Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Trust me, the fitting room definitely hasn’t always been a great experience for me. In fact, I have hated it so much that I would just rather guess if something would fit or not than go into the dreaded room. I mean, those lights are just SO BRIGHT that you see every little flaw and then you have to hand back everything that didn’t work to the poor people folding piles and piles of clothes and the whole thing just made me so anxious. And I hated that they probably saw how bright my face was after the struggling and pulling and stretching that had to happen to try to fit into things.
It turns out the thing was that I was focusing on the negatives of the fitting room. I would see that out of the 10 things I brought in, yes one did fit and that was great, but nine other things didn’t fit and it must have been because I was too fat or too tall or too not enough for the clothes.
I let that fact lower my self worth. There must be something wrong with me. I looked horrible. Why couldn’t I get those pants up?!
Well the first reason they didn’t fit is vanity sizing. It is so easy to forget that a size 10 in one store is a size 6 in another is a size 14 in another. I mean, of course it would be great if every single clothing company could just use the same sizing system. Unfortunately, they don’t. So the first thing I had to do was to learn that the number doesn’t matter.
The second lesson I had to learn was that just because something didn’t look great doesn’t mean that I don’t look great. Of course clothing covers up our body, and therefore easily becomes and extension of who we are. Because of that, it is easy to feel like because there is something wrong with that dress we loved means there is something wrong with us. I had to remember that the clothes don’t make the body—the body makes the clothes.
These lessons were learned through many years of sweat and tears—totally not an exaggeration—and have changed how I experience the fitting room. Now I celebrate what fits and accentuates my body instead of focusing on the items that didn’t work. Now I am excited to try things on because they definitely look different on the hanger than they do on my body. Now I don’t force anything to fit that just won’t and instead, grab that larger size without shame. It’s really all in perspective and once you have it, you, too can love the fitting room.