My husband and I were walking with a friend one day and the topic of my weight loss, which she had witnessed part of the progression of, was raised either by me or my husband. She asked me if I was going to go on a big shopping spree for new clothes when I reached my goal weight. My reply was that I would not, and in fact that I have zero interest in clothes. At some point, I would grudgingly need to buy new things, but I was resisting as much as possible. My husband said that was one of the many reasons he loved me.
As some of my long-time readers may know, I have been reluctant to buy new clothes during my weight loss. This isn't about appearance for me, but there are some facts that have to be faced. One is that I've lost half of my starting weight and close to 200 lbs. It's reaching the point where I can no longer take in my old clothes and have them come close to fitting and that I can no longer wear my husband's discards. When this started, I was so much bigger than him that I wore his cast off "big" shirts. Now, the shirts that were too big on him are also too big on me. We wear a similar shirt size, but the shoulders and neck are far too big on me to wear.
About two weeks ago, mainly due to my new part-time job, I gave in and started to buy new things. Note that this is a joyless endeavor for me. Mainly, I reluctantly bought the cheapest summer shirts I could find on a web site I've patronized before. I measured myself to get the size and found that I am in the range of their "1X" size, which is 16W-18W. However, these shirts are by no means a close fit. They're a generous fit, but not voluminous.
One of the things I'm really not enjoying about weight loss is the entry back into sizing issues. Before, it was easy just to buy the biggest size available and hope it stretched to fit if it didn't actually fit well. Generally, the "3X" size would work, though not always with the best possible fit. I didn't have to worry about how I looked because getting something big enough to drape over my flesh was my only concern. Now that I'm working, I also have to think about how I look.
It's a very strange feeling considering my appearance again. I feel uncomfortable with the very notion of showing concern for looks. I want to buy the plainest clothes possible, but am finding that with my limited options, I have to assemble things a bit better than that. The shirts I bought have short sleeves, and some are too short for my comfort. They reveal my incredibly flabby batwings in all of their deflated glory, so I had to find a light covering to hide this flesh which is so loose that it can fold over on itself. The somewhat girly light jacket I bought is too frilly for my usual shoes, so I had to go buy sandals for women instead of my usual tennis shoes and Birkenstocks.
I feel like I'm in an ever growing spiral whereby putting my toe into worrying about what I wear requires me to keep branching out to other things. From shirts, to light sweaters, to pants, to shoes, and to makeup. It feels like there's no end to it and I'm not happy about it at all. I may look better to others, but I really don't feel any better. In fact, I feel shallow and somewhat goofy.
The bottom line is that I feel like a fraud and this is directly related to my sense that I was utterly asexual and incapable of being female as long as I was "huge". I so suppressed any notion or nature of femininity because of my size that I feel like I'm putting lipstick on a pig when I put on what I see as "girly" clothes (not really, but after years of T-shirts, plain stretch pants, and unisex shoes, this is what it feels like).
It's not me, or at least it doesn't feel like me. "Me" is a person who lives in her head, not through a mirror, but I can't help but act in accord with the fact that other people are now encountering me in a more formal setting and my appearance must reflect what is appropriate. I wonder if people can see my acute sense that I'm putting on something which I don't belong in. Can they see I'm a big, fat phony? I don't look "right" when I'm a girl. I'm just a sexless blob and I'm afraid they can see the truth.
I realize this is an identity issue which I need to work on. It's the next step on the path away from the image slapped upon me as a super obese person in the past. I may feel "wrong" in women's clothes, but that doesn't mean others look at me and see anything strange. When I go out the door in those clothes, I try to adopt an attitude which says that I can "sell" this look on myself, and that it works. I'm a woman, and no one is going to question my right to look like one. Considering that I have all the requisite female body parts, this is a lot harder to deeply accept than it should be, but I'll get there.