Do I Look Fat in This?

Size Is an Arbitrary Number

Believe it or not, sizing depends on where certain clothes are manufactured and how the manufacturer wishes to market the line. Have you noticed that when shopping for extremely expensive brands, you may find yourself in a smaller size? That is because some companies wish to capitalize on the mental warfare that is associated with women's sizing. They know that women are socialized to want the smallest size possible, and if they can get you thinking that your $1,500 just bought you a better feeling about yourself, then they think you will come back and spend more—just so you can feel good about your size.

Style Secrets

You know what my style secret truly is? I find clothes that fit my body properly. No matter what the size says. Even if you have to buy two different sizes, get your head in the game to find the best fit, not a certain size, because clothing is not a perfect science—people still make clothing, and people are still fallible. Patterns can be cut differently, and two of the same size pants can fit very differently. So try on multiple sizes till you find the one that works for your body. Dress for your age and be realistic about your shape. Just because a style is in for a prepubescent girl doesn't mean it will translate well on an older woman. Get a reality check on what truly does look best on you. If you aren't sure, grab the most honest group of friends you have and ask them.

All women face a challenge in finding clothing that works on their bodies. Your body is brilliantly unique. It may take more patience than you have sometimes, but learning to dress your body for who you are today can help alleviate an overstuffed closet full of clothing memories and reminders of failed diet plans. Most of all, feel good in your skin, because a genuine glow of self-esteem is the sexiest accessory anyone can have.

Stay Out of the Danger Zone

Unless you're going to live in a nudist colony, clothing and body image will continue to be a force in your life. No matter whether you are a high-end fashionista or fancy yourself a thrift-store diva, what you choose to wear expresses how you feel about yourself —more specifically, how you feel about your body. There are ways to combat the incessant neuroticism and self-critique that our culture places on us about our bodies and our fashion. In the same way that you are decoding the Language of Fat and trying to find replacements for all of the words that you use that are hazardous to your health, so too must you straighten out your beliefs about your body, your size, and the clothes you choose to wear.

For me the days of my Greek tragedies are over. When I am the slightest bit tempted to believe that I am not a worthy human being because I can't find a top to match my pants, I now know that I am in a danger zone with the Language of Fat, and it is a cue for an emotional time-out.

Knowing and understanding the shape and size of my body and deciding how I like to dress my body empowers me. I have learned to avoid the marketing trap of being a certain size and the closet meltdowns with people I love. It took some work for me to get this way. I eventually got very good at creating a new kind of theatrics for myself in the morning. And this one has a theme of love and acceptance. There is no substitute for self-love. No quick fix, no shortcut, and no certain size or style that can replace it. If you are not currently practicing it, then you must begin somewhere. These are all merely suggestions. But they worked for me, a retired actress in the Greek closet tragedies. And I know they can work for you, too.

Take Action

    1. Throw out all notions of what clothing size you should be. Instead, focus on how your body feels in clothing.

    2. Become more realistic about your true shape. Seek to find clothing that really fits your body well. Don't be afraid to buy a different size.

    3. Remember, all women have issues finding clothes that fit. Dump the "grass is always greener" attitude and work with your body to find clothes that actually fit.

    4. Recognize the Language of Fat that is present during closet meltdowns.

    5. Remember that your worth does not hinge on what you are wearing today.

    6. Raise your voice. Write to fashion magazines, clothing stores, and designers, and let them know what you think about their marketing, their clothing, and their availability to women of all shapes and sizes.

    7. Learn how to make love in the morning to yourself! Practice self-love and kindness with your body before you get dressed. You'll notice the difference. I promise.


From
Do I Look Fat in This? by Jessica Weiner. Copyright © 2006 by Parallax Entertainment. Reprinted by permission of Simon Spotlight Entertainment, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster.

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