What you can expect:
The brutal truth of me, without all the sugary coating.
Here I am just me, UNCUT and UNEDITED.
I talk about my family, my divorce, and a lot about MAKEUP.
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Let's talk about shopping.

Asher, creating a fat mii (character for the wii): "Mom, is this how fat you are?" I was terrified to turn around and see just HOW fat he had made me. And then I realized, again, that my perception of my appearance is so much different than what I really am.

This is not me. Although it could be if I wore smaller jeans. (But I won't. You can thank me later.)

In reality I pull on a pair of pants every morning for work that I never would have dreamed of fitting in. I could literally fit two of the old me inside them. In my mind, I still look pretty awesome. Not amazing, but pretty good. And that's enough for me most of the time. 

This morning reminded me that I, too, have a problem with seeing myself as I really am. This denial has kept me from killing myself over my weight gain, but it's also kept me from doing what needs to be done to stay healthy. Tonight I went to the grocery store and bought two carts full of healthy food, again. I'm going to start working out and eating healthier, again. Because the best I can do is keep trying, right? I haven't been able to get into it like I used to, and that has been seriously discouraging, but I will keep starting over until it sticks because I refuse to spend my life fat like Asher's mii. 

At least once a week a man tries on a pair of pants and leaves the fitting room with an angry look on his face. I say, "Did they work for you?" and he says something like, "No. These are NOT thirty-fours. I ALWAYS wear a thirty-four, and these are not thirty-fours. They are sized wrong." I try to sound sympathetic, but is this guy serious? He thinks the manufacturer more likely sized the jeans incorrectly than he just gained a few pounds? 

Other times I see women go into the fitting room with clothes two sizes too small for them, then they come out and say, "None of them worked." It's so hard for me not to say, "You'll be so much happier if you try the next section!" but of course I can't, so I just smile and say "OK". 

As always, I'm going to use my blog to say what I wish I could say. 

First rule of shopping (according to me!) is this: SHOP ALL DEPARTMENTS! 

I never knew this before I started this job, but there are women who come to the fitting room with shirts from the Misses section, Juniors, Mens, Maternity, Plus sizes, even Girls sizes. 

Did you know kids' sizes 18-20 are the same size as Juniors and Young Men's size small? They totally are. Grown women who need petite sizes can shop the bigger girls' size clothes because the only real difference is length. 

Maternity clothes are not like they used to be. Most maternity shirts these days are just slightly roomier than Misses shirts, but without looking at the tag I can't tell the difference! Sometimes maternity clothes are just cuter than the regular clothes, and non-pregnant women buy them more often than you would think. 

Those guys who claim the clothes are "sized wrong" are missing two important factors: different brands will make sizes a little bit different, and Young Men's vs. Men's. At our store the YM and the Men's clothes are on the same rack, all mixed together. (This brings up another good point: TRY EVERYTHING ON before you buy! I KNOW the fitting room process is a giant pain in the butt, but it really is the only way to be happy with what you bring home.) Young Men's shirts are more fitted, more upper-body focused. They are a little bit shorter than their Men's counterparts. Young Men's jeans are different than Men's jeans, by a lot. Every single time a man brings me jeans that were "sized wrong," when I check the tag I find that they are Young Men's denim. 

Ok, now I need to talk to the women. I know how you feel. Taking the leap from the Juniors section to the Misses can be painful, especially if you never had to until after you had a baby. It just plain makes you feel old. I am here to tell you DON'T FEAR THE MISSES SECTION! Yes, half the stuff over there is so hideous you wouldn't even gift it to your grandmother, but hidden among the tie-dye and the floral-bedazzle-zebra-print, there are treasures. We get some Misses tops and Juniors tops that are absolutely identical. The ONLY difference between the Junior section and the Misses section is the same thing we talked about for the men: slightly more focus on the top, more fitted on the bottom. If you're struggling to fit into a size large or extra large in Juniors, you'll fit nicely into a Misses medium or large. 

When we first opened the store in July, I had to check every single tag to know where to file the tops, but at this point I know by just glancing at them because Misses tops have straighter lines, less intentional curves. Smoother lines aren't bad, girls. I can't even tell you how many times I've wanted to say to a woman, "You have a WOMAN's body now. Shop in the Misses department; you'll look so much better!" (There's more than just Mom Jeans over there! Seriously cute things hiding in that dept.) Too many women are leaving the store depressed because Junior jeans/tops don't look good on them anymore. There is no shame in moving on to the adult section, I promise. Junior clothes are made with the intent to fit the teenage body.  

(Note to my sisters: I know you're laughing at me right now. I'm a bit late to the game, but that's why this post exists. I am not not the only one!)

One last thing... the other day I told someone at work what size jeans I wear. "You are NOT that big!" she said. "I will NOT go beyond a size 11. I don't care, I will squeeze my butt into it. I will NOT be a thirteen." I completely understand this feeling, and luckily this girl looks good in her size 11 clothes, so she's doing just fine. But there are other people I won't mention who try too hard to fit into clothes that are too small for them, just because they don't want to acknowledge what size they really are. If you are that girl, I promise you look a thousand times better in your real size! And don't forget that jeans shrink in the wash... whatever they look like in the store will be even tighter after that first wash. 

