Shopping was a chore. It was a time that I was reminded that my body was broken and that I must be immoral, lazy, and cheating on my diet, because if I wasn't then I should have been able to shop in the "right" section.
But I couldn't.
When I was a little kid, I was wearing teen sizes. When I was a teen, I was wearing larger women's sizes. In 1989, when Guess jeans, Vuarnet tank tops and Keds were in style, I was wearing Sears women's jeans, men's cut Vuarnet shirts and knock-off Keds from the K-mart. It was fine. I survived, however I never truly understood what it was like to go shopping with friends, pouring over the latest fashions and figuring out what I liked.
There was one time a year that life came close to that. It was when I would get a giant box of clothes and accessories in the mail! My mom's parents lived in a suburb of Washington DC. Their neighbor's granddaughter was a few years older than me and plus sized too. Every year around the holiday's, she would pack up a box of hand-me-downs and ship them to me. I WAS IN HEAVEN! Fashionable, fun, young-looking and like nothing I could find in Springfield, Oregon. I would pour through every item, trying to figure out how I would put outfits together. For those first few days, it always felt so amazing. I felt trendy and chic.
Finally in the early 90's we got Petries Plus and Lane Bryant. I was able to purchase items that were a bit more reflective of who I was, and still, I felt so far behind my peers. I had two options and they were stores that catered to my size, so it wasn't as if I could even shop with my peers.
I've come a long way since 1990. I have slowly but surely grown into my fashion skin. With the help of many fashionable friends, I feel like I have honed my skills and on occasion have been able to help others "love the skin they're in." Clothes are funny that way. It's so amazing how a comfortable and well fitting bra can change the way my clothes hang and then that influences how I accessorize. Next I am exploring funky hair and maybe throwing on some make-up. All this can completely change the way I feel about myself and how I walk through the world. It helps me feel empowered and when I feel more able to empower others. When we are all empowered, we change the world. Fashion certainly changed my world...