Fitting Room Reflections

Today, I said goodbye to my favorite skirt of all time.

A nubby-tweed little masterpiece made of teal and cream. Asymmetrical hemline, contrasting trim; Elie Tahari knew what he was doing in Spring 2013.

When I stepped into it for the first time, I actually remember the fitting-room moment... That zipper glided up the side with ease and the tidy little darts sat smoothly on my seat.

I stood dumbfounded as I looked at the number printed onto the tiny cloth tag... I had never been a size zero in my entire life, and yet -- it looked pretty amazing draped over my hard-to-fit hips (and if there is one thing we know, it's that the hips don't lie).

Getting to wear sample sizes and writing "extra-small" on my fit card were both a little bittersweet because I was suddenly smaller for a really crummy reason. A mystery illness that was stumping my doctors (and making me feel like crap), but it was a lot easier to stomach when I stepped in front of a mirror and saw my startlingly much-slimmer frame. 

I had always viewed myself as being just "a little too big" to be thin, and even though it was under fairly-unfortunate circumstances, I embraced my new figure with full-force. Being thin in the Fashion industry certainly pays off, and that is how the skinny version of my wardrobe was born.

This skirt was just the beginning of a long closet-rod (okay, multiple closet rods) full of what were truly My Dream Clothes, and the most incredible part was knowing that many of the pieces were way more expensive than I could afford (and only hanging there as gifts from the designers themselves).

Despite the extreme physical pain (which I'll explain another time), I loved getting dressed everyday and continued to cast-off the clothes that were eventually too big to even stay up around my waist. 

I felt lighter every time I took a bag to donate or sell, and finally stopped thinking of myself as the "moderately sized gal with an athletic build" (which was code for a generously padded seat and a completely flat chest). I no longer had extra skin being squeezed by my extra tight jeans, and the ridiculous joy that I received from this fact seemed to fit me like a glove.   

I was 165 lbs. at my heaviest (thanks to all-you-can-eat fro-yo in our college cafeteria) and 118 lbs. at my smallest.

Nearly 50 lbs. difference on a 5'8" frame, and now I finally understand why those pesky stretch marks popped up without a baby to prove their existence.

Fast forward to now and I'm healthier than I've ever been in my entire life. Still a few medical mysteries to be solved, but overall manageable if I'm careful about avoiding certain foods and taking great care of myself. 

As my body continues to regulate over the past several years, my size has undoubtedly kept shifting.

It started with a pinched bra strap here and a mini-muffin top there, and you can probably guess that these changes have had an impact on my closet as much as they've had on my heart.  

So here I sit, staring at my favorite skirt.

(In case you're wondering, even when the zipper is opened all the way, I can't even pull it on over my thighs. Suddenly a silk-blend straight jacket that literally brought me to my knees as I hopped around trying to pull it on this morning.)

I'm torn between selling her at the consignment store down the street or resourcefully snipping the fabric into a scarf and stuffing the rest into the trash... The latter sounds like it would be both incredibly sentimental, and weirdly satisfying at the same time. 

The bottom line (or hem... whatever), is that I'm sick of defining myself as the size I happen to be wearing during a certain season of my life. 

I hate the way I feel when my clothes are too tight, and this skirt is not the first -- nor will it be the last -- to leave my closet in the same manner. 

The only reason I'm taking a moment to write this all down, is that I can't shake the feeling that I might not be the only one. 

It is SO tough to put this out there, but I can't stop wondering if the dress design swimming around in my heart could be part of the solution to this quite conflicting problem. 

Will report back soon, and please send stretchy pants. 

XOXO - Jessie Pepper