There aren’t any rules (aka, you aren’t going to lose 20lbs so buy the damn dress)
I am going to tell you a few home truths about being fat and loving to shop. You can do both and you should never be put off buying something you love because some twat in a lanyard tells you, “curvy girls should avoid white”, “maybe you could get away with that if you wore leggings”, or, my personal favourite, “shall I get you something to hide your arms?”. There are no rules, if you feel like a million bucks in an outfit fucking buy it!
I used to be skinny, very skinny in fact. At a time when I was a UK Size 8, I remember telling my best mate that, if I lost that last stone, I would buy myself a playsuit. IF I LOST WEIGHT!? I was tiny! I was so small that when I saw a photo of myself from that period at a friends house I said, “I used to have that top!”, completely oblivious to the fact that the petite blond in the pic was actually me. Eating disorders, depression and a prick of a boyfriend had all conspired to make me think I was still too fat to wear nice clothes.
A few weeks ago at work I was asked, by a well meaning but very insensitive young lady, why it didn’t bother me that I was fat. I said it is hard everyday and I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t my job to be thin and pretty and aesthetically pleasing. I have to remind myself that I am a person already and not the starting off point of a make over show. I deserve to dress exactly how I like and to only please myself. I also showed her my ‘skinny pic’. I told her I hated myself more at that weight than I do now. That I felt more angry and fat and stupid and worthless and lazy when I was training three hours a day and restricting my calories and I still wasn’t good enough. I’ve felt like a fat, ugly bitch since I was 15, it’s just now the outside actually matches my perception. This has given me a strange sense of peace. I feel more confident with each passing day and I am happy with my body and the space I am taking up.
Back to clothes. I am never going to say, “I’d get that if I was smaller”, ever again. I have started to buy cute things every time I go shopping. Crop tops, high waisted jeans and hot pants are back in the game, and if other people disapprove I simply don’t care. Walking around the shops with my belly peeping out of the top of my haram pants is thrilling. I feel like a rebel. It takes me back to my teenage goth phase, when I would rejoice at tormenting chavs and old ladies alike by simply having the audacity to wear massive jnco jeans and fishnet vests (and, sad to admit, chains. Smh)
You may think me shallow, and I am not implying there is a right or a wrong way to dress, but I believe having your own look is so important to your identity that it can harm your self esteem to go against your instincts. I know that in the years that I gave up on fashion and dressed to hide myself, I lost a big part of my personality. Because I love fashion. If you love leisurewear or denim or fleeces with wolves on them, that’s cool too! Feed your soul.
The feeling I try to recapture when I’m shopping is one from my childhood, the feeling that got me hooked on retail in the first place. I have a super cool big sister and, on my birthday and at Christmas, she would take me shopping for ‘grownup clothes’. I loved going to Tammy and New Look and buying clothes like hers and I would do a fashion show when I got home and nag to wear my new threads to the chippy so people would see me in them. I didn’t want to keep them for best, I wanted to show them off!
Now, when I try on stuff in a fitting room, instead of just checking it does up and isn’t see through (I shop in Primark a lot), I have fun again, I strike a pose and decide if I would want to show this off at a takeaway. If I can’t wait to wear it, it’s going in the bag.