mental health

How to Shop & Not Hate Yourself

If you have never had any self-esteem issues while shopping for clothes,

you’re lying.

I never tried on clothes; I hated seeing the way garments would struggle to fit over my frame, or how they would hug all the wrong curves (update: there are no wrong curves; let it go). As I got further and further into recovery, and deeper into my shopping, addiction, I was able to come up with 5 ways to make shopping a less-destructive hobby, including a way to make less trips back to the store when something didn’t fit in the comfort of your living room #science

1 – Racks on Racks

I can’t take credit for this one – my sister taught me. Instead of mulling over whether or not something would look good on you, just take it. I had an idea in mind of what kind of wedding dress I would look good in and let me tell you, the one I landed on looked NOTHING like what I thought – if even the smallest part of you thinks something is cute, grab it (or hand it to your shopping buddy to hold for you).

2 – Look vs. Feel

As I mentioned above, it can be completely detrimental to watch yourself try on an item that you KNOW isn’t going to fit the second you get it over your head. Instead, face AWAY from the mirror until you get dressed. Get the garment on, move around and see how it FEELS on you because TRUST ME, if it doesn’t feel good, nothing else matters. If it feels good, turn around and see how it looks; if it doesn’t feel good, take it off and avoid the lowering of your self-esteem when it is not necessary (it’s like “more fish in the sea” but instead of men, it’s blouses).

3 – Not every shopping trip has to be some massive excursion

There is not one trip to the mall that I do not see a gaggle of high school girls surrounding their leader to gush about how something looks on her (whether or not it actually does look okay). Not every shopping trip has to be some great event – it’s okay to go shopping alone. I like to head out to the mall by myself, take my time, really focus on what I believe looks and feels good on me, and purchase as many Starbucks as I want without someone judging me.

Another option is to go with someone that you KNOW will be honest with you (I have a Sami, a Kelsey, a mama and a Talia for that).

4 – Don’t believe the (mirror) hype

Ah yes, the dressing room mirrors; angled ever so perfectly to make you look incredibly tall and thin in every piece of clothing you throw on your body. This is another reason trying things on BEFORE looking in the mirror is helpful. Have you ever purchased something that you loved in the store, and gotten home to suddenly realize you should not be allowed to make your own decisions? IT’S THE MIRRORS PEOPLE! Don’t let them get to you, and know that you are PERFECT the way you are, tall and thin or short and whatever your body type may be. (looking at you Abercrombie, GTFO)

5 – Size is just a number (literally)

I am a HUGE bargain hunter – I would rather take $100 and go to Marshall’s or Clothes Mentor than head to a department store to purchase one sweater. That being said, it’s important to know that all brands and styles are made differently. I walked into JCPenney and purchased three new pairs of pants – a 4, a 6 and an 8. Literally all the same brand, just different styles; they all fit. I also learned that dark jeans fit tighter than light jeans when you first try them on (which has since lead Sami and I to dub ourselves a size “Shmedium” at Maurices). I KNOW that it’s easier said than done but I PROMISE, size really is just a number (and if you need something even more ridiculous, I also have jeans in a size 26, 27 AND 28. These jeans are supposed to literally be the size of your waist in inches, and yet even THOSE jeans differ!!!!)

Now that you know all of the secrets of the way diet culture has spread into our precious shopping time, I hope that you will remember at least ONE of the above tips next time you go shopping. And if none of them work, there’s always Amazon.

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