by Golda Poretsky, HHC
I had a really awesome day yesterday. I had brunch with a friend, then was interviewed for a really cool blog (more on that to come) and then I returned 3 of the 4 things I had ordered from Macy’s and got a dress that I actually liked.
I probably spend as much time returning as I do shopping. And that’s because I won’t settle for clothes that are just okay. I’d rather have a nearly bare closet with a few clothes that I really love than a closet filled with stuff that’s okay or acceptable.
Acceptable, when it comes to clothes, is just not good enough.
I used to just buy stuff that fit and was appropriate for whatever I was doing. When I was a student, I pretty much wore jeans and black tops all the time. For work I’d just wear pants and sweater sets. I just wanted to be appropriate, to blend in, to not stand out.
I never really thought about wearing clothes that made me feel really good, and I had a limited notion of what I could wear. Then, in 2006, I just decided to try dresses. Maybe it was because I saw someone with my shape do it on What Not To Wear, or maybe I just got sick of my “work uniform” as I called it. But I started to experiment with dresses, and I found that I actually liked wearing them. I had worried that I would either look too frumpy or too sexy, I worried about not being appropriate, I worried that my legs were the wrong shape, that I didn’t have enough hips to pull it off, etc. etc.
But in the end, I liked wearing dresses. I liked that if I went out after work that I liked what I was wearing. I felt sexier, I felt more attractive, and I started to like my body more.
I think it’s a mistake to divorce body image from clothing. It’s true that the more you like your body, the more you’re going to like more kinds of clothes on your body, but it works the other way around too. The more you like your clothes, the more excited you are to step out your door in the morning, and the more you’re going to enjoy having the body that you have right now.
If you’re waiting to lose X number of pounds before you buy clothes, stop waiting. If you’re waiting to love your body more before you buy new clothes, stop waiting.
Even if you have only a small budget or no budget for clothes, you can start to change your wardrobe and get pieces that you like. Here are my top 8 suggestions for creating a wardrobe you love!
1) Go Through Your Closet — Pull out everything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t look good, doesn’t turn you on. Make 3 piles — (1) things that are falling apart, (2) clothes that are still in good shape but probably don’t have much resale value, (3) anything that still has tags, was only worn once, or was more expensive to start with. Throw out pile #1, donate pile #2, and as for pile #3…
2) Sell Stuff With Resale Value — If you have a consignment shop like Re/Dress NYC near you, you’re golden. Go there and get your store credit! If not, you’d be surprised at what sells well on Ebay. Start the bidding low and see what happens. Even if you sell something for $20 that you bought for $80, that $20 will do you more good than having that item taking up real estate in your closet.
3) Have, Go To, Or Create A Clothing Swap — If you have similarly sized friends, have a clothing swap party. Bring pile #3, get down to your skivvies and try on each other’s clothes. This is a fun and free way to get new clothes and have the satisfaction of seeing your clothes go to someone who will love them!
4) Return Stuff You’re Not In Love With — If it still has tags and you still have the receipt, certain stores will take that stuff back even a year later. Most stores will give you store credit for items with tags even if you don’t have the receipt. (And again, even if it’s less than what you paid for it, you’re still getting credit that you can use for new stuff!)
5) Buy Off Season — I’ve bought winter coats in August and and sandals in November. I just bought a spring/summer dress on clearance at the Avenue for about $10, and I’m already wearing it with sweaters. It’s true that you don”t always get the satisfaction of wearing these things right away, but if you love them when you buy them you will likely love them later.
6) Coupons Are Your Friend — I may be preaching to the choir here, but before you order anything online, always google the store and “coupon code” or “promo code.” Free shipping, percentages off… it’s all there to be googled!
7) If You Don’t Like Shopping, Shop With A Body Positive Friend — Shopping is so much more fun when you have a friend who is supportive and loves to shop. If you have one of these friends, don’t be afraid to ask him/her for advice and bring him/her with you!
8) You Need A Shopping Mantra — You must use a body positive mantra when you shop. Here are some of my favorites:
When Nothing Is Fitting Correctly: “It’s not me, it’s the clothes!”
When You’re Feeling Disapproving Of Your Body: “I have a gorgeous, fabulous body!”
When You’re Shopping For A Particular Event: “I always find the most perfect outfit no matter what the occasion.”
If you try these tips, you will start feeling better about your body. So let me know what you tried, or share some of your favorite tips in the comments!
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.
(Listen to this post here, or subscribe on itunes.)