Clothes that are comfortable and express your personality are a boost to body appreciation. However, shopping can be an overwhelming and daunting experience for lots of people. Because of this, Cayla Panitz, LPC and I have created five tips to make body-accepting shopping a reality.
Try out these tips during your next shopping experience:
No body checking. If you find yourself measuring your body against others, stop. This means no scanning the store to compare your body to others. This activity is not helpful. It leads to assumptions about other people’s bodies and adds to your own body distress.
No derogatory body statements. If you start to think or share a negative body statement (My arms are disgusting!), change it to a neutral or kick-ass statement instead. A neutral statement could be the following: My arms are hanging out in my sleeves. This is a simple, non-judgmental narrative. A kick-ass statement would go like this: My arms are powerful and look fantastic in this shirt. Focus on the parts of your body that you appreciate and how they function to support your daily life.
When clothes don’t fit, blame the clothes, not your body. Ready-to-wear clothes were not designed using your measurements. It is unreasonable to expect clothes to fit your unique size. Consider paying for alterations to create a fit that works for you.
*We realize most stores are not size inclusive, making it a challenge to find larger sizes. For folks who are size 28+ checkout Jes Baker’s fantastic resource for plus size shopping.
Compliment those around you. Avoid comments that reinforce ideal beauty standards (That slims your waist.). Thinner isn’t better, despite what diet culture demands us to believe. Here are some potential compliments: Your eyes light up in that dress. I love that pattern or color. You are so much fun to be around. I love your honesty and kindness. Noticing the beauty and attributes of others helps us find it in ourselves.
Respect body diversity. We all come in a variety of shapes and sizes—true originals. Your body is genetically yours. Honor it, and remember that you are much more than your appearance. A different body will not make you more worthy, happy or intelligent.
No one is perfect at this, but doing so will make your shopping experience way more bearable, if not actually fun. Not much of a shopper? Try these tips today when you look in the mirror or are around coworkers, friends or family.