I had a really insightful and thought provoking experience in a clothing store today that I wanted to share and talk about.
In my lunch hour I popped into our department store for a quick browse, and passed through World, as I always do, to swoon over their to-die-for fragrance selection. However I found that all of the perfumes had been cleared out and the entire store was having a clearance sale, to allow them to move to their new stand-alone premises in a few months. As a result everything was drastically on sale – like down to $20, $50, and $100. Amazing bargains.
I have only ever bought one garment from World because of 1) Price – nothing is usually less than $400 and 2) Sizing – it all runs a bit small and stops at a Large, which is about a 14. Loose fitting things are sometimes okay, but anything tailored isn’t going to work on me. And the whole thing intimidated me so much that I usually don’t even bother trying anything on, as a result.
However, today, my eyes fell upon a dress that I’d seen a few months previously – the colour was what grabbed me. A most vivid, royal blue, dress. Not only was the colour amazing, but it was in velvet – my favorite of all fabrics.It was down from $500 to just $50. Which is an incredible deal.
The style is cut as a very tight, form fitting, wiggle dress – Joan from Mad Men would happily wear it. Which is a style I do wear when I’m in the mood – but being World I had immediately dismissed it as something that won’t fit so I never closely looked at it last time.
However this time I picked it up, they had it in a Large, and I noticed that, despite the velvet exterior, the dress was actually made from literal wetsuit material – thick knit stretchy scuba. Interesting and unusual – but this actually gave some hope that it would stretch and mold over my curves.
Not feeling the most confident about myself today I hesitated on deciding whether I’d try it on. I didn’t feel in the mood to be disappointed and made to feel shitty and insecure if it looked awful on, or worse wouldn’t even get over my shoulders.
But I was curious, because it was so unusual and I wanted to see how that fabric looked on. So I took a big breath and embarked on the changing room with no hope or expectations. The assistant warned me that it is a struggle to get on, which helped, and made me persevere and not get disheartened as I fought to get it over my bust. And, well, it took a lot of wiggling and holding of breath, but to my surprise, I got into it! I wish to note that this is purely due to cut and fabric and not because I’ve lost weight or anything like that.
It was very tight, but then it’s meant to be, and did wonders for my posture! However I felt very insecure in its tightness – as I was not wearing the right underwear, my tummy felt very prominent. And although the assistant told me it looked great, I didn’t really believe her.
All I could see when I looked in the mirror were the bulges and lumps in my mid-section. But then I also saw that it showed off my features – my boobs and small waist – wonderfully and that I was feeling like this because I’m just not used to seeing myself in this shape of dress.
I knew that with the right hair, heels, underwear and accessories (and a couple of gins) I’d feel 10x more confident and strut into the room like I owned it. I still wasn’t sure though.
Usually this is a sign for me to walk away. But the colour and fabric kept drawing me in.
Then I realized that my main considerations on whether I bought this garment had dramatically changed from how I would have thought five years ago.If I’d have been in this exact position five years ago I’d have thought like this:
1. It’s an absolute bargain, just buy it because it’s very cheap and this is a great deal, even if it’s not right you’d be stupid to miss out on this price
2. Buy it for when you’re 5kg lighter. Then you’ll be able to wear it with confidence. It’s not quite right now, but soon it will be. Just buy it now for the future.
Instead, today, my thoughts went like this:
1. It’s an incredible bargain. But if I’m not going to wear it then it’s a waste of $50, so it’s not about price
2. I have to be comfortable and happy to wear it as I am right here, today. No thinner, not when you’ve dropped a size, or started the diet, but just as you are right now
I paused, and I considered, and in the end I decided that I do accept myself as I am in this dress. That I would wear it this weekend. That yes, I have a tummy, and hips, and it’s very revealing of my shape, but just as many people will be looking at my good points, as the bad, which I am naturally pre-disposed to fixate on.
And so I bought it.
And I’ve been thinking about it a lot ever since because it felt really significant and important because it was a way of thinking I’d never really experienced before, as I’ve been in something of a fashion comfort zone for the past few years, and have until now avoided this dilemma by avoiding this kind of shape.
It was a moment where you suddenly realise how much you’ve grown, changed and become at peace with yourself…all without really realizing. It was fascinating to see how I’d done such a 180 in how I viewed things.
And it felt really empowering, great, and liberating. I now have this amazing dress that I know I can wear right away, not “in a few months”, or when I wake up as the perfect version of myself (NB: this date is NEVER).
That I accept myself just as I am.
Dress – World
Earrings – Doodad and Fandango