Tuesday, May 20, 2014
The first cull was easy - bad fashion choices made for the single reason that they fit and I needed a fill-in-the clothing-item-blank. We were never close.
Then came the size 22s. I thought I primarily wore 20s and only had a few 22s. They filled two bags. Again, only passing acquaintances.
The business attire wasn't hard because I primarily work at home now and liked the idea of sharing interview clothing with the Dress for Success program. They actually need larger sizes.
Included in that bag were the self-deluded online slack, skirt and blouse purchases that came close enough to fitting that I didn't send them back. But now they are too big. In retrospect, I probably should have left the tags on.
At my end of the scale, clothing that fits OK is rare and wonderful. Clothing that looks sorta good is a treasure. When I packed the first bag of "good stuff" I drove around with it in the back of the car for a week - passing the Goodwill donation center on a daily basis. It's hard to say goodbye.
That bag did not celebrate the triumph of weight shed, but a stark and surprising fear of being on a greased high-wire with nothing to cushion the fall.
Eight years ago, I found a pair of black slacks that laundered well, hung reasonably on me and hid all but the most egregrious lumps. I bought five pair and replaced them over the years as one would milk or eggs as they ran out. When they were on sale, I'd stock up. Yes, I realized that co-workers may have thought I was wearing the same pair of slacks several times a week, but those slacks were unremarkable in all the best ways. They were the journeyman base for all those jackets, scarves and jewelery I "dressed" in. I held one pair back and apologized to the other six individually as I loaded them into that well-travelled bag.
That last black pair sits with the bunch now on the dining room table. These are my most forgiving friends --the workhorses that sometimes made me feel like I could dress like other people. That pair of denim shorts on the top of the second pile fit every season since we bought the lake cottage. They are magic.
Over the past month, my husband Charlie started dropping hints that it was "time" for this piece or that. But I laundered them and put them back in the closet. When a stylish friend of mine gently offered her "high weight" size 16 jeans I thought she was being overly optimistic, but accepted them for "down the road."
I've read hundreds of posts on bariatric support groups about big losers (in the best sense) still seeing their former selves. I thought it was bizarre. Although I'm only a medium loser at this point, it is happening to me.
The plus-sized section of most stores is a fraction of the "regular" clothing inventory. The entire spectrum of choice is reopened to me for the first time in 15 years. Two weeks ago, I filled my arms from a "normal" sales rack and dragged them into the fitting room to see if anything fit. It all did. I didn't buy a thing.
I took inventory of what I needed in transitional sizes for the summer and set out to Kohls and Steinmart to fill the list. Both times I caught myself back in the plus-size area telling myself that sometimes things run small.
Over the years, more than one "helpful" salesperson has redirected me to the fat clothes when they spotted me in the "smalls and mediums" shopping for my daughters. My inner self says there is no way they are going to let me look at the L/XL for myself.
I love the sags and bags of wearing my older clothing today. But dropping the next 50 requires letting go -- in spite of the fact that my current prescription seems to be the opposite of rose-colored glasses.
I once worked on a location shoot featuring a national media figure. She flatly dismissed all the clothing the staff selected on site as too large or too small. A quick wardrobe person cut out the size tags before sending in the next bunch and told her they were all a size smaller than the actual size.
The star emerged all smiles in the "new" selections.
I don't imagine that would work if I did it to myself.