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Getting Past the “But It Fits!” Mentality

March 1, 2012

I can remember pretty vividly being a teenager and shopping at Target with my friends. I pretty much bought any item that would fit me in the junior’s section because I just wanted to be able to purchase items from the same place as my friends. This continued in college, too, when I started working at Gap Outlet. The outlet carried up to XXL, so there were items that I liked that also fit, but I still found myself buying almost every item that fit me correctly. Those items worked with “my style” but my style was dictated strictly by items that were loose fitting enough to fit on my body. (Not to mention if a rare item at Banana Republic fit me then I bought it in all colors–many of them sat in my closet because they didn’t truly fit)

So where am I going with this? Well even after being introduced to so many new-to-me retailers, I still feel panicked about shopping. If I see a dress, I still feel the need to purchase it incase I never find one like it again. With certain brands (like ASOS) who are more popular with the bloggers but don’t carry my size, I feel this need to keep every item that fits me, even if it’s not a great item. It’s like I don’t feel “legit” until I’m wearing a brand that others recognize, and that’s just silly when I really think about it, but it’s still really affected by my previous feelings about clothing.

The most recent “But It Fits!” dress–that I WILL return!

So how do I get past the years of conditioning my shopping habits to the “But It Fits!” mentality? Partly I think I need to start recognizing when I’m holding onto an item because I kind of like it or whether it’s more emotionally driven by my shopping hang ups. I also think finding all of these new stores has led me from shopping seasonally to shopping continuously, and I really, really just don’t need to do that since I’m not thinking about what I truly need.

Am I alone in trying to break old or new not-so-helpful shopping habits? Do you ever have to deal with the “But It Fits!” mentality?

53 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2012 11:00 pm

    I used to be like that too (and kind of still am). It’s sometimes so hard to find a piece of clothing that fits correctly, let alone that it’s actually cute, that when I see it I just have to buy it in case I don’t find anything like it again. It’s a constant ‘shopping war’. I love how that colors really looks great with your skin tone, but the shape washes off your curves. If there is a good thing about being plus sized, is that we actually have curves, lol.

    • March 5, 2012 10:48 pm

      I so agree, Yadsia! It is a shopping war.. I tend to go into battle a little to often hahaha. Yea, I love the color, but the shape isn’t great. Guess I’ll have to keep working on thinking through if I really want an item or not.

  2. March 1, 2012 11:18 pm

    You are definately not alone! I’m working on not buying clothes that are “safe” or “age appropriate”. I think when I limit myself I’m doing myself a disservice. I bought the same ASOS Curve dress & while “it fits”, it looked matronly on me. In the past I would’ve kept it b/c “it fits” but now I dont think twice about returning an item that doesn’t enhance my curves.

    • March 5, 2012 10:49 pm

      Yeah, it’s really time to wake up and realize if one item doesn’t fit, there are so many other things that will work better for me. Old habits die hard!

  3. Cyndi permalink
    March 1, 2012 11:47 pm

    I can definitely relate… I’ve always been the type to go shopping and find something that “almost fits”. By almost, it might not zip up, it might not go over my shoulders, really, I’m not sure what standard I used. I figured, by the time it fits, it will look great! However, I found that I did a lot of donating- whether I gained or lost weight, the item might not have seen the light of day, or may have just looked bad at the right size. I’m trying very hard to restrict myself to buying things that fit my body as it is, and letting the item go if it doesn’t (even on sale!), at THIS moment, work for me. It takes practice though…

    • March 5, 2012 10:52 pm

      Yes, yes, yes!! Biggest lesson learned once I started blogging is to NOT settle for any item that does not fit me. No more struggling into items!

  4. March 2, 2012 12:05 am

    You are not alone! I was recently pondering this myself. I love pretty dresses but finding ones that fit and look nice is really hard. So my “style” is very t-shirts/polo and jeans because those are the easiest things to find, not because it’s what I want to wear. Now that I’m sewing more for myself, it’s really made me take a hard look at how I want to dress myself. My style shouldn’t be defined by a handful of stores. It should be defined by me! I just got rid of a bunch of shirts that I have only because they fit, not because I like them. It felt a little wasteful since they are still useable but having the extra space in my closet makes me focus on what could be in there: a wardrobe that reflects my personality and not just my size. Maybe there should be one of those blog banner/challenge things for “I promise not to buy clothing that fits my body but not the person inside.”

