I've never felt comfortable in clothing stores. When I first hit my goal weight a few months ago I was walking through the mall, heading from one department store to the next. I walked by "Express" and thought about going in because I thought that, at this weight, they would have something in my size. And then I seriously broke out into a cold sweat and thought "I don't fit in there" and walked on. A mini panic attack...about a store.What in the world? I had to ask myself "why?" and "when did that start?"
My "why" is because I have always felt that I never have had the body size or money to shop anywhere besides the department store sale racks, usually in the "women's" section. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But why did the thought of going into a GAP or Express or LOFT or any other "clothing" store make me freak out? Then I remembered specifically when it started.
In middle school I was shopping with a friend and her mom at "Vanity." As I checked the tags I realize a) they had nothing in my size (which was probably about a 14 at that point) and b) the price tags were higher than my babysitting money funds allowed-at least after I spent my money on CD's and books. It was a moment when I mentally lowered my head and realized...I didn't fit in. I was too big and too cheap.
So from that point on I stuck to "safer" places. I actually didn't think you could get women's clothing in my size unless it was a mumu, so I often bought men's clothing. I have to shake my head when I go back and look at pictures of the manly cargo pants, t-shirts, and plaid shirts. (In my defense, I was in high school about the time when Nirvana and similar grunge bands were popular...I think we all had a case of the frumpies). I didn't even realize the mental script I was reading over and over again...you're too big, too cheap, you don't fit in.
But it also never really bothered me. I don't know if it was self-confidence or ignorance, but it didn't really bother me that I wore a pair of tapered jeans a size too small with a 3XL men's plaid shirt to my first day of school my senior year...and probably about every other day that year. Similar fashion faux pas and fear of clothing stores stuck with me for a long time.
I'm growing up a bit. Realizing that no matter what size I am, I can dress in a flattering way. I'm slowly accepting that size tags and price tags are just pieces of paper.