We received our first “DEAR FATTITUDE letter from Laura who writes:
Dear Body love goddesses,
I could really use some help. I am a bridesmaid in a friend’s upcoming wedding and this weekend we are supposed to all meet up (travel, in my case) and try on dresses to pick the one we like. Supposed to be a fun girl’s weekend and a chance for us to all meet. BUT I am the only plus size bridesmaid and only one of the stores that we are going to carries dresses in my size (and only a few). I am super uncomfortable with the fact that I will have to sit out for a lot of the day while everyone else is trying on stuff and having fun and I don’t want to put myself in a situation where I am setting myself up to feel bad, but I also recognize that the experience isn’t about me. None of the friends I have talked to are plus size and don’t really seem to get it. What should I do!?
Thanks for your help,
This is quite the predicament because on one hand you’re right this experience isn’t about you – but also this event includes and excludes you at the same time. It’s complicated. And to be honest, it’s not only complicated for you – but also for the women you are with because they will most likely feel awkward too. Most women are still working on self acceptance and they will recognize the situation you are in and sympathize. But you don’t need sympathy. You are already amazing just not straight sized.
I don’t know if you know this but I’m a fat woman descendent from super skinny women. Both my mom and my grandmother are very thin and very fashionable. Spending time with them often means being relegated to a chair in the corner of a dressing room, and you’re right this position can lead to feelings of inadequacy, and self-doubt, basically a feel bad and feel ugly situation.
I circumvent this feeling by recognizing that I have a different role in the straight size dressing room than “the one who tries on clothes.” First of all, I have accepted the idea that straight sized stores don’t accommodate me. If I tried to shop in them it would be like a golfer trying to buy golf clubs in a ski store. In the straight size dressing room I create a role that is fun for me – one that has nothing to do with buying clothes for myself. I become both a personal shopper and “the one who makes the assessments.” Basically, I pick out clothes for my mom and my grandmother – outfits that I think they will look amazing in, and I tweak their outfits until I think they are perfect – what shoes go with this? What earrings could you wear? How can we spice that up? etc.
I think you should try taking on these roles at his weekend’s bridal party get together. AND I think you should be super open about this and make it clear right up front. If I were you, I would talk to the bride and tell her that you want to take part in the day and stay upbeat and fun during the shopping. Let her know that you’ve considered how you could be included since there will not be much for you to try on. Ask if she would mind if you told the others that your selection in the stores they are visiting will be limited because you’re plus size, but you still want to feel like you’re a be part of the process. Then ask them if they can take turns putting on a fashion show of the different dresses. while one woman is trying on hers, the other women can take turns sitting with you and thinking out what would work best for each of you. Then, when you get to where there plus sizes are you can do the same.
Also, remember that there is no shame in being a different size. Ultimately – straight stores just don’t work for you. That’s just facts. It says nothing, NOTHING, about your value, your worth or your beauty.
Your Body is Amazing!
Fattitude Producer and Body Love Coach
Heads up! Take notice, Fattitude is adding a whole new slew of columns and writers! Dear Fattitude is one of these new columns – a “Dear Abby” Type column where the Fattitude Staffers answer any and all questions about living a rad body accepting life! Have a question you want answered? Message us on Facebook and mention dear Fattitude.