As a kid, my mom made a good portion of my clothes.
We’d travel to Jo Ann Fabrics and flip through these giant books filled with various patterns. If we were lucky, they’d have some out-of-date ones I’d take home and trace to make my own fashions. We’d pick colors on the color palette designated to me by “Color My Beautiful,” a book from the 1970s or 80s that talked about women being springs or autumns.
Apparently, I’m a spring and shouldn’t wear black or red at all. But I wear those two colors almost every day now. I may not look my best, but I feel strong in them. They’re my power colors.
The clothes my mom made during the summer were great fall wear, except when I sat down. Being an unusually tall girl, my mom didn’t know how to create a proper pant leg for a 5 foot 10 inch tall, 12 year old. Inevitably, every pair of pants I had — handmade or store-bought — were high-waters on me, meaning the bottom hem went up to my knee when I sat down.
I was proud and embarrassed at the same time. She spent all this time making these shirts and matching pants for me. And nothing fit right. I was just an awkward person in awkward-looking clothes.
Actually, it’s the clothing companies who are messing up. As an adult, I’ve been finding more women like me — tall, short, skinny, strong. They are all people who don’t fit into store-bought apparel.
Some people I know can’t wear boots because their calves are too big. Others have tiny waists but big hips and long legs.
As an adult, I have only found one … only one … pair of pants that have ever fit me perfectly. They’re what my husband calls my hospital scrub pants — a pair of Skirt Sports Sanitas. They have an adjustable drawstring in the pant legs that lets me turn the pants into capris. They’re razz colored and I only have two maybe three shirts to wear with them.
They are a little too flashy for my tastes, but I love having pants that are roomy yet fit properly. I love shirts that show off my curves but don’t feel like it will rip in half when I stretch my arms. Those are really hard to find.
We are not all the same body, and never have been. Clothing companies are slowly figuring it out, as more of them unveil plus-size clothing lines and small start-ups appear on the internet.
I will admit, I did my best to wear proper clothing when appropriate. I cried after school because of my high-waters.
Now, at the age of my-give-a-dang’s-busted, they’re a badge of honor. I’m too tall to be normal. My arms have a little too much muscle for women’s size shirts. My thighs have run too many miles to wear skinny jeans. My belly carries scars and excess weight from carrying three beautiful kids in my womb. My feet have carried me for so many miles that normal shoe stores don’t carry anything that can match their awesomeness.
Humans need clothing that is strong enough to handle all of us, not just the parts that fit into their pattern. I look forward to a day in which I can find a perfect outfit without scouring the internet. Until then, I’ll embrace what I’ve been given.
Side note: I hate shopping for the very reason above. It’s very discouraging to shop and find only dab, ill-fitting clothing. My daughter has always loved blues and purples, but girls fashion tends to be more neon and pink. If you know of any good clothing companies that cater to everyone, leave a message in the comments so maybe the girls in my family can find something to wear.