I have a very interesting experience with body image, I think. When I was a teenager, I lost a bunch of weight and it stayed off for quite some time. I was a size 8 at my smallest and I had little interest in food, often giving away my lunch food or throwing it in the bin. I didn’t *feel* hungry, and I didn’t see food as particularly necessary.
Fast forward to my adult life and oh boy have the tables turned. I LOVE food, especially food that isn’t all that good for me. Some might say I am a carb queen (mostly me but it’s 100% true), and food has gone from being an inconvenience to a great love, completely bypassing the sensible part of that scale where you consider food to be nice but also necessary to fuel your body.
Why am I banging on about food when this post is about body image? Because to me, the two have always been connected. I have a “happy weight” that I’d like to be at because it worked for me in the past, but I’ve never truly found that balance of enjoying food for both its actual purpose and for the joy of eating in order to better control what I’m putting into my body.
My body image was probably at its best somewhere between the size 8 teen years, and the size 12 I am now. I know we shouldn’t measure our body’s worth by clothing size (because duh, they are *so* inconsistent), but when I’m shopping for size 10 clothes I am both psychologically the most comfortable I’ve been, but I also have the least issues finding clothes that work for my shape.
Y’see, I’m 4ft11. Being petite and curvy is a nightmare. I struggle in high street shops to find petite range clothes that are both the perfect length and will fit around my body. Most petite ranges seem to start at a size 4 and go up to a size 10 at the most.
The issue for me is that petite ranges are often the perfect waist or leg length so don’t drown me like regular fit clothes can, but having big boobs, a big bum and a tyre in the middle means they aren’t an option for me unless I shed about a stone at least. Even that doesn’t solve the tig ol’ bitties problem.
Finding button shirts and blouses that don’t expose me to the world is an operation in itself which often results in me sizing up and looking like a kid trying on their mum’s clothes.
Autumn/Winter is my favourite fashion season because I can get away with putting on jeans and a baggy jumper and feeling comfortable. In the summer, and with this recent heatwave we’ve had in the UK, getting dressed in the morning is genuinely hard for me.
Not a lot of my clothes fit me properly at the moment (have they ever, really?), and the idea of going out to buy more at my current size fills me with dread. I know I’m not the only woman here who actually *hates* clothes shopping.
I guess the whole point of this ramble is to say that as proud as I am of sitting in the “mid-size” category, and as happy as I am that this category is slowly gaining more momentum with hashtags such as #averagegirlsize and #midsizecollective, short-ass curvy women like me (and many other shapes and sizes, too) are still struggling simply to find clothes that are cut to their shape and it’s incredibly damaging to body image to feel like you aren’t being catered for in the high street.
Do you feel like your body size and shape is reflected in the high street? Or do you struggle with shopping too? I have no issues with buying different sizes from different shops, the issue for me is that the right size of clothing for my body simply doesn’t seem to exist.