How I Learnt to Stop Panic Shopping for Plus Size Clothes
I was born in the 1970s, a time when fat fashion was almost non-existent. Where I grew up there was one shop to clothe my fat teenage body – Evans. They’ve come so far since the 80s and 90s, but back then everything seemed dull to my teenage mind. It was a miserable place for a youngster. I often wore my mother’s hand me downs and customised them as best I could to make them age appropriate. I couldn’t shop in the same places as my friends and sometimes I bought things I knew were too small for me just to feel included.
In the years since, choice has improved but I still panic shop in case the supply of good clothes in size fat dries up.
As a youngster I avoided Evans as much as possible, dressing in a tomboy style well into my twenties. I found it easier to walk into a clothes shop and buy a man’s shirt than to focus on the lack of feminine clothes available to me. It wasn’t until well into my twenties that the Simply Be catalogue came into my life, and with it more feminine clothes. Gladly things improved consistently over the years to the point where there’s quite a lot of choice – mainly online – for me to buy clothes to fit my fat body.
Here’s the difficulty – in my head and heart I’m still that teenage girl drowning in a sea of frumpy clothes. Every time I see something that would have delighted my 17 year old self I think “I MUST have it!” I panic shop all the time in case the bad days return.
At the beginning of this year I found myself in a state. My wardrobes were bursting and I was taking over my husband’s wardrobes too. I had so much stuff I couldn’t find anything I wanted, so I bought more. Eventually I heard about the Marie Kondo method of de-cluttering, in which you brutally cull the things which no longer bring you joy. My things weren’t making me happy – in fact the opposite was true. I didn’t have the energy to look after them or the room to store them and it was making me miserable. Since then I’ve donated more than 10 large bin bags full of clothes to charity and I feel so much better for it. I’m determined to buy less overall in future and here’s how.
By reminding myself I live in a time of plenty. Barring a zombie apocalypse there’s little chance I’ll find myself without a place to buy fun and fashionable clothes any time soon. There may not be as much choice for me as for thinner people, but I have more choice than ever before. There’s no need to rely on fear-based shopping any more.
I reassure myself that I have enough. There are so many clothes in my wardrobes I could wear something different every day for months at a time. I don’t need new clothes, I just want them. Also, hardly anything is unique and whatever I’m lusting over will come around again in the future.
The biggest realisation of all was that a ceaseless parade of new things don’t make me happy. I use shopping as a crutch to lean on when I need cheering up, but instead I need to work through my emotions. Medicating myself with things never satisfies me for long. It’s time to let go of the panic shopping embrace a less compulsive form of shopping.
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