If you've never been pissed off in a clothing fitting room and you've never worked up a sweat-drenched frenzy just getting things tucked in and sucked in, then hells bells...how lucky for you!
You must be resistant to fitting room dilemmas or you're one of those that has an ideal size and it just freaking works perfectly for you! Well, right now I'm not waving all five fingers to that nonsense!
I'll admit there are some clothes shopping days that can go on record as being pretty successful. I try to remember those instances of feeling on cloud nine and everything you took into the dressing room actually fit and graced over the bumps and curves with ease. Praise to the heavens, the only dilemma you have is deciding which item to buy.
How often does that happen? Once in a blue moon...am I right? So, why choose? Hell, let's bag it all up Frederick and end the day with a Cinnabon!
This rare occasion is such a fantastic feeling of accomplishment that you find yourself high stepping it as you burst through the fitting room door. So excited you want to knock on each and every occupied dressing room door to boast and announce proudly:
"Hey y'all, everything fit!"
"Did you hear me? No upsizing over here!"
"Can I get some high fives anybody?"
Additionally, when the fitting room attendant asks "can I take any of those from you?” I respond smartly, "nope...Frederick is bagging it ALL up today!" I have no idea who Fredrick is, but I'm imagining he's a personal shopper from my subconscious and he's my alter ego thinking it was a job well done!
Yup, those successful fitting room moments are rare and far between.
Recently, I had two different shopping trips that didn't go so smoothly. One trip was to find a simple pair of black dress pants and the second, god help Frederick, was to find a sporty (age appropriate) swimsuit.
Let me mention, that I've reached the thorny age of 50 something and like a middle child that feels forgotten; this midlife stage in life can feel the same in the women's clothing section. If you're a young perky 20 something, you have the cream of the crop supply to pick from! The department store is your oyster. Hell, they probably bring out the Roman gods to carry you on a golden throne and feed you sweet cherries.
I walk in with 10 more extra pounds than usual, a 10% off coupon, and Frederick. Maybe 25% if Frederick is on his game.
The point is - the styles and sizes are not targeted for women in the more mature timeline. We want cute and stylish clothes too! We want ones that don't look like we're trying to be 20. Our choices shouldn't have to be old and frumpy, or have to pay an arm and a leg for them either! Some well known stores have gotten better with this, but it's still hit or miss.
The first challenge is finding, I should say, hunt and peck to find just the right style, color and size. This task can either be a plethora of options or a drought of dusty clothes racks.
But most challenging, is finding a swimsuit that fits all womanly parts, yet flattering and age appropriate with style.
With about a dozen doubtful suit options in hand, I headed to the fitting room and one by one I pulled, lifted and shifted to have each one tossed aside.
To be honest, looking in the mirror with each suit fitting was like looking through the display case of a butcher shop. My arms have become pork roasts, my boobs overflowed each suit to resemble butterball turkeys and my thighs now bear the likeness to thick cut stuffed pork chops.
It was all I could do to not sit and sob in the dressing room. Reality was reflecting from the mirror and I was holding the meat cleaver. It's easy to be self deprecating and compare every body part to what hangs in a meat locker, but luckily for me, Frederick showed up with a better attitude. I'm so glad he was here today. My subconscious personal shopper yelled at me to get back out there and not to give up!
Hoisting all the rejects in my arms and dumping them in the bin of disappointment, Frederick and I got right back out there with an adjusted attitude and more determination to find the right suit.
You see, especially since having my kids, I never felt comfortable wearing a swimsuit for many reasons. Not willing to expose all my imperfections. It was very difficult to find something that had enough boob coverage and didn't expose too much lady lumps. The suits that did fit were fugly (frumpy/ugly), or I just didn't feel comfortable in them. And, when you did find something appropriate it was over $100. Not happening! Why is it so hard to find a sporty, fashionable swimsuit for a midlife woman that’s less than $100?
So, this brings me to how I'm fed up with the whole idea of not feeling I could wear a swimsuit and be part of the summertime boating and beaching fun just because I was having some self image issues. And, it's not all about losing those flipping 10 pounds and dieting my friends. It's about being healthy and liking who you are! Heavens I know thin people that feel the same way!
Here's where Frederick arrives and says "don't you give up girl!"
"You'll find what you're looking for and when you do, get out there and rock it and feel good about wearing it."
Still determined, I sifted through the racks and began stacking up my selections, which was about to run out.
It was round 2, or maybe 3, back into the fitting room and with Frederick by my side, I eased up on the self criticism. Again, one by one I tucked, sucked, lifted and shifted and just when the sweat was beginning to collect on my brow and failure was hanging from the fitting room hook, Frederick smiles and says, “yep that's the one!”
Well, hells bells, let’s bag it up Frederick and end the day with a salad!
I walked out of that fitting room with my sweaty head held high and, not gonna lie, I wanted to get on the store intercom speaker and announce it to ALL those women shoppers that struggle with finding the right size, fit or look.
"Don't give up beautiful women!" "Listen to Frederick and your golden throne shall appear."
Of course, none of that would make sense to anyone who heard it, but it would give me great satisfaction to do it.
I must mention that while I was in the process of writing this, the timing couldn't have been more perfect as, Jennifer Weiner, a best-selling author and a favorite of mine, had posted a picture of herself in her swimsuit on social media with an inspiring message. Her post is here. Jennifer issued to women everywhere over the Fourth of July weekend to a bathing suit photo challenge and expressed the emotional reasons why in this article from "Pop Sugar."
Like I said, the timing worked out perfectly for this blog post and, just so you know, this was most challenging for me to take this picture in a swimsuit and put out it out there for the world to see. If Jennifer can do it, so can I. Here is the sporty swimsuit that "Frederick" and I agreed upon!
I know I can be more critical of myself and feel down every once in awhile, but Frederick is far more sympathetic, supportive and tries like hell to encourage a better self image.
However, if anyone says I look like a rump roast stuffed into a giblets bag, then beware....you most certainly will see a different side of Frederick and he'll be holding a meat cleaver!
I hope you’ve been able to find your Frederick too! He really is there…you just have to be willing to seek him out and then listen!