My Top 5 Plus Size Shopping Problems

Hello, everyone! Now, having curves can be pretty awesome most of the time. But sometimes the same things that make us pretty awesome tend to cause a few issues, especially when shopping. Today, I’m going go through my main five clothing issues as a (short) plus size woman.

  1. “Petite” and “short” my ass! Basically, pants are still too long for us folks shorter than about 5′ 2″ – 5′ 4″. I have so many pairs of “petite” or “short” jeans that you wouldn’t even be able to tell are just that because I’m still stepping on them. (Yes, there is always a way to fix that, but I don’t like that I have to regardless.) Like I always say when I’m shopping: I guess, in order to be fat, you must be at least 5′ 7″!
  2. Shopping for shorts + too much booty = not a fun time. I can’t even begin to go through the process of shopping for shorts; it’s that frustrating. A lot of people can put on a pair of shorts and be all right. But, for those of us with some junk in the trunk, it’s absolutely necessary to perform about seven different tests in the dressing room before committing to a pair (like sitting down, bending over like you dropped something, walking, and squatting) to avoid denim wedgies as well as exposed butt cheeks.
  3. What a weird bra size I have! Shopping for bras is truly an annoying experience (though shopping for jeans is definitely worse). Technically, I’m a B cup, so my cup size would fit in any old store. The issue is my measurement around is a 40, and you rarely find a 40B anywhere except for Lane Bryant and Torrid. (Well, at least from what I’ve tried to look for that’s what I’ve come up with.) Add on the fact that I need some padding to boost the girls, too. Oh, and sometimes the cute bras at Lane Bryant or Torrid are too big for me. That sucks, too.
  4. Speaking of boobs: there’s barely any cleavage! Even when I have on the perfect bra that makes the girls look absolutely perky and fantastic, an issue I have with tops is filling out. On the rare occasions that my shirt needs to be an 18/20, I better pray that the v-neck doesn’t go down to my stomach. For example, I have a nice kimono top I love to wear, but I can only wear it when I have my padded strapless bra on. Big girl with some little boobs *said in a Chris Farley “fat guy in a little coat” tune*!
  5. Store sizes absolutely suck and need to be universal. The only universal thing about this statement is that all of us ladies (as well as thinner ladies) have this same issue with every store we shop at. It always depends on the store, the cut, your measurements that don’t match up to the size guide half the time, blah blah blah. It’s even worse when you’re shopping online and basically going out on a limb and praying for a good result. Hopefully clothing companies get the hint to get cracking on this change soon!

And there you have it. Feel free to share your struggles with me below in the comments so we can have a conversation!

Favorite Places to Shop

Hello, everyone! Since this is one of my first posts, I want to talk about some of my favorite places to shop (both physical stores and online). I’m sure some of my readers will have some of the same brands, but I’d also love to hear about some other brands I haven’t shopped yet.

  1. Lane Bryant
    lb
    Lane Bryant was the store that first helped me somewhat enjoy shopping for clothes as a plus size chick. The first time I put on Lane Bryant jeans, I fell in love. I’m still in love, since this place is pretty trendy and awesome. However, because of that, I can’t afford it super often.
  2. Torrid
    torridTorrid is another cool and trendy, but expensive place to shop. It’s a little bit edgier than Lane Bryant, which I enjoy as a rocker chick, and its Disney collection is amazing. I just wish I could afford it more often.
  3. Rainbow Shops
    rainbow
    Rainbow is the store I mentioned in my introductory post (the place where I got the cute tube top). While this place can occasionally be a hit-or-miss (mostly at my local store), I tend to find quite a few cute things there. It’s cheaper than Lane Bryant and Torrid while still remaining pretty trendy for people in their teens or twenties. Cute shoes there, too, though maybe not the best quality for $20-$30.

Those are the top three I can think of right now. I tried Forever 21+ once, but it wasn’t a good experience. (I’ll save all of the places I feel iffy about for another day.) I also want to try Modcloth and Target’s new plus size selections in the future.

Let’s start a conversation! Which places are your favorites?