How I Learnt to Happily Shop for my Mid-Size Body

In a recent post, I wrote all about my favourite affordable brands for mid-size style. As I said over there, I spent my whole life feeling like I didn’t fit in; I wasn’t a size 8 and I wasn’t plus size. I really struggled with this through my teenage years, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. As I’ve hit my early twenties, I’ve learnt to accept my average, mid-size body.

I have curves! My boobs need a bit of space! My thighs are thick! I have some fat on my stomach! And, the groundbreaking one, fat is just a word! It’s just a name for something biological!

As I’ve been reflecting on this, I really wanted to write about my journey (this makes it sound so serious… but I suppose it is a journey, I’ve probably got further to go) to clothing and shopping for my mid-size body – and doing it happily.

By no means do I have the perfect approach to this. I still have down moments where I find something I’d love to wear and have those horrible thoughts creeping in, telling me it’s not suitable for my body type or I’d look horrendous in it. But, I have these much less than I used to. And quite honestly, it feels liberating! So, here are my top tips to shopping happily for whatever your body type.

Size is just a number… and literally nothing else!

I spent so many years obsessing over being a certain size and not wanting to buy, own or wear clothes over a specific number. And this was such a waste of time! As I’ve hit my early twenties, I’ve realised that the sizes they put on clothes are literally just a number; they mean absolutely nothing! It’s no comment on you as a person, your worth, your strengths, weaknesses, the people you love and the people that love you. It’s just a number on fabric you use to clothe your body. It. Means. Nothing.

Following on from this, clothes are made to fit you – you are not a size.

You do not have to slim down to fit in certain sized clothes to feel or look good. You are not a size – they are. They have been made to fit you. Get whatever size will fit your body, or size up or down to get the fit you want. You want oversized? Get a few sizes bigger. I’ve started using sizing to my own advantage so I don’t let it use me. I do not have to fit in certain sizes. However, I understand that having a mid-size, average body is a very privileged position to be in and not everyone has the luxury of clothing sizes both smaller and bigger than theirs to choose from.

Sizes will fit in one shop but won’t in another – but that’s fine!

I now own clothes that range from a size 10 to a size 18 and when I shop for clothes, I know that each shop has slightly different sizes so I’m not upset if I have to size up in one and size down in another. For example, if I’m buying from ASOS (own brand), I know a size 12 is perfect for me, but in Topshop, I’m more likely going to need a size 14.

Figure out what makes you feel nice.

For years I used to buy whatever I thought was on trend or what I saw other people wearing. I ended up just feeling like I wasn’t good enough because it didn’t feel nice on me. Now, I buy things I know will make me feel good. I know a bodycon dress will NOT make me feel nice, but a midi wrap skirt paired with a cute crop top will. And I’m OK with that – I don’t want to wear things that don’t make me feel happy anymore just because other people are or because it’s all over Instagram.

One of the most important for me – update your Instagram feed with style that inspires you and people that make you feel represented.

For me, finding the mid-size style community on Instagram was an absolute godsend. I felt represented and inspired. I felt excited to try on new outfits and find new pieces to add to my wardrobe. I have to say, it was the first time in my life I saw people on social media who looked like me and were just smashing it. If you’ve related to anything I’ve said so far, I really recommend checking out mid-size style accounts on Instagram.

But also, remember Instagram isn’t everything.

Angles and lighting can do wonders in a picture and I try to remember this when I’m shopping. I try on a dress and I pick out different parts of my body, and I think ‘that girl on Instagram didn’t have any of this when she wore this?’ That’s because she knows her angles. And you don’t know how she was feeling behind that picture. I try so hard to disregard these thoughts and re-focus on finding something that makes me feel good.

At the end of the day, I’ve just tried to fill my life with clothes that make me feel good and I’ve curated the things I see to make me feel inspired and represented. I’ve tried to re-educate myself on what sizing really means (absolutely nothing) and realised that all I have to do is find clothes that fit me and make me feel good.

It’s been a journey, and I’ve still got a way to go, but I feel so much happier now.

10 thoughts on “How I Learnt to Happily Shop for my Mid-Size Body

  1. Charlotte says:

    I needed to read this today and I really resonated with your words. I also spent my entire adolescence crying in changing rooms because a size 10 didn’t fit or a dress didn’t suit me like other girls. I also buy clothes in whatever size I want now. I loved how you phrased it, like we’re taking back control rather than allowing the sizes to control us x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Roni says:

    This was really encouraging to read. I was in a position a few weeks ago where I was shopping for summer clothes but I was also aware that I’ve put on a bit of weight during lockdown and I was finding that really discouraging whilst doing my shopping x

    Roni | myelevatedexistence.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen says:

    I love the tips you gave on this post!! I totally agree with you on filtering your Insta feed.
    Updating my Instagram feed with people who look more like me has totally helped me to feel more confident & secure in how I look.
    Great post!

    Karen x | The K component

    Liked by 1 person

  4. richierichiesroomcom says:

    Hi Alex. I completely agree with you. As long as clothes fit and are comfortable, who gives a flying **** what size they are. I’m 6’2″ and 15 1/2 stone – the problem I usually have in shops is that they cater for the average (which makes sense for them financially, I appreciate that) and so often run out of stock in non-average sizes. As a result, I (or OH on my behalf!) mostly clothes shop online these days (even before the pandemic).

    Liked by 1 person

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