Not long ago, I used to shop for clothes in a way that I thought was logical and assumed was the “right” way. I only chose clothes that I liked. I tried them on, if they didn’t work, I would go find something else I liked and try that on. I kept going until I found something that I was delighted to go home with. Well, I want to tell you right now that shopping that way is definitely the WRONG way.
Now, I’m not saying don’t ever pick out something you like. You absolutely should try them on. However, solely shopping with the mentality that you should completely skip clothes that you hate is something you should try to avoid. When I started trying on clothes that I expressed an obscene dislike for, I was always pleasantly surprised at how incredible they looked on me.
The Dreaded Skinny Jeans Trend
The first time I ever tried on something I hated I hadn’t yet reached the point of changing the way I shopped. I was puttering around Walmart and ended up in the pants section. The skinny jeans trend had been around for a bit but the popularity was rising. So, I figured “what the hell” and tried some on. I’ll admit, I was WOWWED at how they fit and how comfortable they felt. All I could think about was how I, now, totally understood why everyone liked them so much. I bought the skinny jeans. Then, I bought another pair and another pair. Here we are a couple years later and that’s mostly all I have in my closet.
The following spring, I was shopping for new tank tops at Old Navy. Out of habit, I B-lined it to the ribbed tank tops I always wore in the past. Since I changed shape a little over the winter they didn’t look as good as I remembered. I needed a new plan. That’s when I thought back on the skinny jeans and took a look in another direction.
I found some blouse-style tank tops instead and tried on some that were outside of my comfort zone. They didn’t have one color in the store that I remotely liked so I was forced to try on what they had. At the time, that was a simple, mono-toned, floral pattern but in multiple color options. I just grabbed one of every color to try on and hoped for the best.
One was blue and one was red-orange. I hated the floral print but liked the blue tone so I was happy with that when I tried it on. I made a face at the orange one but tried it on anyway. I was tremendously happy after I had! It looked sooooo so good on me! I never would have known if I shopped by only choosing what I liked.
Even though I have come to realization at how I should be shopping, I still catch myself falling into my old habit. Most recently that happened when I was shoe shopping at Famous Footwear.
I had recently seen someone wear some Vans Wards with some skinny jeans so I wanted to try some out. I was ecstatic when they fit! Originally, I had anticipated going home with the black and white ones but the color was just too stark on me. I tried on every color they had in the store except one…. a pair that were baby pink and white. I hated the color so much I couldn’t fathom even trying them on.
I skipped over them and started looking for a different style shoe. I found a color that looked good on me but they were too narrow for my feet. I thought back on the Vans and actually debated whether the right color was worth the sacrifice of how my feet would feel in them.
Another hour later I was out of options but was determined to leave the store that day with a pair of shoes. The only choice I was left with was those pink Vans. Despite how badly I wanted to avoid them, I reluctantly tried them on and looked in the mirror. As much as I hated to admit it, the ugly pink Vans were “the ones” I had been searching for.
I don’t have a clear understanding of what sparked my change in perspective but I am grateful for it. As a plus-size woman, finding the right fit can be a challenge. However, with the mass improvements in what’s available (combined with a change in mindset) my wardrobe has improved immensely and I feel a noticeable gain in self-esteem.
I sincerely hope that I have inspired all of you to try something new. We are all beautiful inside and out, regardless of size, and we need to encourage and uplift each other every day.
So, step out of your comfort zone. Try on clothes that you hate along with clothes that you absolutely adore. You may find yourself stunned by the outcome.