    • March 5, 2012 10:55 pm

      Yay! Good for you! I think clothes can work either to hide yourself in or to express yourself. So glad you are beginning to do the latter! That’s awesome that you’re learning how to sew your own clothes. That’s something I’m going to aim to learn once I finish my degree 🙂

  5. March 2, 2012 1:09 am

    This was definitely me last year. I was clinging to SO many things just because they fit but none of them fit my style. One day I woke up and literally cut my closet down by more than half and started over basically from scrap. Best thing I ever did for myself. I’m sure a lot of plus women can relate to your experience!

    • March 5, 2012 10:57 pm

      Thank you for commenting! I have to admit that I was surprised that so many readers could relate, but the surge of new stores definitely has changed the game in what women can wear. I haven’t bought from Lane Bryant in over a year, and I used to feel like I HAD to shop from there.

  6. Denisa Dellinger permalink
    March 2, 2012 1:17 am

    Oh please take that blue dress back!! But.. with your panache, I bet even you could dress it up, but as you say, this is not the best for you. My turning point was watching the brittish show version of What Not To Wear. Those girls really showed me to look for my figure points and what style would look best and flatter me. I found out what kind of shirts to buy, the style of pants to wear, the shape skirt to wear, blazer shape, pattern color, jewelry, even shoes. I bought their books and read. I began to look for those styles when shopping and the “just because they fit or “were comfortable” became less important. And as you get older and more discerning, you learn that because it is on “sale” should not be the primary reason you buy either. It is not a deal if it hangs in your closet and you never wear it. I think the internet has helped tremendously to choose clothing. But nothing beats going to the store and trying it on. Sizes are deceptive. If you have favorite brands that fit, it is good to stay with those. If I find a good deal now, I think, do I need it and can I afford it? I give it a day to think about it. If I really like it, it will be there tomorrow. I guess it really is true. Buy a few key pieces and build your wardrobe around these pieces. Invest in good pieces. One thing I always try to do is invest in good undergarments and good comfortable shoes. Only buy the stuff you love and will wear. Don’t bring your credit card into the mall with you. Just look.

    • March 5, 2012 10:58 pm

      Great suggestions! I need to work on the “because it is on “sale” should not be the primary reason you buy either” lesson. My problem is that I love TOO MANY clothes, haha 🙂

  7. March 2, 2012 2:44 am

    I totally understand where you are coming from, I know from time to time that I still feel like that. I’ve been trying to put limitations on what I buy now, and have decided i’m going to ebay off all those clothes that I have that I don’t wear. I have so much of it.

    • March 5, 2012 10:59 pm

      Yeah, I just did a big closet sale, and I STILL have more things. I have to stop shopping at those short sale sites like Ideeli, too, because I end up buying things I don’t need.

  8. March 2, 2012 4:28 am

    I totally relate when t comes to shoes. I wear a size 12 and own over 200 pairs of shoes, but only wear about 50% of them. (f that much)..I still have the mentality that when I find a shoe that fits I need to buy it because 1) it Fits! 2) I need to prove to retailers that size 12 shoes do sell and 3) I may never find a shoe like that in my size again…

    So I think whenever you are a size that is anything out of the norm, that mentality sneaks in for the above 3 reasons… it’s sad but sometimes the feelings are pretty valid, especially no. 2 and 3…

    LiteralGemini.blogspot.com

    • March 5, 2012 11:01 pm

      I so, so hear you! Since I’m at the cut off size that many retailers stop at (28), I also feel the need to prove there is a market to sell to. And you’re right, those feelings can be completely valid. Thanks for helping me think through this.

