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TW: This article contains brief mention of disordered eating.
My first clothing haul with ASOS didn’t go as planned. I found myself thrown into some serious haul disappointment paired with body shame.
Its been a long time since I’ve been able to get my fix from shopping online and buying myself some killer new threads. Mostly because I spent the last two years busting my ass getting my Bachelors of social work, having an internship, needing multiple part time jobs, and then maintaining a 9-5 in the field while learning how to be an adult and budget. (hint: its not fun and no one is perfect at it at first…).
But I can’t blame it all on lack of funds. I’ve also shied away from online shopping for clothing because well, if you’re a plus size shopper, you know the anxiety around that moment of finding out whether or not your items fit. It can get real discouraging to constantly spend money on clothes that never end up fitting. I didn’t want to continuously be reminded that my body was evolving, or rather, growing. My bumps, curves, and rolls were changing shape and size. The unpredictability of online shopping is terrifying and had proven not to go well. I was over it.
Not actually over it. Just passive aggressively over it.
Situations change though, ya know? I had the privilege of being able to shop at ASOS for the first time ever recently! I was so excited. I’d been eyeing ASOS for a long time. Their Men’s section is my aesthetic GOALS. I really don’t know how to describe styles, since I’m new to this whole “writing about fashion” thing. But I love me a “crisp casual bro with a hint of femininity” look.
I ordered quite a few pieces. 5 shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 1 bomber jacket, and a 2 pack of undershirts. Unfortunately, ASOS didn’t have any pants or shorts in my size. No worries though, I was in dire need of some casual shirts anyway. So, bring it on! I was actually looking forward to checking the mail everyday like when I was a kid expecting a gift.
Check me out!
My partner and I dressed up and went out to take some studly photos once our clothing came in the mail. You’ll see below I’ve got that palm tree tee and a navy bomber jacket on. The joggers were a pair I’d already had, along with those sunnies that make me feel like a badass.
The tee and the bomber were the only items that fit.
And even using the word “fit” is kind. Just in case you’re wondering, I do know what size I wear. I’m a 5x/6x in Men’s tops and a 28/30 in Women’s jeans. And I’d say I’m generous and tend to size up on my online orders just to be safe. “I’d rather it be too big than not fit at all!” That’s always been my motto. Which still sucks because it severely limits my options.
So I ordered up as best I could. Barely anything fit.
Do you know what it is like to be reminded that stores really don’t care about you? If you’re able to hit up the mall and shop in-store at places like Old Navy, Target, and JCPenney…you probably don’t know the feeling I’m talking about.
You have to wait until you’re in the right mood; the most courageous mood, to try on those clothes you ordered. You ordered them online because the sizes in store ended about two sizes too small.
You make sure you’re trying them on when your body feels okay…not right after you eat because you don’t want to feel bloated. Queue the disordered eating feels. “If I skip a few meals maybe these will fit better…”
You do it alone; you don’t want anyone to see your disappointment as you try and squeeze in.
Slowly pulling the jeans up, breathing deeply. Nervous. Scared even. Wiggling, sucking in, hoping you can stuff your rolls in some hidden pocket. Accompanied by whines, gasps, and groans. Here come the tears.
They barely come up past your thighs. You force them up and realize there’s no way they’re going to button and zip.
But instead of blaming the stores, inaccessibility, and lack of universal sizing…you blame yourself. The world blames you, anyway right? “Maybe I’ll just hang onto these for one day when I lose weight…”
You throw them in the closet in that same section that holds the various items you’re saving for when you shrink yourself. Toss on your sweats and your hoodie. At least those fit, even if it does end up making you feel like a slob. That’s how the world sees fatties in baggy, comfortable clothing, right?
What message are we supposed to gain from that kind of experience? It tells us that we aren’t good enough for clothing that fits well and makes us feel good. We are shamed into wearing clothing that pinpoints us as lazy, gross, and undesirable so that we will feel obligated to change.
But accessible clothing is the bare fucking minimum.
The thing about us fatties is that we endure some of the most pervasive ridicule and discrimination, especially when we have multiple intersections of oppressed identities. And still, we are resilient. We challenge beauty standards. When the world knocks us on our big fat asses, we get right back up. We change the shameful narrative over and over again in our heads to a positive one.
And so will I. My super-fat body is beautiful; it carries a loving, tender soul with a killer sense of humor. My big fat arms embrace the most incredible woman on the planet as we lay in bed together every night. My super-fat body creates, inspires, and teaches. Companies like to pretend we don’t exist. As if there aren’t a lot of us out there. No need to prioritize such a small population, right? Well, guess what? We’re fucking out there. Make us some damn sexy ass clothing. We’re not hiding ourselves away anymore.