I remember I wanted nothing more than to have a pair of Guess jeans in 7th grade. I'm quite certain it would have solved all my pubescent problems and probably brought world peace. Alas, it was not mean to be. I couldn't fit into them. I was able to hold my head up a little higher when I managed to squeeze into a pair of Palmettos, though. Thank you, Baby Jesus.
I can afford more now. I can shop in most stores. (I still flip 5.7.9. the bird when I walk by, though) I usually have a little more time and patience when I go to the mall. But most shopping trips still end up with me two steps closer to Xanax than I was before. This reminds me - I need to go shopping this week. Thank God the Mall of America serves alcohol.
Despite all of that, I have always tried to look my best. Even at 300 pounds I took pride in my appearance and tried to take care of myself. And along the way I have learned a few "rules" for myself that I think most women, thick or thin, could benefit from.
Jeans: I'm starting with the big one. Jeans are the bane of my existence. Nothing looks better than a great fitting pair of denim. And nothing is more elusive. My mother dreaded taking me jeans shopping every Fall for school. I still hate it. Thank God for websites like PZI Jeans and Little In The Middle.
Not only is it hard to find jeans that fit well but now you have to worry about a whole slew of issues that you didn't worry about before. Should I wear skinny jeans? How far apart should my pockets be? Which rise? Pocket flaps? Colored or metallic denim? Rhinestones? Mom jeans? This is what I know.
Just because Skinny jeans come in your size, it does NOT mean you should wear them. Skinny jeans would look exactly like sausage casing on my thighs, and not in a good sausage-loving way. I just can't do it. And I see all the young girls these days trying to squeeze into the most unflattering style of jeans known to man just to keep up with their skinny friends and it makes me sad. Know your limits and work with what you got.
And I see you jeggings. I'm not falling for it.
Pocket flaps and pocket spacing - do your homework on the spacing. Too much space is a sure fire way to get a Wide Load sign tacked to your butt. And if you are lacking in the way of extra padding on your ass and you want to add the illusion of shape, by all means add some flaps and glitter. If you come with an extra helping - skip it.
Speaking of glitter, I was once lamenting to a male friend of mine how hard it is to find jeans to fit my shape. He suggested I try Apple Bottoms. I had already looked at their website and saw that most of their styles were altogether too skinny and bedazzled for my taste but I kept an open mind. Until I saw them at the mall on a sister who had a lot going on. Make no mistake - she was gorgeous and put together. But she was thick. A whole lotta thick. Have you seen the sparkly little fruit-shaped Apple Bottom logo on the back pockets of their jeans? Well, these were more like dinner-plate sized pumpkins instead. I have no desire to wear rhinestoned winter squash on my rear end, which is sure to be my fate. No thank you.
Stick with dark denim. Too much whiskering and fading on your largest parts will make you look, well, large. Buy boot leg and straight leg. Fit is everything and remember a lot of department stores will do free alterations if the fit isn't exactly right.
Bras: Most women are wearing the wrong bra size. Trust me on this. Your band is too big and your cup is too small. A good fitting bra will make all your clothes fit better and will make you look thinner. I promise. Run to the mall and get fitted if you need to but if they try to measure you and then do that "add 3" rule" you better high tail it out there. Unless you want to fall out the bottom of your bra at an inopportune time.
Signs you have the wrong size:
- You have indentations in your shoulders (your band should do all the work, not the straps)
- Your band rides up in the back
- Your cups overfloweth until it looks like you have 4 boobs instead of 2
- Your cups are looking sad and empty
Foundation Garments: Smoothers. Girdles. Gut Suckers. Spanx. Use them when necessary. But beware.
I love the scene in Steel Magnolias (I'm convinced everything you need to know in life is found in this movie) where Truvy and Clairee are watching a woman dance at the wedding reception and Clairee says, "Looks like two pigs fightin' under a blanket." Been there, done that. Truvy says, "I haven't left the house without Lycra on these thighs since I was 14." Clairee: "You were brought up right".
Once I had to explain to a male friend of mine (the same one with the Apple Bottoms - hmmm) that Spanx were not just another cut of women's panties like thongs, boyshorts and cheekies. He was devastated to find out that the sexiest sounding pair of drawers available were the least sexy thing imaginable. Though if I could find a well fitting, Lycra-having, roll-smoothing thong with plenty of coverage in the front, I would probably give my firstborn to own a couple pairs.
I love me some Spanx. I really do. Sara Blakely deserves to be the youngest self-made female billionare. But I have some issues with them. Maybe it's just me.
The Higher Power Panties are a great idea. Why smooth only from your waist down when you can batten down the hatches all the way to your bust line? Herein is where the problem lies. One false move, one extra piece of wedding cake and there is no higher power available to keep those things from rolling down. Do you remember those roller shades that you had to give a tug to and then they would roll up at the speed of light with that obnoxious sound. Yeah, just like that. Except now they are at your belly button.
They also promise to not show at your thighs. Perhaps there is something wrong with my thighs because I have been victim to an inverted "muffin-top-o-the-thighs" many, many times. Just do a test run before you go out and make sure that your foundation garments don't show. Comfort? Not a consideration. We all know you aren't going to be comfortable in a gut sucker. But at least have the decency to pretend to be svelte, smooth and line free.
General tips: These are just some various rules that I live by when shopping or going out. Take what you want, leave the rest.
- If you have your Great Grandmother's cankles or short, stubby legs like me don't buy shoes with ankle straps. I don't care how sexy they are. Your fat ankle does NOT need a belt. It will only make you look more cankley. (new word of the day)
- Sexy doesn't mean show as much skin as you can or wear it as tight as possible. Sexy is well fitting and figure flattering.
- If you are past the age of 24 months, do not put words on your rear end. Not Juicy, not Pink. Nothing. The day you see me wearing a sign on my butt is the day I've found a way to lease it out for advertising space. They will pay me in cold hard cash and I will charge them up the... well, you get the point. Don't do it. You're a grown up. Let your ass speak for itself.
- When in doubt, go with a mid-rise. Didn't your mama tell you never to show your crack in public? Seriously, very few of you can rock a low-rise and keep your modesty. I know I can't.
- Bigger, baggy clothes do not hide what you hate about your body or that you're rocking some major stuffing bloat from Thanksgiving. They will only serve to make you feel frumpy and unattractive while giving all your secrets away. Just find clothes that fit right and make you feel good.
In the end, the only thing that matters is how you feel about how you look. Wear something that makes you feel sexy and confident and you will always look beautiful. It's all in the attitude. Confucius said, "Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it." Though lets not get carried away now. Even Confucius wouldn't like Crocs.
Leave a comment and share some of your "rules". We have to stick together so no one ever says about us, "Oh that poor girl - she doesn't have any friends! If she did they wouldn't let her go out looking like that." Help a sister out here!