Skin Deep: My “when” clothes
I buy my clothes for the future, for the “when”. When I lose ____ pounds. When my face clears up. When I get tanner and when my hips disappear. And I love my clothes so much. I sit in my tiny closet and run my hands over each shirt, skirt and pair of trousers, imagining what my beautiful future self will look like in them. Oh, I will look so amazing in them. I can see it now. I can be the girl in the ad with long legs, slim hips and small breasts. I bet she only has one chin when she makes those ugly faces in selfies. My chins are envious. When I sit with my clothes I don’t have to be honest with myself. The reality is my growth spurts have long since ended and 5’2 is where I am staying. And I have hips. I am the true definition of a coke bottle. A short coke bottle but a curvy little coke bottle none the less. And this is where the problem lies. My beautiful clothes look amazing on the model, and on the taller, slimmer dream me. When I used to feel thin enough or it felt like my legs were particularly long one day I would grab something to try on. It didn’t matter what it was. No matter the brand, color or style I was disappointed that I did not look like I thought I should. The clothes wouldn’t fit right, or they wouldn’t even fit at all because I had purchased them for my skinny size I was waiting to get to again. I had set myself up for failure but how could I not? My life had been infiltrated by a diet culture that had presented me with
nothing but those tall, thin gorgeous women to look at. I am the antithesis of these images. I am not saying I am Quasimodo ready to climb a tower, but I am a short curvy girl. I’m more of the norm and I have no idea what clothes will look like on me. Guess what that button up shirt looks waaaaay different on my DDs than does on a flat chest. Give me a hell yeah if you have ever had a button pop open across your chest! Part of my inability to come to terms with my differences is the fact that I have never had a model showing me how my body type looks in clothes. It doesn’t seem fair that only a percentage of women are represented in fashion when all women are BUYING fashion. But the main goal of the fashion industry, as with any other, is to make money. And models are mediums in which clothes can be sold. They are dehumanized in order to make sure an item’s shape flow. Her job is to make sure the item is appealing nothing more. The model is not a vibrant breathing person, only a hanger. This is a problem twofold. First, this beautiful woman has been told that her role in life is to let clothes shine. She must fit in sample sizes and do what is necessary in order to continue working. She is easily replaceable and forgotten. Secondly, the aesthetic that is perpetuated is drastically unrealistic to maintain and for the rest of us to obtain. Th
e disappointment and shame of being different than those girls fed my eating disorder. For me that involved over exercising, binging and purging and a use of laxatives. I also indulged myself in every trendy diet product on the market. My bathroom was filled with creams, pill and wraps. Shockingly enough they don’t work so I went back to trusty trio in hopes of changing the chemistry of my body. Eventually my body, in a sense, became allergic to everything I was trying to do. I was no longer losing weight and I was bloating heavily. My body had enough and was putting a stop to it before I died. I was angry at the time but am learning to be thank for this gift now. Understand that an eating disorder is so powerful in its ability to make you hate yourself that it is hard to get to the point of valuing your own life.
Four years later my body has gone through changes and is settling into the body of a healthy woman. So, I have decided to try it again. I want to wear my clothes. Not my baggy t-shirt and sweatpants all the time. Those are my hideaway clothes. It is time for real clothes. I am ready to take small steps and wearing my real clothes and leaving them on. I reached into my closet and grabbed something I also remembered seeing online. I picked out a white blouse with black piping and a little black ribbon to tie around my neck. I remembered exactly how this boxy monochromatic top looked on the website when I clicked on the add to cart tab. So flowy, so perfect. As soon as I put it on I felt the disappointment creeping up. Screw it Randi lets go take a picture in it. And I did. I never would have thought but taking pictures of myself have helped me feel pretty darn good. I don’t like every picture and to me that’s normal. I began to feel good when the breeze caught ahold of the sleeves and I know I looked quite smart with the thin bolo like tie around my neck. I was able to appreciate fashion for what it is and more importantly how it feels on me.
I went through two years of intensive therapy, but I also got to the point where I decided I wanted to enjoy my life. And part of enjoying my life is wearing my clothes. ALL of them. It was hard to let go of dream Randi. Some days I miss those clothes and that possibility. But it was never actually a possibility. It was a myth created by the diet culture of the Western world. I am slowly embracing the differences despite the constant pull from tv, magazines, and the internet to be the same. Positive changes I have been able to soak up include the body positive community and the use of all kinds of models by ASOS show how clothes fit. The bopo community reminds me that my individuality is something to be embraced and showcased. And three cheers to ASOS who, as of March of this year, is showing items being worn by three different body types. Yes!