Finding Pants and “Normal” Bodies

On the weekend I went shopping for some new work clothes. The goal of this trip was to find pants. I loathe finding pants. My hips and waist don’t conform to the fashion industry’s ideal of what women should be shaped like so finding business clothing that actually fits is next to impossible. That is until these new “comfort” fit pants appeared on the market during the past couple years. Some very brilliant designer decided to create stylish pants and skirts that were stretchy and did not feature button arrangements that resembled torture devices.

Unfortunately, these new comfort fit clothing pieces tend to be made out of synthetic fabrics which wear out in only a few months so I still try to find well-fitting “normal” clothing because these pieces tend to last longer and the fabrics feel nicer to me. However, this brings me back to the reality that clothing is simply not made to fit me. I tried on several pants in different styles and sizes. Not a single pair fit. I found a dress in a design that I have been searching for for months. Unfortunately, I have big strong shoulders that are great for field hockey, but not so great for the cute, feminine, cotton dresses that are sold in all the stores this year. I even decided to try out the plus sizes. While standing in the change room, I had to ponder whether or not fashion designers have ever seen real bodies. The top and shoulders fit perfectly (I guess my shoulders are fat), but the hips were smaller. My hips aren’t even my so-called “problem area”. The dress looked terrible. I went bah and put it back on the rack.

In the end I grabbed a skirt (size 11, even though the comfort pants that fit were size 13 and the “normal” pants that didn’t fit were size 15 and the dress that looked terrible was 14 plus). I carted my purchases up to the front and started chatting with the cashier. We were talking about the comfort fits and I mentioned that my body wasn’t meant to fit in any of these pieces of clothing. I phrased it as “I’m not a normal size”. And then a mini-miracle happened. The cashier berated me and told me that my body was fine; it was the clothing that obviously needed to change.

I stood there amazed. While I try to practice body acceptance and fat acceptance, sometimes it’s hard, particularly when you find yourself lacking suitable pants. Shopping rarely tends to help you feel better about yourself if you do not fit the beauty norm, but when an associate in a clothing store professes such a progressive view instead of telling you how to hide flaws with specific cuts or bemoaning their extra flub, suddenly the whole process sucks a little less.

Thank you Reitmans employee. You are officially my awesome person of the week. I will try to remember what you said to me the next time I head to the mall to get pants and I will make sure to repeat your advice to anyone else who will listen.

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