Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(Thanks, David Bowie).

I've worn plus sizes since my teens. But over time, I even went beyond those into what is now known as "extended plus" .... you can't find those in regular department stores or most clothing stores. They can be found in specialty stores: Avenue, Catherine's, for a while Lane Bryant, and so forth.

For a long time, I got my clothes from a local re-distribution outlet for mall stores/catalog/outlet wear. Most of the clothing was from the previous year's catalog. That never bothered me, because I didn't care if it was a year old or not. It was inexpensive and (more importantly) in my size. But then it got to the point that their selection started to be kind of junky, especially in those larger sizes. Awful knits and ugly stuff. Then it was back to the more expensive specialty shops. It was then that I learned how to shop clearance areas for the best stuff my money could buy. As long as it fit and was marked down at least fairly reasonably, I bought it.

As I've lost the weight, I've noticed the sizes going down -- and that has been really nice! I've still been shopping at the specialty stores, primarily because I've been going there so long and I'm comfortable there. But the last couple of weekends, I have spent time in various dressing rooms of various stores.

Last Sunday, it was in Stein Mart -- a place I have gone into many times, but never to buy clothing. But I decided to go look and try on -- what could it hurt? I bought 2 shirts that day. And just about cried with joy. And I still got them from clearance because I want the best bang for my buck (er, so to speak).

Today, it was Ross. Now I wasn't crazy about the crammed-in racks, or the lack of signage for the plus sizes .... but I was head over heels for a jean jacket!! It's a little snug in the sleeves (but then again, I tried it on over a sweater), but it's the first one I've owned in years. And over a t-shirt this spring? Perfect. Oh yeah, I bought an apple-red tee to go with it....

Then I went to the mall -- again for the first time in ages. I stopped at Goody's, and they had nice enough stuff (and a SUPER sweet 50% off sale!) .... but nothing really caught my eye as a "gotta-have" (yes, even at 50% off). So out into the mall I went. I went down to Belk, where they too were having a half-off sale on certain items, and 30% off most of the others. I found a couple of items to try on. The shirt was too snug in the sleeves -- back it went. The pants were a nice fit ... but the fabric just didn't feel right to me. The size? A size smaller than my smallest pair of pants right now. That part was sweet -- just not sweet enough to make me buy (again, even at half-off).

But I still walked out with a smile on my face -- because for the first time in about 15 years, I am shopping in regular stores. Still in the plus-size sections, but in regular ol' department stores.

Incidentally, just for kicks and giggles, I went back to the mall-catalog clearance outlet store -- you never know. I am sad to report that the plus-size section (even in the non-extended sizes) was far worse than it used to be. At one time, this particular location had a separate store just for plus sizes, and they had excellent stock -- nicer quality things, in a variety of sizes. When they merged with their regular-size store, both the quality and quantity levels have gone far downhill. It's a shame too......

Of course, the other kicker was that I noticed my skin in the mirror..... time to start researching plastic surgeons! Oy vey! It's starting to get kinda saggy, and I know that eventually I'll need the excess skin removed. Wonder if I can get Dr. 90210 to do some pro bono work??

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