Tuesday, September 6, 2011

You're a size too large for this outfit madam

This one goes out to all my girl friends, who, like me, are..well... fat. I'd like to say "healthy" but ever so often when the scale tips in the wrong direction I am compelled to acknowledge that 'yes' I have more body fat than I am supposed to and 'yes' I am trying to do something about it.

But this post is not about accepting my health status and condition (there are a lot of people volunteering to do that including the hubby and kids!).

This post is about the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I used to walk into a store to treat myself to an outfit that is not a t-shirt, a pair of jeans or a kurti and the salesgirls more often than not directed me straight to the L (Large) or XL (Xtra Large) section!

Have you ever felt unsure of the way you're going to be treated at a store when you try to buy a 'western', 'modern' or perhaps a 'sexy' outfit for yourself? Have you ever entered a store, started looking through a rack only to be confronted by a tiny salesgirl who will look at your vital stats and announce, "You need a L/XL!"

When faced with such behaviour, I would often wonder why such stores employed reed thin girls (I'm sure the classified says, Wanted REALLY thin (preferably size minus2) girls for xyz store) with so much attitude? Or are they trained to throw such attitude?

Sometimes I visualise a training session for salesgirls where they are taught the requisite skills:

Trainer: What will you do when a MoT (mother of two) walks in to the store?
Salesgirl 1: "Lead her to the L/XL section immediately."
Trainer: "What if she saunters over to the M section?"
Salesgirl 2: "Follow her with uplifted eyebrows and tell her in a loud voice that its not her size."
Trainer: "What if she pays no attention?"
Salesgirl 3: "Pull her by the hair and drag her to the section that stacks clothes her size..."
Trainer: "Shabaash!"

I would also wonder why clothes that fit sizes 0-6 are stocked predominantly at such stores. Why can't a size 10 or 12 enjoy the same clothes and feel as pretty or desirable or both as the thin (I'd like to say 'anorexic' but I am on week 1 at the Joy of Giving initiative and won't criticise anyone for this week) girls? Don't they want "normal" women to buy clothes from them? Don't they want to cater to a population that has girth no doubt, but also the resources to buy the exorbitantly priced garments?

In my experience, most often salesmen in multi branded stores are a lot more accommodating, allowing us to pick any size we want. I can pick a S (Small) and they won't bat an eyelid.

But if I pick a S in a store with salesgirls, rest assured, one of them will swoop down on me from some part of the 1000 sq ft store to announce, "That won't fit you madam." Usually when this happened I would exclaim, "Oh I was looking at it for my daughter" ...thinking that it in this new consumer 'friendly' world it is a crime to even "look" at a size that won't fit you!

Yes. There was a time when I used to go to these stores with trepidation. But no more! I liberated myself from that cycle of self doubt and embarrassment. I began doing what was really necessary: change my attitude and exude more confidence.

Now I walk into a store and don't get upset if a L or XL garment is handed to me. I simply go try it on and come back out... One look and the salesgirl says, "Oh its too loose. You need a M"... Inwardly I cheer! It also serves another fabulous purpose - I get to gloat at myself in the mirror inside the trail room as the garment hangs loose on me...

Alternately when I am feeling supremely confident I walk into a store and ask for M and if the salesgirl looks at me as if I have lost my mind, I simply say, "Thats my size."

I've found a new way to shop and walk into stores with an air of invincibility. It's working wonders for me! Why don't you give it a try too?

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