The Life-Changing Magic Of Buying The Correct Size

Having to walk carefully to avoid wedgies? Not helping any of us be our best selves. Image: Thinkstock.

Dress looks weird? Size up. Doesn’t mean I should berate myself and leave without buying anything.

I wore a size 14 for a long time. Like, 50 pounds' worth of time.

At the lowest point of me at size 14, I could go to Target and buy Merona pants. (That brand's 14s are the smallest I’ve found at chain retail stores.)

Then something happened to me — and the rest of America: Some chub piled on.

I should have gone up a size. Instead, I just found a different brand 14 to wear.

I’m smart like that.

Size 14 and I had a good relationship. It required some shopping around, but I didn’t have to face the fact of size 16 (that heinous perfect square).

Until, of course, I did. And I wasn’t really prepared for it, since I'd constructed a false narrative in my head to comfort myself.

In clear, logical thinking, I knew I weighed more. But if the clothes say I'm still the same size, then it's just about fit, right? The clothes are the issue, not me.

 

 

I don’t love the size of my body, but I don’t hate it either. Honestly, there are so many other things worthy of my brain power.

 

 

The first time I went to a national chain plus-size store, I was uncomfortable. Just walking through the front door felt like I was admitting that I had failed.

However, wearing clothes that don't fit day in and day out made me feel uncomfortable, too. Squished. Wrong. This feeling made me not want to go to work, play soccer with my kids, or even just laugh hysterically.

I discovered in the store a magical size — 14W — that let me hold on a little longer to my delusions.

Here’s the thing: If you start a day off trying to squeeze yourself into something, there's really no chance that day will be amazing.

Fabric digging into your jiggly parts? That doesn’t make you come up with better ideas. Having to walk carefully to avoid wedgies? Not helping any of us be our best selves.

Size, like age and salary and whatever else, is just a number. Pretending numbers don’t measure things isn’t helpful. I’m 38 years old: That isn’t good or bad, but it is different from being 18 or 50.

I am not a size 14, no matter how generous. I don’t know why I held on to it for so long. I don’t love the size of my body, but I don’t hate it either. Honestly, there are so many other things worthy of my brain power.

So I buy clothes that fit and don’t bunch oddly — clothes that make me feel comfortable and able to move in all the myriad ways I want to in a day.

 

 

Pulling or buttoning or zipping or stretching fabric onto my body each morning doesn’t require self-hating mental calisthenics anymore.


 

That means a larger size in some clothes than others. I don’t change my buying habit because of that, as I would have back in the day.

Dress looks weird? Size up. Doesn’t mean I should berate myself and leave without buying anything.

You may be asking where the “life-changing” part of all this factors in.

Pulling or buttoning or zipping or stretching fabric onto my body each morning doesn’t require self-hating mental calisthenics anymore.

My neurons can think about deadlines and fixing lunches — the important stuff.  

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