Plus Size – Shopping Sans Labels

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One of the hardest parts of plus-size fashion is the much shorter list of stores that carry anything larger than a size 12. Many stores don’t even carry extra-large – never mind anything beyond that. For years, growing up I hated shopping with friends because we would go into stores that I knew I couldn’t even try things on in. Especially as a teenager, I would get very upset and tie my self-worth around my ability to try on clothes. It didn’t help that my two other sisters were always naturally thin. For some reason, out of three girls, I was the large one, and my mom had a hard time judging the size of clothes I should be trying on. By the time I was eighteen and moving out on my own I refused to go shopping.

I was in my mid twenties when I overcame it. There was no single moment. No “Ah-ha!” Unfortunately, the only way I overcame this emotional state was perseverance. I needed new clothes. Therefore, I had to shop. Ergo, I tried on clothes. Somewhere along the line I stopped judging myself and started to judge the clothes. Perhaps confidence I had found elsewhere in my life helped me to not accept the first piece of clothing that fit. Instead I looked at how it fell on my body, and the way it accentuated or hid what I wanted it to do.

IMG_1150Around this time, over the past couple of years I started to do something my teenage self had refused to do – I started shopping in stores that don’t have a plus sized section. And surprise! I have found many a wonderful piece of clothing that is not advertised to my person, but works perfectly. An example of this is my summer dress from Eclipse. It was an extra-large in a store that marketed to teens. However, when I went into the store my eyes were immediately drawn to it for two reasons:

  1. The material was stretchy but thick enough to hold its shape.
  2. The A-line skirt is a flattering fit on my body type.

Sure enough this dress, as soon as I put it on, was perfect! Despite the fact the first few racks didn’t go up higher than a large. It was worth it for this dress.

What advice can I then offer any readers? Don’t let the store, or its intended audience, scare you away. Go in. Try on. And whatever you do, judge the clothes not you.

Happy shopping! ~M

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