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For me, pants shopping is up there with going to the gynaecologist or the dentist in terms of unpleasant things that are often necessary. I have very thick thighs, a large bum, and a long torso, which appears to be the unholy trinity of pants designers, since they don’t make any classy looking pants which accommodate all three features.

I am talking about this today because I was forced to go pants shopping today, and I was reminded of what hell it is. Jaime and I went to five different stores, with the goal of finding me one pair of dressy, conservative black pants for job interviews, lounging about the house, and nice events where I don’t feel like wearing a dress or a skirt. Five different stores, about nine different pairs of pants, and each were a colossal failure. They didn’t button over my bum, barely made it over my hips, puckered over my crotch and squeezed my thighs painfully. Then we tried other stores, and discovered that size 14 was as high as they went, when I needed a size 16-18, and scooted out quickly in frustration. Others carried those sizes, but since they were the quickest to sell out, they were unavailable at the moment.

After the last unsuccessful attempt, which involved trying on a beautiful pair of pinstripe pants which made me look like a potato partially stuffed into a tube sock, I started crying, out of sheer frustration. Jaime comforted me, and so we went shopping for non-pants related things to cheer me up, such as books. They’re good at making me feel better.

She suggested going to a plus size clothing store next time for pants. While I was agreeing from a logical point of view, my innards twisted: My mother had always told me that plus size clothes shopping was absolutely verboten, because it was, in her words, “admitting defeat”. So, for most of my teen years, I wore clothing that was several sizes too small, because she was in the habit of buying me ones which were about two sizes too small, in order to “inspire” me to lose weight. I still have not gotten over that association of shame and failure with plus size clothing stores, and it showed.

I need new pants. It is not a sign of defeat to admit that I will need to get them at a plus size clothing store. All of the baggage aside, deep down, I know I will never, ever be the size 8 my mother wants me to be, and I shouldn’t attempt to strive for such an unrealistic, painful goal. So next week, I’m going to go to a plus size store in Victoria and pick out new pants. It will be just the act of miniature defiance I need to continue digging myself out of this association of being fat with shame and guilt. And I will look much more beautiful, professional, and comfortable in those size 16 pants than I ever did in the ones which were meant to be inspiring.

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