I want to talk about the frustration of shopping for those of us who don’t necessarily fit into things off the rack. For all the people who walk into stores and are met with racks of clothes that don’t fit around your tummy, the arms are too narrow (*hand raised*), or the salespeople aren’t being helpful, or any of a long list of maladies that occur when you just want to feel cute today and no one is here for you and OH MY GOD CAN’T A PERSON JUST BUY A JACKET.
I’m talking to you, and I’d like to introduce you to my friend, The Power of Won’t.
Well, before I say anything else, let me give you a rule that will save you years of heartbreak: never, and I mean NEVER, go shopping on the same day you need an item of clothing. I don’t care if it’s a cocktail function or an interview. This activity is self-defeating, and results in tears every. single. time. Stop, drop, and shop your closet. Grab something you already own and throw an accessory you never use to spice it up. A never-used scarf spices up an old suit, a dress you already own with shoes you never wear is a homemade makeover. Do not go into any store desperate for a miracle, because the Universe saves those for important things like getting you things you need for your actual life, not to make your ex jealous.
Now, back to the Power of Won’t.
Let’s say you’re in Store X. You have an arm or two (or four, if you’ve got a friend with you,) and you’re off to the dressing room to find something new and adorable. You start trying things on, and nothing fits; this shirt is too tight, this dress pulls across your tummy, these pants don’t go over your butt, etc.
Now you have a choice: you can start wailing that “These clothes won’t fit,” then fly into a downward spiral where nothing will ever work and oh my god why don’t they make things big enough to fit you and you hate your body and you’re never going to eat again and just excuse you while you dissolve into a puddle of tears right there on the floor. That’s an option, or…
You simply say, “Hmm, this won’t work for me.” You put it down, and either try the next size up, or leave the store with your money still in your pocket. No tears, no drama. Because if you’re looking at your local mall and storefronts around the country, they really, REALLY need to sell you something. REALLY. So, they can shape up or shut down; not your problem. In the meantime, there are other stores that want you to be happy.
This is not to say that the industry doesn’t have a lot of work to do to address the needs of women with larger chests, juicy booties, thicker waistlines, and/or hourglass figures. They do. But right this minute there are clothes that fit us, and we need to give those brands ALL the money. Universal Standard, Eloquii, Ellos, Lane Bryant, ASOS, Marina Rinaldi, Swimsuitsforall (particularly the Gabi Fresh line,) Michael Kors, Fantasie, Freya, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdales – these brands, stores, and websites (and more) want to sell us things. Shop these stores. Hell, Etsy sellers LOVE to make things for you. No more frustration. Spend where they cater to your needs.
Also, think custom. Since most of us can’t get a great fit off the rack, we use our local dry cleaners who have a tailor sitting there, dying to make the size just above yours fit like Tom Ford himself dropped from the sky with a tape measure, some sequins, and a magic wand. Give them a chance. Throw $40 at the situation and come out with something that looks like you paid $400.
See the difference between “can’t fit” and “won’t buy it?” Take your power back. According to Bloomberg, the plus-size market represents a $20.4 BILLION DOLLAR opportunity for fashion retail. That’s billion with a “b.” You have the power in this situation. They can shut their doors, or they can play ball. Either way, do not settle, do not cry, and do not use the word “can’t” ever again.
Even if you can’t afford it. Just say, “I won’t be buying this today,” and leave. See? You’ve made the choice. Done.
In the end, the Power of Won’t is merely one of a multitude of means via which we will be taking our power back as women in this world. Just think about its power and how it can change your life: you won’t be working overtime this weekend, going on a date with that person who treats you like crap, spending time with that soul-sucking friend, or silent when your rights are being violated.
The Power of Won’t. Get into it.
For many of us, it starts in the dressing room. It’s like that photo up there of Julia Roberts from the film, “Pretty Woman.” If you remember this scene, she walked in one day in her hooker gear with all these credit cards, and that untamed shrew of a salesperson told her to leave. She was humiliated. Next day, she walks in wearing all these amazing clothes, carrying everyone’s dream armload of shopping bags, reminds the salesperson of what happened yesterday, and declares that drama yesterday works a BIG MISTAKE. HUGE. And then she swans out of the store to do more shopping while Cruella deRetail watches her commission walk out the door. YOU are the pretty woman in this situation. Regardless of your preferred pronoun, YOU have the power here. If they won’t sell to you, you won’t be shopping there.
Won’t. Best word in the English language other than “No.” Won’t means you WILL be satisfied. There’s no better feeling than that.