This week I had a higher-than-average number of online shopping deliveries arrive at my place (the usual average being zero), all of which were greeted without trepidation or anxiety. I Bought The Clothes!
It's been a long time since I allowed myself to buy a number of clothes. Last December, I bought myself a new top and a jumpsuit (first one ever!), because I opened my cupboard and realised I had nothing I wanted to wear to my work Christmas party, my friend's hens party, drinks with friends... in fact even the clothes I wore to work were sad, I'd just wear my uniform top and rotate a couple of pairs of worn-out leggings. On my days off, I'd be actively disappointed that I couldn't just wear my uniform because it meant having to find something else to wear. Before the December Jumpsuit and Nice Top purchase, I can't actually remember the last time I bought clothes - it had been maybe a year or more?
Why was I denying myself nice clothes? I found myself rationalising by saying that there was no point in buying clothes because I was in the process of losing weight. Eventually they may not fit properly anymore, so what was the point?
Now that I see that reason written down, I can really see how stupid it sounds... For the past four years or so, I'd been steadily gaining weight, so I didn't buy clothes - then my weight was steady, but I hoped to lose some, so I didn't buy clothes... then I was losing weight, so... still no clothes?!
Why should I "wait" for some milestone or sign before I start treating myself with dignity and reverence? But, it's funny what you can justify when you think of your current state of being as being transient, temporary, and, more importantly, not your ideal state.
Again, like a lot of things about my thought processes that have improved lately, my attitude towards how I dress myself got better not because I started to lose weight, but because I felt like I was beginning to gain control of my body. The previously confusing, exhausting and frankly depressing experience of inhabiting a body I didn't relate to or understand, was being replaced by the experience of listening to my body, understanding what it needed, and treating it with respect and attention in an attempt to help it heal. Once I'd worn The December Jumpsuit Purchase three times within a week or two, I realised I was selling myself short by owning just One Nice Thing That Makes Me Feel Nice (I am really into this capitalisation thing today). Why put off feeling fabulous and confident until I'd reached the "right" point in my journey - shouldn't I be feeling fabulous at all points of the journey? Isn't my entire life the journey? I will be dealing with this invisible condition for the rest of my life in one way or another, so it suddenly seemed dumb to use something so temporary as my weight to be any kind of meaningful milestone for decision-making! Especially for someone who spends many of their working/performing hours advocating for others to make the most of their lives, shake off their insecurities (harder than it sounds), and feel fabulous, the whole idea of me restricting my wardrobe purchases for such a poor reason seems hypocritical.
Having said that, of course, cutting down on Fast Fashion is still a wise idea. Contributing to needless waste, supporting companies that exploit workers, spending our hard-earned dollars on something flimsy and poor quality, are all things that we should ideally be aiming to minimise. In the time I didn't purchase clothes, I also minimised my wardrobe and started folding things the Konmari way, so some good did come out of it in a way. If you're interested in downsizing your wardrobe and learning about key quality pieces to own, I've probably already raved to you about this blog by my amazing friend, but you should definitely check it out, particularly now that her YouTube channel has just hit the magical 69k followers.
So: What did I buy? After retiring my two heavily-rotated pairs of leggings due to irreparable crotch trauma (now there's a band name), I took advantage of a deal on Pop Fit for Buy 2 Get 2 Free. The entire order wasn't that cheap, but buying four pairs instead of just one or two will see me through for quite a while until my next crotch trauma. Plus, I am pretty sure I can at least partially tax deduct them because I primarily wear them for work? I'll try my luck.
I also bought myself a swag of things on Boohoo.com, which, I know, I just ragged on cheap shitty fashion before. Long story short, I had my heart set on a particular (not cheap) jumpsuit from Unique Vintage, but they were consistently out of stock, and said they had no current plans to replenish stock. Boo (hoo). So I went to Boohoo and, again, took advantage of a sale to grab a few extra bits and pieces that can be used for going out and maybe even for onstage too - double handy. I got myself a leopard print bathing suit, a leopard print jumpsuit, a sequined jumpsuit, a mustard yellow jumpsuit (oh yeah, my December Jumpsuit has MASSIVE crotch trauma, I probably should not have done all those ninja kicks.. lesson learned), and a sequined dress for onstage. It was a pretty exciting package to unwrap - lots of fun colours and sequins! I also want to let you guys know about an app/Chrome Plugin that has saved me big $ lately, Honey. When I'm online shopping (or on any website that has a paid subscription option etc), it shows when there are current discount codes that I can use on the site. I saved myself an extra 40% on my Boohoo order using discount codes from the Honey plugin!
When ordering, I actually measured myself properly. I found that I was actually a size larger than what I would have automatically ordered, so was grateful I'd done that properly. When everything arrived, for the first time in my entire life, all the pieces fit comfortably (both Pop Fit and Boohoo). I wasn't deliberately going down a size to "motivate" myself, I wasn't just guessing, or letting my pride hit a particular size button. I was ordering to fit ME, because it's the job of my clothing to fit me, not the other way around. I decided that if something wasn't right, I'd either send it back (which I've never done before because, hassle), or use my newly acquired sewing machine to adjust them as best I can. Funnily enough, a couple of the jumpsuits have very long legs, so I'll need to take them up a bit - I'm excited to learn how to do so, and it will be a nice chance for my mum & I to sit down and chat and sew, I like it when she teaches me sewing skills! I also know for sure that if/when the clothes become too big for me, I will sit back down with her again, and figure out the best way to alter them so they I can continue to wear them. In my efforts to own less and cut down on fast fashion, I will be altering clothing more in future, and yes, I am going to try and patch up my December Crotch Trauma Jumpsuit (wow what a journey we've been on today, huh?).
The results? Well you already knew that I have been feeling good lately, and now I'm reflecting that on the outside. I feel good taking pride in my appearance, because I feel like I deserve it, and so do the people around me. My outsides reflect my insides, and my thought process. I may not wear make up to work, and because we're in a very 'activewear' environment at the dance studio, I may not dress particularly smart, but I feel tidy, fun, and bright. I try and make an effort to put earrings in, or do something interesting with my hair, just to get back to that funky person I used to be (and look like) back before I started denying myself the right to fun and fashion. I'm so glad I'm no longer saving it for "some day", and remembering that the only day that matters is today.
Spending energy on making yourself look and feel good (whether for you that means sequined jumpsuits, or just clean comfortable clothing) is not an act of selfishness, it's an act of self care, and if you realise that you're no longer doing it, maybe it's a sign to look at why.
So: - Have you got a purchase you want to show off? - Is there something on your wishlist you've been putting off? How come? - Do YOU know much about fun and fashionable second hand clothing for plus size people? Tell me your secrets! I've heard about the bounties at op shops in Joondalup, where rich older ladies donate their fun fashion, often in plus sizes, but am yet to explore!