  9. March 2, 2012 7:00 am

    I feel your pain lady. I can wear some straight sizes (but I am a pretty firm 16/18) and if I can, more times than not I buy that item just because I can. And it makes me crazy. Some of the items I wear more than others but more often or not they get purged for other items that fit me better, i.e. something I have purchased from a plus size line.

    I think you are so pretty and you have such a unique sense of style that wearing a dress that is frumpy or matronly on you would do your curves a disservice!

    • March 5, 2012 11:02 pm

      Yea, it’s interesting how those kinds of values creep up in our shopping. We are so used to feeling that we need to fit a mold, that we hold on to items that prove we can be. Takes a lot of undoing to get past this!

  10. March 2, 2012 9:49 am

    This is a great post, Rebecca! I have the same issue of having things that don’t fit my personal style. I think it started within the last year or so, when I actually started caring about fashion more. I got SO excited when I discovered Forever21+, Torrid, etc that I went a little crazy with shopping. I was no longer confined to buying the generic clothes of the Walmart plus-size section, so I felt like I had to scoop up everything when I had the chance.

    But now I have a closet full of things I’ve never worn because they were never really “me” to begin with. I’m solving that problem by cleaning things out and selling them on my blog store. Maybe they’ll fit someone else’s style, then I can use the money to invest in my own style. That’s the hope, anyway! 🙂 I’m still quite the shopper, but now I try to ask myself if the item feels like “me” and if I love it. And, girl, I am not afraid to return something if it turns out not to be my style. LOL

    • March 5, 2012 11:05 pm

      lol, love your response! I found Torrid when I was 17. It was in a mall 3 hours away, and I remember driving all the way out there to buy from them. Not exactly how I wanted to dress, but such a step up from Lane Bryant when you’re a teen.

  11. March 2, 2012 10:14 am

    I have the SAME problem tho now with more plus size retailers I feel more of a sense of ease that more of the same items will be reproduced. Currently I’m snatching up ANYTHING with a peplum on it b/c I have always loved the style but never was able to find it in my size however now that’s it’s trending I see tons of peplum styled items in plus size. Since peplum is always a classic I don’t feel like it’s a bad investment.
    http://www.style4curves.blogspot.com

    • March 5, 2012 11:07 pm

      Very true! I have to remind myself of this sometimes, though it is a bit harder when you’re above a 24. I have to admit that I haven’t bought anything peplum. I almost did, but I feel like I would want it to have sleeves, and every style I see is sleeveless. Ahh, to keep on looking 🙂

  12. March 2, 2012 10:34 am

    I do this, too. I’m right between straight & plus sizes, so I find myself clinging to any straight-sized item that fits me – even if I don’t love it or it doesn’t REALLY fit me. In these cases, “fitting into it” counts as “fitting” – and frankly, we deserve better than that! You have a wonderful sense of style – and even better, a wonderful outlook – & I hope this recognition of the “But it fits!” problem helps you move away from it. You deserve only clothes that make you feel beautiful.

    And seriously. FIND SOMETHING ELSE IN THIS COLOR, because even if the fit isn’t great, the color is! 🙂

    • March 5, 2012 11:11 pm

      Thank you, Kate! I really appreciate your comment, and it’s amazing that so many of us have those tendencies and have to work through them. You’re right, we all deserve better!

  13. March 2, 2012 6:47 pm

    I actually have a “But it ALMOST fits” mentality when it comes to thrifting fabulous items. I have to work hard not to buy too-tight things just because they’re designer label items for cheap.

    • March 5, 2012 11:13 pm

      I’m sure with thrifting it would be hard. I have to admit that I barely thrift. The stores near me have such horrible organization that I can’t handle shopping there. The consignment store near me sometimes has a gem, but very rarely do they carry over a 24. Disappointing for sure!

  14. March 2, 2012 8:19 pm

    I once bought a pale yellow velour shirt from the Limited because ‘it fit’. It was quite possibly the only item in the store that has ever fit me and I swear to this day it was just a mistake. Anyway, it looked horrible on my pale skin but I thought I rocked it with a flannel shirt over it. Did I mention this was 1996?

