When I think back to what my life was like at my heaviest weight, an image comes to mind—a size 18-20 pair of brown, work slacks. For me, those pants seem to symbolize the most depressing aspects of being so heavily overweight; the ill-fitting cut, boring, non-descript color, and the cheap, flimsy material all are all reminders of the bleak life I led when I moved to Richmond. I was massively overweight, insecure, and broke.
I remember that I bought the pants in a moment of desperation in the fall of 2009, when I hadn’t done laundry in weeks and was desperate for a pair of clean, fitted pants. I went to the Lane Bryant, ten minutes from my house--that haven for plus-sized women where I figured that I could find a pair of pants that fit my chunky body. Except that I couldn’t.
I tried all the styles, and yet I couldn’t find a pair of pants that fit snugly over my stomach, hips, and thighs. Either the waistband was too tight, or the pants ballooned over my legs. It was a disaster. I remember walking out in front of the salespeople, twirling around, and seeing the confused looks on their faces. What possible style could fit my 5’5’’ body, carrying an additional 90lbs on its frame?
In the end, I ended up with a pair of too-long, brown slacks that fit too snugly around my waist and bagged out over my butt and thighs. I remember handing my credit card over to the salesperson and sighing with frustration—I guess this was the best I could do.
Here’s a photo of the pants:
I wore those ugly, brown pants throughout the fall and winter months of 2009-2010, usually paired with a baggy black shirt and my scruffy black loafers. I hardly ever wore make-up and my hair was a dull, washed out shade of brown. Needless to say, this was not a particularly pretty period of my life. Occasionally, I’d notice other women with flattering, stylish outfits--women who dared to tight dresses, leggings, and high heels. But when I went shopping and tried on louder, more exciting outfits, I was horrified by the rolls of my stomach, the fat hanging from my arms, the wide expanse of my thighs. The dark, looser clothing seemed to hide the flaws of my body, or so I thought at the time. I had temper tantrums and crying fits in dressing rooms, as the three way mirrors mercilessly showed me the person I had become.
As soon—and I mean AS SOON—as I started to lose weight, I packed my dreaded dark clothes away in boxes and started wearing brighter shades of clothing. At first, I was super self-conscious, but after a while, I started to gain the confidence to wear clothes that hugged my imperfect figure and colors/ patterns that demanded attention. I put highlights in my hair (as you are aware, coloring my hair has been a major dilemma in my life, haha). I remember the first time I wore striped, sexy stockings to work. At first, people commented on my fashion changes—after all, I’d gone from dressing like a middle-aged person to dressing like a 20-something (or on my less fortunate days--a teenager, haha). But then after a while, they stopped noticing my clothing choices, just as they adjusted to my 60 pound weight loss.
Now this is not to say that my fashion sense has necessarily improved over the year. But for the first time, I feel that I have a sense of my own particular style. I own funky sunglasses, hippy dresses, artsy t-shirts, and tight jeans (that fit over my stomach and thighs, thank goodness). Now that I’m not so preoccupied with hiding my body, I can focus on wearing clothes that I like. Throwing out that pair of brown pants was one of my most liberating experiences as a result of my weight loss. Of course, in retrospect, I could have thrown them out at any time ;)
Do you have any items of clothing that symbolize your low self esteem at your highest weight? And, if you have gotten rid of the clothing, what compelled you to dispose of it?