Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shopping for Summer Clothes

I went out shopping tonight for summer clothes. I had a specific plan: 1 black pair of capris and three shirts. I needed at least those minimum clothes to get through a family trip to California this weekend.

My current clothing situation is pitiful. I do have two pair of pants for work that are okay and I have a couple of shirts. Everything else is too big. Just like wearing clothes that are too small, wearing clothes that are too big is uncomfortable. I'm constantly adjusting clothes and feeling less than my best. I went shopping a month ago and came away with one shirt. That one shirt at least made me feel better but truly the situation has gotten desperate again. I knew that I would be uncomfortable on this trip unless I had some clothes that were appropriately summery and fit well.

So, in my typical fashion, I left it all to the last minute. I had about an hour and a half to accomplish my purchase of three shirts and a pair of capris. First, I went to one side of town and hit a department store that I like. I could see like the last time that I was there that it was likely going to be slim pickings for me. I guess this assessment made me brave. I had to try anything that looked even reasonable.

I approached a rack of clothes that had tan and black capris. The largest size was a 20. I really have no idea what size I am right now but I didn't believe it was anywhere near a 20. But with a load of gall and bit of arrogance I picked up the size 20. It couldn't hurt to try, right? At least it would give me a benchmark to assess my current size. I grabbed another pair of pants in a size 20 and then found some capris in size 24 and a few shirts. All of these I took to the dressing room and proceeded to try on.

The size 24 capris fit fine and were a bit roomy. Okay, that was positive. One of the shirts was a possibility. Then I reached for the other black capris. I put these on and as I slid them up and over my hips I thought "You have a lot of gall to try this size, girlie. Like they would ever fit."

Shock and awe when they did. They fit! My word, was I reading the label correctly? Was I actually wearing a size 20? Was it possible that I wasn't completely insane to have picked them up off the rack? Was this really happening to me?

I took off the black capris and tried on the size 20 blue slacks. Again, success! Again, I was fitting into a pair of pants that just moments ago I was mocking myself for even pulling off the rack. I could not believe it.

Of course, the rationalization started after that. This was a department store and I bet the sizes ran a bit large. It was likely a rather big fluke that I was fitting into a size 20. These particular pants were probably just cut generously. Who was I kidding to believe that I might actually be wearing a size 20?

But time was running out. So, after trying on a few more things, I raced up to the cash register and paid for the black size 20 capris and a shirt. Total purchase? $79. (Those capris were $45!) Then I headed to the other side of town to the other mall. I had about a half an hour and I was hoping to find at least one or two other shirts.

I hit the other "fat" store that I have frequented throughout my years of obesity and I realized with distinct sense of distaste that I just hated their clothes for the most part. They are cheaply cut, cheaply made and often too wild for my sense of style. Fortunately, I found a store right next door that was newer that I had not noticed before and also sold up to size 24. I raced through that store and tried on a few shirts and left without a purchase. Then I remembered the department store just a few doors down had a section that held promise for me a few months ago. This is the section of most department stores that they call the "Woman's" section and they run sizes 14-24. Like anyone in the store who doesn't wear a size 14-24 is not a woman?

I had fifteen minutes left and I still needed a shirt. I raced through the department store and found a few possibilities as well as another pair of dark brown capris. I quickly tried everything on and decided hastily on the capris. If I raced back to the newer store before they closed, I could buy a shirt that I halfway liked to go with the capris. Total cost of capris? $25.

I made it to the newer store with just three minutes to spare before closing. I tried on the shirt that I halfway liked and realized that what I didn't like about it was the sleeve length. Fortunately the saleswoman found another option with longer sleeves (my upper arms are one of the areas that needs the most camouflage) and I again quickly decided on two shirts in that style. Total cost for two shirts? $25.

In less than an hour and a half I had hit four stores, spent $130, and came away with three shirts and two pair of capris.

I was going to be well-attired for my little jaunt down to southern California. And I at least had made a dent in a realistic summer wardrobe for myself.

In the last store, I put on the dark brown capris I had purchased and just left them on. Then I ran to the grocery store. The shirt that I had been wearing that day was two to three sizes too large for me and after my successful shopping trip, I just couldn't stand to wear it any longer. So, when I parked at the grocery store, I hopped into the back seat (tinted windows there) and pulled out one of my new shirts and changed. Then I nearly skipped out of the car feeling cute and summery and smaller than I have felt in a long, long time.

It certainly made grocery shopping a perky experience.

All in all a great night. One that has left me feeling very grateful. Despite what I perceive as the slowness of this weight loss an experience like that reminds me that my body is responding enthusiastically to the six-month long change.

And I grow more and more grateful for that evidence each and every day.

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