    These days I focus on what looks good on me. No matter what the size or store it comes from. I’ve found that I feel most beautiful when I like what I’m wearing not just the label.

    • March 5, 2012 11:15 pm

      Exactly Nicole! It’s hard to undo that conditioning though. I went through a phase of buying everything I could squeeze into from New York and Company. Even more recently it was Ann Taylor LOFT. I only stopped doing it once I started blogging, but it took awhile for me to find stores that carried my size and style.

  15. March 2, 2012 8:44 pm

    What a compelling post! Like everyone else who has commented, I have had the same problem and am still try to work on it. At first, so much of my fat acceptance (self-acceptance) journey was focused on clothing so having things that FIT ME(!) was the ultimate goal. I bought so much clothing but so much of it did not look good on me and was not my style at all. I’ve been working through my own “But it Fits” mentality and trying to get rid of the things in my wardrobe that I’m only keeping for emotional reasons. It’s difficult work but I think it something that I have to do.

    Thanks for the great post! Also that color is amazing on you. Don’t fall into my personal pit-fall, which is to not return things until its too late and you can no longer return them…

    • March 5, 2012 11:18 pm

      Oh, I already have that pit-fall. It’s awful!! Thank you for your honest, lovely comment. I’ve definitely bought more clothing in the past year and half than in previous years. When you decide to revise the way you see yourself, you want your clothing to show that. Now I need to calm down my shopping and remind myself it’s okay to let a dress go 🙂

  16. March 2, 2012 9:48 pm

    Oh yes I can relate!
    Especially when op shopping (thrifting). When I culled my wardrobe before moving house I tried to get rid of those kinds of items. I’m still working on it though.
    http://ccurves.blogspot.com.au/

    • March 5, 2012 11:20 pm

      Someone else mentioned thrifting is especially hard with the fit issue. I’m sure it becomes even harder if there is a vintage item that you are truly in love with.

  17. March 2, 2012 11:44 pm

    I do the exact same thing — usually when I’m at thrift stores! It’s so hard not to buy things that fit when they’re so cheap. I’ve been getting better at it though because I seriously need to work on making my wardrobe more cohesive. On another note, I feel like something is missing from that dress? The waistband needs a belt or something. I hope you find something else you like better from ASOS when you return it! 🙂

    molly-pocket.com

    • March 5, 2012 11:23 pm

      Yeah they advertised it with a belt, which would make it look better for sure. I was talking to a friend the other day that I don’t feel like my style has any direction. I like a little bit of everything, but I think sometimes we’re all too close to our closets to see how cohesive they are. I need to challenge myself to mix things up more and see how they all work together.

  18. March 3, 2012 6:08 pm

    I’m the same although my biggest issue is buying things just because they’re cheap! I think it’s worse when you are in school/college as there’s a pressure to ‘keep up’ with what your friends are buying so when we used to go into Topshop, I’d grab the biggest fitting thing in the store & buy it no matter how awful it looked purely because I could get it on!

    • March 5, 2012 11:26 pm

      Yeah, definitely the pressure to keep up is there. I felt it most in high school, but it continued in college. A bunch of people have said the cheap issue, and I definitely see that in my own buying experience too.

  19. Maria permalink
    March 4, 2012 10:04 am

    Been there, done that! Ocassionally it still happens, but less and less as I grow older and wiser LOL. Just read this over at Refinary 29 and thought you might like it. It is a guide to finding your signature style and avoid purchasing items you will not wear. It is not specifically for plus sizes, but it is applicable nonetheless.

    http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing/shopping-guide/signature-style-00000000057328/index.html

    • March 5, 2012 11:28 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Maria! They had good tips! Something I need to do over the summer, cause that would be a major project for me 🙂 haha

  20. Maria permalink
    March 4, 2012 10:05 am

    Sorry, meant to say Real Simple! I had been to both sites and got confused!