Well, that's my two cents. Maybe it's more than two cents, I don't know, but there you have it. ;) Some day we'll go over dresses... if I don't get in too much trouble for what I've already said! If you haven't had enough about the misery of the shopping experience, you should check out my new favorite blog post: Jeans: A Loathe Affair at Kvetch Mom. Laughed so hard. I think we can all relate to this!

btw, I'm linked up over at yeah write today! Go check it out and add your blog. :) 


  1. "Because the best I can do is keep trying, right?" and "I will keep starting over until it sticks" is an awesome philosophy, in a nutshell.

    And the size thing, Stacey and Clinton have been telling people to wear their real size for years. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

    i enjoy your blog.

  2. Thanks hun! Hopefully I said it a little nicer than Stacey and Clinton do ;)

  3. Aubrey, Thank you for writing this amazing post! Now where do you live so we can go shopping together? My problem is that I'm so afraid of asking the teeny tiny sales person to get different sizes for me that I take in like two sizes bigger than where I think I am, and two sizes smaller, too. Makes for a lot of clean-up, but who wants to have to say, "Too small!" over and over. I think you should submit this post as an essay to a bunch of women's magazines!

    And thank you for linking to my blog! So sweet of you.

    1. Haha, Jennifer, that's fantatic. I have a secret to tell you: The fitting room attendant has NO PROBLEM with you saying "too small!" over and over. I seriously LOVE to watch people find what they really need/want, no matter how many times they have to come back through the fitting room. I feel the same way in the fancy stores (like Gap and other mall stores), so I just don't shop there. Although, right after I had each of my babies I went to Buckle for jeans because the sales people are way better at understanding what my body needs than I am. And there's something pretty great about standing in the fitting room without having to search for your own jeans... they just bring them to you. I also find that it's nice sometimes to have a guy attendant because I feel like they are more honest about what's flattering and less judgy.

    2. Wow. Husband just pointed out that I wrote "fantatic" in that last comment. Unacceptable. That's *fantaStic, for those of you who were wondering. ;)

  4. i think that it is so much more important that you're healthy. Weight is a number. A stupid one at that...but if you're healthy that's what should matter.
    I love that you keep trying. For me, I've had to really change what my diet was because of my gallbladder. As a result my entire family is eating better.
    Maybe my husband will actually fit into the jeans that he is in denial about...hello man-ffin top.

  5. I enjoyed your post. But I wish it weren't so about the number on the size...too many women are fixated on it. And that's what makes vanity sizing so horrific. I just despise vanity sizing. By any "normal" measurement I am an 8. But not in vanity sizing. I sometime buy 4's! Ridiculous. I've never been a 4 when I was 4 yrs old. So I'll get off my soapbox about it and say, please ladies, find what fits, who cares what size it says on the label. When I become a -1 I will start to make my own clothes. Good post to get us talking about it.

    1. That's exactly what I'm saying. The number (even the department you're shopping in) doesn't matter at all! There are only slight variations, and you are absolutely right about the "vanity sizing". They are making it ridiculous!

  6. That is great advice about shopping all the departments. I do love my husband's jeans.

    I have the opposite problem. I go in and, when asked, I say, "Im usually a 10-12." The helpful friend and/or saleswoman will say: "NO WAY! You are NOT!" I'll humor them and take a size 8 in with me. Then I force them to LOOK at me in the size 8 until they admit that I was correct. Ha! I should temper that with telling you that I like to wear baggier clothes, and that might be why the friend at least thinks I should wear a smaller size than I need. But she is still WRONG.

    1. Haha, I love that! You make them look at you until they admit you're right. That's so much like me. ;)

  7. i LOVE this. and yes i had the realization a few years ago that too tight just does NOT look good. it's nice to know i fit in it but when i am bulging out of my clothes that's where i have to draw the line! haha... but seriously... good luck on your healthy streak. we all need to do that more often!

  8. I've long given up on forcing myself into a size I THINK I should be. These days, I wear what fits. Who cares if it's a size or two larger than what I used to be? That I look decent with clothes that fit matters more!

    Great tips here, Aubrey.

  9. Regardless of all your helpful hints, I don't think I'll ever truly LIKE shopping! You're right though, on all points!

  10. What an eye-opener! Part of shopping demystified--what a gift, and thanks! Printing it out to remind me. With five kids and my husband and I to clothe, this will definitely help.

  11. Great post and tips! It's so hard for me to move out of that Juniors Department. I need to finally grow up and realize I'm not (and never will be again) any of the sizes in that department. Sad day...

  12. Your name really should be Aubrey Anne, it just sounds right.

    I have a friend that cuts tags out of her dresses...including her wedding dress so that people (herself included??) don't see the size. Makes me crazy. It's a number, just like age, weight, height. It says nothing about who you are and how you carry yourself.

  13. Numbers suck!
    I really try not to care what the number is that I'm wearing.
    As long as it fits right and I don't look like a busting out twat, I'll take it.

    Thanks for linking!! x

  14. I was just talking yesterday to a friend about clothing in the junior department. It's only suitable for tiny people, and yet it is all that is available to those who wish to look trendy. The dilemma is that young women begin hating themselves when they are "too big" to fit into trendy clothing. It's wrong and makes me mad. Who is to blame? Designers, manufacturers, the fashion industry, or those of us who continue to torture ourselves by purchasing the clothing? Thanks for this great resource for changing our shopping behavior and for loving ourselves in any size we wear.


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