I recently experienced a wardrobe emergency that required a shopping marathon.
Unlike many women I know, I do not enjoy shopping for clothes . In fact, I despise clothes shopping. For one thing, I'm cheap. For another, I have absolutely no (zero, nada, zilch) sense of fashion. For a third, I spent the first third of my life seriously overweight. I was the "smart, fat kid" -- with thick glasses and horrible acne, just in case being a fat, four-eyes wasn't bad enough. When you're really fat (as opposed to carrying a few extra pounds that you can cover up with cool clothes), you know that it doesn't matter what you put on your body, you're still gross. I was that fat. I always thought I was pretty disgusting looking no matter what I wore, so it didn't matter how I dressed. I wore what my mother either picked out or sewed for me.
In my twenties I lost weight. I went from a size 22 pants to a size 9. I was very proud of myself, and I felt energetic and I enjoyed wearing my new skinny clothes. I never felt attractive, however, because that fat kid still lived inside of my head -- and my skin hadn't cleared up.
Between the time I was 24 and 56, for the most part, I maintained my weight. Excluding pregnancy, I generally hovered around a size 12, and I was okay with that. I still didn't feel particularly attractive, but I felt healthy and was committed to maintaining my weight with exercise and watching my diet. It was convenient that I could find clothes that fit without having to go to the Tent and Awning Store.
Two years ago, I started losing weight. At first, the weight loss was a byproduct of my emotional turmoil following my divorce: I was so freaked out, scared and upset, I just could not choke down food. (The Divorce Diet is very effective, but I'm here to tell you: there are much better ways to lose weight!) I moved to the beach and started walking like a maniac, processing all the crazy things that were going on in my exploded existence. I dropped from a size 12 to a 10 again for the first time in a couple of decades. I hung in at that level for a while, but with the combination of the dramatic increase in exercise and the continual healthy diet, my weight continued to trend slowly downward.
The weight loss was so gradual I didn't notice it. Others have been commenting lately about how great I look. I politely thanked them and started to feel terrific about my body for the first time in my life (not taking into consideration the spider veins and baggy skin). I wasn't paying attention, however, to the fact that my clothes were getting looser. Recently, all of a sudden the "looseness" crossed the line to downright bagginess. My size 10 pants looked clown-pants! I need almost a whole new wardrobe.
In February somebody gave me a pair of size 8 jeans. I almost gave them away without trying them on, thinking that I [the formerly smart, fat kid] could never fit into a size 8. But, I couldn't resist giving them a try. Turns out, they fit perfectly. I decided they must have been miss-labeled.
Later I had to buy a new bathing suit, and ended up with an 8. It started to dawn on me that maybe I has turned into a size 8 without realizing it.
I spent virtually all of last weekend shopping. I started trying on pants, beginning with size 8. The first two pairs I tried were too big. Do you understand how amazingly unbelievable that was for the fat girl in my head? I ended up with one size 8 and a size 6 from different manufacturers. I also bought a size 6 skirt, which is kicky and fun, and looks fabulous. I know that in the worlds of Hollywood and Madison Avenue, size 6 is officially "a cow" (isn't that what the lady said in The Devil Wears Prada?), but for someone whose body image is closer to a size 18, slipping this butt into a size 6 borders on nirvana.
It was fun strutting around this week showing off my new clothes. I even started feeling attractive. Better late than never, I suppose.