Fitting Room SOS

it is Happy’s first week of summer and so I am taking the week off from writing new blog content so I can kick-off the summer with him.  Today’s blog post comes from May of last year.  Hope you enjoy it.

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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