On Body Image and Radical Self Love

Clothes Shopping Awakening

I’ve been trying to clothe this body better lately. I don’t intentionally step on scales any more, but I feel like I’ve stabilized a bit in my recovery weight gain and maybe I can spend a little money on this body for things that are hard to thrift.

However…the problem is this: understanding my style and how it translates to this body. Honestly, I was more worried at first because we all know clothes are designed for skinny people, so logic would dictate that it would be harder to find clothes you like if you are no longer skinny. BUT! It turns out! Since I was so critical of my body and my appearance when I was skinny…clothes shopping is much easier now.

Bonus side-effect from healing! More clothing options!

I have no problem thrifting tops, I bought like 6 tops for $20 just last week. But bottoms are a struggle because I’m picky and pants are just not designed with my body shape (I am short and biggest in the middle) in mind. Also: EVERYTHING MUST HAVE POCKETS. Period. I no longer waste money on pants without pockets. I spent a lot of time this summer in dresses with bike shorts under to prevent chaffing. But that’s not a great winter option. I started the Fall investing in some nicer leggings which are fine, but kinda boring, you know? And also, I judged my size a bit wrong and got some just a hair too small. They’re wearable (I wear them once a week) but they’re not perfect you know?

I decided to hit up Target because they were having 20% off all apparel last week.

Let me tell you a little bit about my size for reference. I’m only 5’3″ (at best) and I weigh about 200lbs (I don’t weight myself, but I do find it helpful talking about clothes and I do get weight at my psychiatrist one every few years for dosage issues which I allow so I know my basic weight) so I hover around the biggest size in the women’s section and the smallest size in the Plus Size section. BUT! Pants are tricky because I’m short. I need big sizes to fit around my stomach but they are ALWAYS too long.

So! I took three things into the dressing room. Overalls (because I love my other pair and they’re adjustable which helps balance out the length problem) and two pairs of “crop” pants which hit me perfect at my ankles if I pull the pair up over my belly. Also, one tapered and one had elastic at the ankles which meant even if they were a bit too long, they wouldn’t hang down on the floor. All three items were cute and not boring and fun and I loved them on the rack so…why not try?


I have never taken three pairs of pants into a dressing room and loved all three. EVER.

And you know why? It turns out you CAN look at yourself in the mirror and evaluate your clothing without having thoughts about your body/appearance. DID YOU KNOW IT WAS POSSIBLE? I did not! Honestly! But I proved it this weekend.

I picked items that I really liked on the rack. Great color. Great style. Fun. POCKETS. Zippers! Soft fabric! Funky! All of my favorite things about clothes. NOT BORING, most importantly. I loved all three pieces on the rack, all that mattered was:

  1. Did they fit?
  2. Were they comfy?

And you know what? THEY WERE! They all fit PERFECT. (I got 16/XL in all of them) and they were SO COMFY. AND! Because I already loved them on the rack, then I still loved them when I saw they fit…without even thinking about how they looked on my body. I was just looking in the mirror, loving that the pants fit and were comfy and NONE of the old voices popped up critiquing “silhouettes” or wondering if the clothing was “flattering” or any other antifat language I used to use with myself back in the day.

WHICH IS WHY I RARELY LOVED ANY OF MY CLOTHING. Now? After this weekend I own one pair of overalls (MY SECOND PAIR) and two pairs of pants that I LOVE because I loved them on the rack and they fit. WHO CARES HOW THEY LOOK ON MY BODY?

It was revelatory. I honestly have struggled with how to approach fashion if you want to be apathetic about your body. And it turns out – you can still have thoughts! I still like funky unique items that are a little boho and a little rugged. I can find items that fit those appealing qualities, but get them in my size and simply test for fit/comfort. So I can still love the clothes but not give two flying shits about my body!

I really wish I had thought to do a proper photo session with my new clothes. Alas, all I can offer is a selfie I took of me in my overalls.

I wore them all day yesterday. I went for a walk in them. I went shopping in them. I felt adorable because I loved them REGARDLESS of how they looked on my body. Did they hide my belly? Nope. Definitely did not since you can’t even use a shirt to cover it up. But did I still love them with every ounce of my soul and never want to wear anything else ever again? YES. Because I felt cute and funky and artsy and like I had reached my final form as: QUIRKY LIBRARIAN.

OH! I do also have the last pair of overalls I bought which I also loved before I tried on! My only complaint about these is the fabric is no very forgiving and I kinda feel like I have to iron them so they only get 4.5 stars. (Bonus: Nikki in her homecoming dress.)

I’m just always excited to share new progress and I’m really excited to discover you can have lots of thoughts/opinions about clothing without any of them having anything to do with your body.

4 thoughts on “Clothes Shopping Awakening”

  1. As a fellow not too tall person, Carhartt and Duluth offer a wide range of sizes in multiple inseam lenghts. Not thrift store prices but will last forever.

  2. I love how happy you look in the photo with the new overalls- you look adorable and you look like you feel adorable and it’s all around awesome.

  3. I love the overalls! I have found (as a 5’2 person who’s also widest in the middle) that Target maternity section pants are often good – the ones designed for “early pregnancy” tend to go over my belly with gentle, not-digging-in-elastic, and are very comfy for me. I had to get over my ***feelings*** about wearing maternity pants when I’m not pregnant, but they’re just so comfy and work great with the way I wear shirts (never, ever tucked in).

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