A few minutes ago I was skipping around the house wearing a new frock and singing, to the tune of ‘I kissed a girl’, “I bought a dress, and I like it, la la la la la la la”, (songwriting is not my forte).
This is a more momentous event than you might think. I used to wear skirts and dresses for work, then I had my second child and took a few years off to be a ‘full-time mum’, I developed my own, very practical, uniform of jeans and tops, (t-shirts in warmer weather, jumpers in the winter), and that’s what I’ve worn, all the time, for the last fourteen years.
I’m currently trying to lose weight but at the moment I’m a size 14 on the top and a 14/16 on the bottom. Whatever size I am, and in the past I’ve been everything from a 10 to an 18, I will always have proportionally small boobs but a big bum and thighs, that’s the shape I am. I am ridiculously self-conscious about my shape and have a habit of wearing tent shaped tops thinking that I can hide my lumps and bumps if nothing is clinging to them, (I know, I know, it doesn’t work), this is why my wardrobe goes up to a size 22. On particularly self-hating days I will pick the largest item in the shop and buy it without trying it on, thinking to myself sulkily “it’s huge, surely it will fit”. I am a terrible shopper, I get more and more despondent and normally end up buying something, anything, else other than clothes, be it a handbag, shoes, even a pair of glasses on one occasion, (from one of those one hour places).
I was talking to friends last night and mentioned that I’d quite like to wear something other than jeans sometimes. Their reaction, enthusiastic encouragement, made me feel pretty bad about what I wear at the moment, I know that I’ve ‘let myself go’ over the years and in my mind I twisted their enthusiasm into confirmation that other people think that too.
I wasn’t terribly sociable last night, deep in thought about my appearance, (yeah, yeah, I know, I am that shallow), and I left feeling quite down about myself, (it doesn’t take much).
This morning I decided to start doing something about it, so I put some money in my purse and went to town. I was determined to buy either a dress or a skirt/top combo.
The first two I tried on were disasters, size 16 they were too big around my shoulders and bust, but horribly clingy around my stomach, bum and legs. I felt fat, ugly….. just horrid.
I left the shop in a mood of pure self-loathing and stomped off down the High Street. Normally at that point I’d have given up, probably bought myself something hugely calorific to console myself and gone home to sulk. Today I decided that wasn’t going to happen. The search went on. The next couple of shops had nothing I even wanted to try on. Weston probably wasn’t the best place to attempt a mission of this nature really, we’re not exactly blessed with a plethora of clothes shops and of those we do have several are ruled out as I’m not 18 years old anymore.
Getting more and more miserable I entered the final shop, and then I saw it, a dress that I liked… liked a lot. Not plain, but not too brightly coloured, (it has a black background and lots of burnt orange and red colours in the pattern). Still in a mood I picked up a size 14 and a 16, convinced neither would fit, preparing myself for further self-hatred when I looked in the mirror.
I decided to try the 14 on to start with, get that first disappointment out of the way, then realised that….it fitted…..it felt really nice…..dare I look in the mirror? I dared. I think it even looked quite nice. I thought maybe I should just try the 16… it didn’t feel right and it didn’t look right, so not only had I found a dress that I liked, but it was the smaller of the two sizing options, (most women will understand how that feels).
I took the dress to the till, and actually shook as I took out my money. It’s so different from my normal way of dressing, I can’t explain how I was feeling, sort of excited, elated that I’d found something, but also nervous, what if it doesn’t look how it feels, how I think it looks, what if people point and laugh?
The dress is about knee-length. I decided to buy some footless tights to wear with it, they promise on the packet to be ‘all over slimming’, I’m not convinced but they feel comfortable.
I tried on the complete outfit once I got home, almost sure I was going to think “oh, actually, it’s horrible”. I still like it, it still fitted, it still felt really nice.
“I bought a dress and I like it, la la la la la la la”
Of course the next step is to actually wear it, that might happen one day