Weighty Matters

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Clothing Coolness – an NSV

I have a special event coming up in a couple of weeks and needed a new dress. The beautiful dress I bought for last fall’s wedding will be too warm to wear in the Florida Keys in mid-April. Besides, I’ve worn it for a family wedding, an evening event for work, and formal night on the cruise. Double besides, I don’t really need to justify getting a new dress. 😉

I’ve already discussed the wonderful non-scale victory (NSV) of being able to go into a local women’s clothing store and find sizes that I can wear. I used to have to scour the catalogs from plus-sized clothing companies, go online, or hope that I’d have a trip somewhere where plus sized clothing stores were located. Not just any plus-sized clothing store, but ones that had plus-plus-plus sizes and, even then, I’d have to pray that I would find something that not only fit but that also had some snap and style. Something that didn’t better suit someone 30 years older than me. Something that didn’t feel made of plastic.

Anyway, I went into a nice local store today. When I shopped there before my cruise, I’d seen a really snappy black and white dress but hadn’t tried it on. They still had the dress, but in a size smaller than I thought I could wear — a straight 16, not a 16 W. I figured I’d try it anyway, but also picked out a couple of other pretty ones too. I fell instantly in adoration with a really cute, fun, playful dress with tiered light ruffles in modern splashes of pink, gray and black. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever owned before and, while I wouldn’t wear it to the event in a couple of weeks, I thought it would be perfect for my trip to New Orleans in May.

In the dressing room, I first tried on the black and white dress. This was a sleek, form fitting dress with black panels down the sides and white, skinny ruchy (is that word) sort of striping in the center of the front and back. The good news first: Even in a straight 16, the dress fit. That was cool. Looking at myself in the mirror, I knew I’d need a really good Spanx undergarment (Because of the weight loss, I now have a significant sag of skin in the belly area, so compression garments in some outfits are my friend.) The not as good, but it’s my reality right now news: The dress made my ass look humongous. Seriously. I’m not being picky or regarding myself with “fat” eyes. It really wasn’t flattering.

That happens. Not every style is good on every figure, regardless on how good that figure might be. I’m okay with that. It’s real.

I tried on the second dress, which was not form fitting but has a nice cut and swing to it. There are some vertical navy panels alternating with a pretty navy and gray print pattern. It also had a short bolero-ish/shrug jacket which covered my also-sagging upper arms. I knew immediately that this dress would be perfect for the event in a couple of weeks and I am thrilled with how it looked on me and how I look in it. Score!

Finally, I slipped on the fun/flirty dress and, oh my stars, it also looks great and just made me smile. Even though I’m losing weight, it will not be too big on me in a month and a half. I already know that I’m really going to enjoy wearing it in NOLA, for sure. If I can find some sassy pink, comfortable sandals, I’ll be set.

Bonus for the shopping excursion was the terrific spring sale. 40% off the regular priced dress and an extra $25% off of the two already-on-sale garments. Woo hoo!

The clothing coolness NSV didn’t end with the shopping trip. I went off to an afternoon outdoor fundraising event for local pet rescues/shelters. When I arrived home later in the afternoon, I got my mail and flipped through it. I’d received a marketing piece from one of my favorite plus size clothing stores. We’ve never had one of the stores here in the Keys or in South Florida, but for more than 15 years I sought them out whenever I traveled. Seriously, if I knew I was going somewhere else in Florida, I went to their website’s store locator to find the nearest store. I knew where one was located in my home area in New Jersey too and always shopped there on my trips up home. This store was my mainstay for cocktail dresses, suits, sportswear — you name it and I could find it there pretty much any time. I once planned a six hour driving trip in Florida just to seek out the closest store because I needed a fancy dress for an event.

Today I pulled out the marketing flyer and suddenly realized something. A couple of weeks ago when I went to Clearwater for the spring training game, I drove right past the exit for the store that I’d gone too whenever I was up in that area. I never even gave it a thought that I should stop in and browse for clothes.

Now this is the big NSV. The store that I could not do without isn’t one that I need anymore! I’m jazzed beyond belief. Again this shows how far I’ve come and I couldn’t be happier.

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Shopping

I can’t believe it’s been more than a couple of days since I posted. I know I’ve had a string of days where I’ve been so tired at night that I couldn’t face turning on the computer and thinking, let alone write anything.

The Just Saying No worked well some days in some situations and not so much in a couple of others. However, I’ve been better overall food-wise and it makes me feel less like I was beginning to veer out of control. One step at a time. One day at a time.

I decided to take a day trip to Miami yesterday to go shopping. With my friend still staying with me, I knew she would be happy to let out the dogs and feed them. This meant that I could take my time and not have to rush home. I am going to a family wedding soon. Even though I already have a dress that I could wear, I just felt like having something new. Plus, I hoped to find some capris or shorts at clearance prices.

