The young woman at Forever 21 gave a half smile. “We don’t go up to size 15.”
She seemed like she had been asked that a few times and I tried not to judge her as harshly as I felt she judged me. I thanked her for making me feel like a baby elephant and followed Noah out of the store. When we left I said, “Wow.” He nodded in agreement.
That was just one store I visited during OPERATION: FOREVER IN BLUE JEANS (that’s what I called it.) Noah called it, “milling around the women’s section of H&M without looking like a creeper.” I decided to find more jeans because mine were getting tighter and were accruing holes in embarrassing places. Yes, I’ve gained weight and I’m coming out my clothes!
I also decided to grow wider gracefully. I would swap my size 14 jeans for something roomier. I’d rather look better in clothes that fit and give myself time to get my life and diet together to lose those extra pounds in my thighs.
Speaking of thighs, they were the biggest hurdle. In the Target fitting room, I tugged a size 15 up my calf. MY CALF! When I eventually got them up and on, they looked ridiculous. NOTE: The most defeating thing about trying on clothes is having to giving the large stack to the fitting room attendant. We all know why you won’t be taking any of these assorted sizes of pants.
I heaved a sigh of disappointment as I handed the older lady my five pairs of jeans.
“It’s a no go,” I told her.
She gave me a conspiratory wink and whispered: “No one can wear these pants. I get complaints ALL the time from women who think they’re a size 12. Well, these 12’s are more like 10’s.”
I thanked her for the heads up and felt a little better about myself.
At the mall, Old Navy had an assortment of sizes and curvy fittings, but lacked tall women’s jeans. Aeropostale had a sale, but the store makes me extremely anxious with it’s teenage girl population and loud music. And why won’t anyone turn the fucking lights on at Hollister?! I just know that once I step foot inside, I’ll get date-raped.
OPERATION: FOREVER IN BLUE JEANS was not an epic failure. I went to the good ole standby JC Penney and found some reasonably priced Arizona brand jeans. They were a 15 Long in boot cut and skinny (both, made my ass look fantastic).
I’ve recounted this experience for you because, for some women, there is nothing more traumatizing than shopping for pants. In the past, when I couldn’t fit into a pair of pants, I would make up for it by buying a new shirt or pair of shoes. Those items are more manageable and can make you feel better. Temporarily. Then you wake up to a closet full of tops, shoes and no pants.
I tried confronting my discomfort and possible shame by making myself go to the fitting room. All too often, women skip the fitting room and wait to get home to see the mistake they made. It’s unreasonable to have drive back to the store and return things if you don’t have to. Face it head on.
It doesn’t make you feel good, no, but you have to push through this feeling. There are a lot less size 0 women walking around here than you think. If you’re larger than this falsely perceived “average”, don’t be so down on yourself. Check out how these women stack up:
I’m not promoting one product or brand over another here, but I’m happy to see that the beautiful and fit women of the bottom image look similar to me. I bet you a lot of money that if they’re brave enough to bare it all with so much pride, they can probably search for jeans too. And you can too!