Let’s talk. For real. We can talk about fabric and slow fashion and capsule wardrobing and ethical manufacturing and we will. I’ll get to it…but first let’s talk about fitting rooms.
How do you feel when you head towards a change room? For some people, it might feel exciting, like playing dress up and doing a fashion show. For others, not so much. Even though I have worked in the fashion industry for 12 years, I absolutely loathe trying clothes on. I completely understand when people try on a dress while leaving their jeans on, or try on a bra without taking their t-shirt off, or who wrap a sweater around their chest to see if it fits…
Taking off your jeans, boots, socks, standing cold but also kind of sweaty in harsh lighting, preparing to face a mini moment of reckoning is daunting to say the least. You stand there half naked, looking at yourself in a full length mirror and face every little thing about your body. Some things you like and some you don’t. All these bits that the clothes were covering up! Realizing that you forgot to put mascara on, that you’ve had something stuck in your teeth all morning, that your hair is suddenly greyer than you thought, that you have wrinkles that must have suddenly crept up overnight, that the shirt you loved and put on this morning actually is pilled and has a stain on it… it goes on and on.
Whether this moment passes quickly or not, you have no choice but to take a look, this is your body. You rally, you ignore, you repress, you talk yourself down off that ledge of shame, you remind yourself that you are amazing for even just trying on jeans! You focus. Pants. Pants is what you’re here for. You have half an hour before you have to be back at work or pick up the kids or get to the bank before it closes or get home before the dog eats the couch. You try on the pants and low and behold they don’t fit. You try the other pair you grabbed. They don’t look right. You power on and try the last pair you were able to carry, no go for launch. You give up.
You put back on your old pants, your pilled shirt and leave. Mini defeats. It’s not ok and it’s not even your fault! Believe me, it’s the pants fault. What should be a good thing doesn’t always feel that way. So, how can we help each other to not only buy pants, but to see ourselves the way others see us? To see this amazing mother, friend, partner, daughter, auntie? This beautiful person! You!
We are so hard on ourselves! We have been being dressed and styled by men for hundreds of years. We fall victim to the idea that just because it’s in style, we should look good in it and if we don’t look the way Julia Roberts does in flood pants it’s somehow our fault. Believe me I have tried! I also somehow thought I would instantly look like Meg Ryan if I got a shaggy pixie cut… nope.
Here at Swish, we often refer to our time spent at the fitting room as mini therapy sessions. You never know what a person is dealing with in a change room or what they see when they are looking into the mirror. They may be a person who has recently had a mastectomy and is facing a whole new, terrifying view of their body. They may have just found out their husband is cheating on them. They may be nervous about their upcoming wedding. They may be a new mom or have entered into menopause. They may be deciding if they can come out of the closet to their family. They may have bruises they don’t want anyone to see. They may be getting ready for a first big date. They may want to buy something or maybe they need a friend or maybe they want to have a few minutes of peace and quiet.
We are here to help.
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