Have you ever been “between sizes”? You know, when you’re body has changed dramatically and all of a sudden your closet is either a little too snug or a little too loose? Buying all new clothes can be daunting; one because of the price tag, and two because of the size tag.
But being comfortable in your clothes is not only healthy physically but also healthy emotionally. Just because it gets on your body and zips up doesn’t mean it “fits”. Clothing that is too tight or too loose can increase your self-conscious feelings towards your body. Keeping those jeans around from two years ago as a goal to fit into someday is simply telling your body it’s not good enough the way it is right now. And maybe that’s how you truly feel (we can go into respecting your body as it is another time), however you can do a lot for your self confidence by simply buying clothing that fits.
After having my baby, I got caught in the “between sizes” mentality. I found myself either wearing my maternity clothes, which were baggy in areas (like the belly, haha), or wearing pre-pregnancy clothing that pinched my arms, showed off my now empty belly sack a little too clearly, or left a red indented ring around my torso. Some of my nicer fitted clothing didn’t even zip all the way anymore due to an expanded rib cage and larger chest, so a lot of my favorite dresses were replaced with maxi skirts and loose fitting maternity/nursing tops. Needless to say, I felt like my personal fashion went out the window.
Now, obviously right after having a baby there’s a period of time where your belly slowly shrinks back down. So for awhile, this limbo is kinda necessary. But if you’re like me, and many other women, even after your uterus has contracted back to normal size, your body will be completely different from your pre-pregnancy self. And the limbo still persists.
While my uterus finished contracting, my mom bought me a “tent” to wear since anything with a waist hurt my c section scar. What my family and friends lovingly called the “tent” was a long, loose nightgown type dress of brightly covered fabric. Basically just a long sheet of cloth folded in half and sewed together to make side seems with a head hole cut in the top. While this garment was quite comfortable to wear while I was confined to my home recovering, it’s not exactly what’d I’d consider appropriate for public wear.
So despite short term solutions, there was no way I was going to be comfortable in my new body long term.
I went shopping!
It was quite the learning curve. I had to figure out what cuts and shapes looked good on my new curves. There are things I can pull off now, like a peplum top, that I could not pull off pre-pregnancy. And vice versa. Through my exploration (a lot with the help of my amazing mom!) I discovered my new body shape and size wasn’t necessarily less attractive than my pre-pregnancy bod. Sure, I miss my slighter waist and more manageable chest… All the time! However, it’s exciting that I can try new styles I didn’t like on myself before! For example, I have a flatter “mom bootie” now, which means I can get away with tighter fit bottoms. While a-line was the way to go before, a whole new world of straight skirts has opened up to me! I haven’t yet discovered my new go-to dress style, but it’s fun to keep exploring. And when I buy the right size, I feel comfortable and cute!
Here’s a before and after:
Trying to fit into clothing that is too small is not only painful, but can actually make you look heavier by squeezing things you don’t want squeezed. Dressing your size creates a clean look, helping you look like you OWN your shape/size.
Wearing clothing that is too large or baggy can make you feel like you’re drowning in cloth, like you’re unnoticeable in a sea of camoflouge.
Now, too small and too large are not to be confused with a tight fit or a loose fit. That is a fashion choice. But if you want to make that choice, you have to start by being open to go up or down a size so that the garment falls on you the way you want –instead of settling for something already in your closet and trying to make it work as a style it wasn’t meant to be.
Now, I am a long way from having what I would think of as “healthy body image.” But I have overcome the “in between sizes” dilemma. I have some new post-pregnancy clothes in my closet that I love. I feel confidant wearing them, and most importantly, I’m comfortable wearing them: physically and emotionally.
For some more examples of the empowering effect of dressing your size, watch this awesome buzzfeed video. I heart it.
Shoutout to my mom for helping ease the crazy post-partum transition! I love you mom 🙂