I’m sort of in a weird stage with sizes. The weight number is creeping down but the bike riding is definitely working off inches, as we’ve discussed before. My friend had a pair of 16W capris and size 18 misses shorts. My 18W shorts are definitely loose and I was shocked to find that her 16Ws fit me, as did the misses size shorts. So, off to shop I drove.

In the past I believe I’ve discussed my misanshoppic tendencies. I know I can only stand a couple of hours at most in a big mall and am much better off if I go to specific smaller stores. We started out with two favorite specialty stores — Lush and Sephora. Lush is small and does all these handmade, natural bath and body products. Bath bombs, bubble bath balls, and bath melts in wonderful fragrances. Massage bars, scrubs, lotions, cosmetics — the list is amazing. I selected several bath bombs that dissolve in the tub, a new massage bar, a shower scrub that I love and some great lip balm.

We then moved onto Sephora, which is almost as addictive. This amuses me because I don’t wear a lot of makeup. I start the day with a tinted sunscreen/moisturizer/slight foundation product to protect my skin with its 30 spf. During the week, I add light eye shadow and that’s it. If I go out to dinner or have other plans at night or the weekend, I do a light coat of mascara, maybe a little more eyeshadow, and do more on my face with Bare Minerals. Still, I always manage to find new, fabulous products that I love whenever I walk into Sephora. This time, I came out with a fantastic under eye concealer stick, some eyeshadow, and a tinted spf 15 lip balm gloss.

Two stores and I needed a break so we grabbed a cold drink and light snack while we talked for a bit. Then it was time to look for the dress. Gladiators probably entered the Coliseum with less trepidation than I approach a big department store like Macy’s. I feel like I’m running a gauntlet while I dodge the salespeople waving their perfume samples and trying to trap me at a counter for a makeover. I practically marched myself to the escalator to get up to the Women’s Department.

All I can say is that it was worth the trip. I found an absolutely wonderful dress that fits me great and flatters my curves. It’s from Ralph Lauren’s line for Women. Oh here. Take a look.

photo

Yes, I know that the bare feet with the stark sandal tan lines complete the look.

I love this dress. More importantly, I love the way that I look in it. The material is soft and comfortable. The ruching (if that’s how it’s spelled) at the side really flatters. You can’t see then, but there are insets down the sides that give the dress even more style. Love. Love. Love. It was the first dress I tried on and, even though I tried on another dress in a deep wine color that looked lovely on, I knew I was leaving with my first choice.

To be completely honest, there are some lumps and bumps, so with the dress over my arm, we went over to the department where they sell Spanx and other “smoother” garments. I don’t think anyone calls them girdles or foundations any more. I have a full Spanx slip but it’s now a little big on me, so I wanted something more suffocating restricting smoothing.

The saleswoman was very helpful as she picked out a smoothing slip by a company other than Spanx. She carefully explained that it would be tight going on but I should sort of roll it up like underwear. It was decidedly more difficult than I expected and I thought I’d have to give up and go to a larger size. Then I realized there was an odd attachment she’d forgotten to mention. I can only describe it as a crotch strap. Constructed with the same hook and eye gizmos as a bra, it fastens between the legs to keep the garment from rolling up but it can still be unsnapped for when one needs to pee. No wonder I couldn’t get the garment all the way in place. It was at least marginally easier once I unsnapped the strap and straightened everything out.

If you’ve never worn a smoother, there’s a few things you should know. They do, indeed smooth. They are not only worn by overweight women but also by some of the most slender — like actresses and models. They are also, apparently, terrific for your posture, possibly because it’s very hard to bend over and continue to breath. I am fairly sure I will not suffocate myself while wearing it and, damn it all, it made the dress look even better on me.

After that, I half-heartedly looked through some clearance racks but didn’t see anything. We then proceeded to department store number two – J.C. Penny. I grabbed a couple of things from the Women’s sizes and a couple of things from the Misses Department. I couldn’t find anything small enough in W and the things from Misses didn’t suit for a variety of reasons.

At that point I hit a wall. In the grand scheme of things, I am a shopping lightweight. There are simply too many departments crammed with too many racks and too many people wandering around. I’d had enough and was more than happy to call it an afternoon and head home.

Before I actually hit the island chain, I stopped at a smaller shopping center and ran into Kohl’s to see if I could find a good pair of jeans and, maybe, some of those clearance sale priced capris. I cannot tell you how long it’s been since I owned a pair of 16W jeans, but I have them now! No capris, but I added a cute graphic “tee” with three quarter length sleeves and that was good enough for this trip!

I know that I’m going to need to invest some time investigating different departments in these larger stores. Honestly, more and more I find that it’s a challenge for me to find clothes that fit for the happy reason that my body has become too small for the departments in which I’m used to shopping. It’s a great problem to have and I’m not complaining. I’m just dreading the learning process. I really want to do a day with a personal shopper at one of the good big stores but don’t feel that I should spend the time or the money until I hit goal weight. Perhaps I’ll even wait until after my skin removal surgeries. It’s on my Promise List, but until the right time, I’ll muddle through on my own or with assistance and moral support, from friends.

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