  21. March 4, 2012 3:23 pm

    I love this post! I do have this problem too in a way. I usually buy ‘But It Fits!’ stuff that are crazy cheap.. then I can’t say no. I’ve been trying to be better though, and return them even though they’re cheap, but since I do that with thrift stores too, and you can’t return there. I need to start a blog sale of some sorts, I really do. 😀

    xx

    • March 5, 2012 11:30 pm

      yea, blog sales have helped me a lot. I know that I’m still losing out on money because I spent more on the items than I sell them for, but at least I’m getting some value back for them. Hopefully I’ll get better at shopping with purpose!

  22. Sarah permalink
    March 4, 2012 11:23 pm

    Found your blog through random surfing, I applaud you for your impeccable sense of style and fashion. You know how to dress your body to its ultimate advantage. I think you hair would look amazing a little shorter, in an angled bob just under your chin – with layers for height – maybe even bangs.

    • March 5, 2012 11:31 pm

      Thank you Sarah! I had that hair cut for so, so long! All through undergrad. I might go back some day, but I’m enjoying the long hair for now 🙂

  23. March 5, 2012 1:30 am

    i’d say it’s still a habit i can’t quit. although it’s less of a problem, i still struggle with the opposite, too: buying things that don’t quite fit because i love the style, and think that on a “thin” day it will fit. both habits are a waste of money.

    • March 5, 2012 11:33 pm

      Yeah, I hear you. There are a lot of items that I love the style of (take that REALLY short dress I wore a long time ago, black with the white details–you might not remember), but I really don’t feel comfortable wearing because they are too short. I guess it takes awhile to learn what works and doesn’t work.

  24. March 6, 2012 3:15 pm

    Wait, wait! What’s wrong with that dress?! I think you look adorable in it as it is, but with a cute pink belt to match the trim . . .

    Well, this is my first time visiting (thanks to kathastophal), so maybe I’d better look around the site and see how cute you normally look.

    But I’m still not giving up on this dress.

  25. March 13, 2012 7:15 pm

    You are definitely not alone in this! I had similar habits as a teenager and still have those habits in the back of my mind.

    I have days of “But it fits!” or “I like this and need it in all the colors” or “I’ll never find it again!” or the “I might need this later!”. Exhausting. For a few years, I was also buying stuff like crazy because it fit and it was cheap. The thrift store is dangerous.

    With my closet bursting at the seams, I started to shop with purpose – things I “need”, classic pieces and a small budget for the trendy/”must have”/experimental items. But lately my big issue is with fit and quality. Fit is tough. I found myself buying things to have them altered… or being reluctant to HAVE THEM ALTERED because I didn’t want them screwed up.

    Currently, I’m trying to be more ruthless with my choices. And when something is in the sell/get rid of pile… making it leave the house. Too often I rummage through those piles and pull things back out! Ugh.

  26. March 17, 2012 9:07 pm

    I am only just now starting to let go of the “but it fits!” shopping method. I still find myself doing it from time to time, but I’m finding my mojo around shopping getting better and better.

    One of the best things I’ve done for my shopping mojo is to participate in a clothing swap. Give all those “but they fit” things away, (plus the stuff that doesn’t fit) and swap them for some awesome stuff that does rock!

  27. Val permalink
    April 21, 2013 1:09 am

    Sigh…I bought this dress from your blog sale last year. Unfortunately, it also happens to look sort of wrong on me. It is a little matronly, and the color isn’t quite right for me…it’s just not working – “but it fits!”. I was so excited to have a dress from this new-to-me brand (and by way of one of my favorite bloggers) that even though it isn’t quite right, I’ve held on to it this whole time – just pulled it out of my closet again tonight.

    Given that it was the subject of this particular post, I’m going to finally pass it on to someone else so that maybe it will see the light of day again. It has to fit AND look good on *someone*, right?

    ~ Val

    • April 21, 2013 12:59 pm

      Aw, I am sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you, but I AM happy to hear that you will pass it on.

Trackbacks

  1. Weekend Recap & Links I Loved – Week #09/2012 | kathastrophal
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  3. Weekend Recap & Links I Loved – Week #09/2012 • kathastrophal

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