Fitting Room SOS

We are forgoing this week’s spark because a dear friend recently emailed me seeking advice about how to handle a fitting room emergency.  I thought the answer might be something you’d be interested in and so I asked her permission to share some of our exchange here.  It may not be anything you need right now, but, hopefully, filing it away will be helpful later!

Trying on bathing suits today, my daughter realized that her bottom isn’t the same size as her top and that she doesn’t just strictly fit in clothes that are the same size as her age any more. Help! I want my beautiful daughter to feel beautiful.

My advice? This is about the clothes— obviously, nothing is wrong with her body-because bodies aren’t wrong and bodies all develop in different ways and at different paces but because clothing is made in production, it doesn’t always account for the nuances of bodies. But you can help your daughter develop some ease around clothing sizes and an ability to see them just as a tool and not a judgment.

Because a script can be a helpful tool (don’t feel like you have to follow it word for word.  It’s just a guide), here is what I might say:

As we get older, our bodies develop at different rates and so sizes aren’t really about your age any more, and not all sizes- from store to store or style to style- will be the same. Sometimes we’ll need an 8 in one store and a 10 in another and sometimes we’ll need a 10 for one part of our body and a 12 on another part of the body.  The numbers don’t really mean anything other than to give us a guide when we are trying to choose what to try on. 

Every body is different and every body grows at different rates and clothes are all different, too.  Sometimes you’ll see people who are really tall because that is how their body is meant to grow right now and sometimes you’ll see people with lots of muscles because that is how they are supposed to grow right now.  Nothing is right or wrong on a body.  It’s just about what your body needs and is doing right now.

 As you move forward, stay aware of what she is noticing and make any appropriate little course corrections here and there.  Later, when the time is right, you can celebrate bodies that might be more like hers (for example, you might watch some tennis this summer and say something like “I admire how strong the Williams sisters are) without overemphasizing it. The key is to help her think more broadly about beauty and bodies without making it all about bodies and beauty because, in the end, that’s not the most important thing anyway, and you don’t want to accidentally teach her otherwise. You are doing a good job, mama. Trust your instinct.

Have you run into fitting room issues with your children?  How did you handle it?  What advice do you have?

{image source?  Karen Gunton from Build a Little Biz.  Her stuff is totally amazing.)

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2 responses to “Fitting Room SOS”

  1. Amy

    I would tell this young woman that she is not alone. That clothes off the rack do not fit many of us. This is about manufacturers and clothes. It does not mean that there isn’t thing wrong with her or me, or anyone else who has trouble finding clothing that fits.

    I would also suggest she look at stores where one can buy bottoms and tops separately for bathing suits. I haven’t been able to comfortably wear a one piece bathing since I was 12 or 13 years old when my bust suddenly jumped from normal preteen barely thereness to a size DD. I have hated my breasts. I have hated the fact that there is so much clothing that I can no longer wear. I hate how much more difficult and expensive it is for me to find beautiful clothes that fit well. For a long time I didn’t swim or even own a bathing suit. Since them I have discovered Tankinis. They are separates for bathing suits that when worn look mostly like a one piece suit. For me bikinis were never really an option for many reasons including the fact that most bikinis lack support for a large bust.

    I wish when I was a young teenage someone had told me it was ok that nothing fit. That it didn’t mean that I was fat or unlovable. That the only thing it meant was that clothing manufacturers were unaware or unwilling to address the fit issues that plague many of us.

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