How To Shop For Your Body And Not Your Size
by Aniyah Morinia
@RachelPally (the mother of a maternity clothing line) exposed me. No, I don’t mean the kind of exposure where your best friend posts an unflattering photo of you on their Snapchat story or tells everyone that you shamelessly wear Adidas and Nike at the same time. She did what some would argue is the highest form of flattery for a millennial woman – an Instagram repost. There I was in the middle of this earthy-toned and beautifully curated feed wearing the Gingham Darcy Jumpsuit surrounded by expectant mothers.
As good as it felt seeing my brown skin and printed jumpsuit add a pop of color to the Instagram account, this thought stopped me in my tracks: “Will people think I’m pregnant?” I straddled the line of feeling happy that my post was well-received and feeling upset that people knew that I rented a maternity jumpsuit. Ordering from Rent the Runway’s maternity section in a size large, I had high hopes that my size 14 curves would fit in all the right places despite not having a baby on the way. It fit, was comfortable and showed no visible evidence of being crafted for pregnant women.
Despite the all-consuming thoughts about what @RachelPally’s followers would think, I did what any other Instagram-obsessed millennial would do. I posted the obligatory Instagram Story thanking the brand and subconsciously asking my followers to like that same photo for a second time. When I posted the photo and tagged @RachelPally, there was no expectation of a repost, let alone these three lessons that I learned about shopping for my body. If you’re frustrated with your current wardrobe or the process of shopping IRL, keep reading.
1. Ignore the labels
Clothing stores make it incredibly easy for us to feel confined to a particular section whether that’s the women’s, men’s, or the plus size section. Don’t be afraid to branch out and peruse the racks that you’ve never touched before – the fits and styles will surprise you. When shopping for your next look, remember that clothes are meant to be styled and nothing matters less than the section of the store you found your oversized top from.
2. Your size is not a secret
I considered renting a maternity jumpsuit to be my best kept secret until the repost happened. The truth is that we have historically categorized our clothing sizes as classified information when we deem it too large for society’s one size fits all standard. Shame and clothing size should be mutually exclusive whether the clothing you wear is a size two or a size 22. The next time you ask the Zara employee for a larger size, remove any hesitation or embarrassment from your tone; you have nothing to hide.
3. What’s Your (Body) Type?
Shopping is no easy feat if you don’t know what shapes and silhouettes accentuate your body type. While what you choose to wear is in no way dictated by your body type, it does help you establish styles that will flatter you and hopefully make you feel confident. We can all admit to falling in love with a dress or jacket that simply does not look like it did when you viewed it on the model. But this is guaranteed to happen less often if you are loosely aware of your body type. Remove the items from your cart that you thought were to-die-for and replace them with items that are to-die-for and well-suited for your shape.