Monday, March 12, 2012

The Big and Tall Shop

We went out this weekend and happened to see an old Big and Tall shop the Mr used to faithfully buy all of his clothes from.  As we approached it I said that I wanted to go inside just to see and he said he was torn about it but was curious too.  We went in and it was basically the same kind of stuff we remembered when he last shopped there about 2 years ago.  There was one big change...

Those pants are what the Mr used to wear at his heaviest.  He can now fit in one leg of those cargo pants.  We each held a side and looked at the circumference of the pants and we just couldn't believe that was our "normal."  It was normal to go straight to the 54 or 56 jeans or to look at the 5x shirts or just before we got our act together, a few 6x tees.  It is amazing what you adjust to.  That was as normal for us as it is for you to pick up a new pair of jeans in whatever size you're in.

We continued to go look and despite them saying they had XL's, we couldn't find any and out of the whole store, there were maybe 3 things that were the Mr's size in there.  So we had him try on a pair of clearance jeans in his size.  When he opened the door, they still looked way too big on him because they were a relaxed fit.  I told him if we already had them at home, they'd be going to the donate pile so no go.  We also couldn't believe the prices we used to pay.  $65 for a pair of jeans when we now pay $20.  $40 for a polo when we pay half that or even $12 at Old Navy on a good sale.  I guess that's why we donate our clothes as soon as we shrink out of them because we want the expense to be a deterrent to not gain the weight back as well.  When we left, we both felt really sad.  It was just so eye opening to revisit that old life.

We're grateful not only that the Mr no longer has to shop there anymore but we're also grateful for those that it continues to serve.  Those who are still overweight or obese that have either not committed to putting their health first or have done so but are still needing their clothing until they size out of them.  These places give overweight men a dignified place to shop with tee's that are similar to what you'd find at Target or jeans in the latest style.  It wasn't always this way.  I remember when I was a kid,  heavier guys didn't have much choice in what they had to wear.  I remember my grandpa had to wear these weird colored blue jeans with orange thread and they were just so generic looking.  I'm glad the Mr never knew that fate, he deserved better.  All big men do.

Have you looked at your clothes from your heaviest weight and not recognized them anymore based on the size?

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  1. The only thing I really noticed was that the plus-sized shops suddenly started having cute clothes when I could no longer wear those sizes. (I'm talking about you, Catherine's!)

  2. I were very much the same styles no matter what, so I guess no. The thing is though, for the styles I want for work (long skirts, conservative blouses, dress pants) it's actually easier to find them in larger sizes. When I weigh less, I guess I'm supposed to wear shorter skirts, and lower cut blouses.

  3. I hated all my clothes from my heaviest weight, literally lived in sweats for 9 years. But there are a few that I saved from BEFORE that, that I skipped right by as I lost the first 30 lbs., that I kind of miss!

    I guess the thing to do is go out and buy some really cute clothes for NOW and stop waiting for the ultimate me!

  4. "Size out of them." What a weird phrase. It used to apply to REGULAR size stores for me. I sized out of them. Then I got to the point where even the BIG sized stores and the WOMEN's sections of regular stores had little variety in the 5x's and size 56's I needed, and I was limited to catalog shopping. When I had lost enough weight that I could start shopping in the WOMEN's sections of stores, I was elated. Even being able to fit into the 4x sweaters in the catalogs was exciting, because a lot of those prettier sweaters didn't come as big as 5X, and although I tried, 4X just wasn't big enough for my 328 lbs. Admittedly, I didn't want anything too tight.
    I had to give away so many clothes along this journey--and it took me a long time to get the courage to do that too. I was fearful that actually getting rid of the clothes would be like the kiss of death and I would immediateloy regain (as I had always done in the past). Because I got excited, and bought too many things on the way down, they all went to the donation pile, some that I had never even gotten a chance to wear.
    Last summer I was looking for a swimming suit. I had bought one in size 24 on the way DOWN, but of course it was huge by the time I got to 160 lbs. I went to Catherine's, and realized everything there was too big now. That was the first time I had experienced "sizing out." I ended up with a size 12 suit from Penney's, that fit great, even though it exposed too much excess upper leg and arm skin! Oh well, it's my badge of honor, right?
    Anyhow, "SIZING out of clothes" is a good thing used in this way. I march right by the Lane Bryant Store now on my way to get my nails done at the mall. I go to the Misses sections to shop, instead of the WOMEN's sections. And yet, like you, I'm glad those stores are there, although I do wish the clothes were a little more reasonably priced. My son is working on his weight, having lost over 100 lbs., in the last couple of years, but still needs those BIG sizes. I know he would like to be able to wear more stylish things, the NAME-brand clothes that are so popular, but that is still a few pounds away, so the LARGE size clothing stores certainly fill a BIG (pun intended) need, don't they?

  5. Sometimes I look at clothes I used to wear and can't believe I was ever that big. Even when I know I was, it's just hard to wrap my head around. I kept a pair of pants I used to wear, and a sweatshirt. I did this for comparison photos. After I tried the sweatshirt on, which was a 3x and it used to be tight on me, I couldn't believe how huge it was. It was surreal. I love that I can find nicer clothes now. Before I felt like I had to just find something in my size, and now I can usually just like something and get it because they have my size. It's a great feeling. I have given away the clothes that were too big. I was scared at first when I did this, but it helps me to know I don't have them to fall back on.

  6. What an awesome reality check!

  7. And for women too! I'm still fairly traumatized by the fact that I couldn't find a prom dress. They just did not exist in my size, even at Lane Bryant.

    I echo your sentiments...the prices I pay for clothing now are insanely cheap by comparison...

  8. It was truly eye opening to say the least. Looking at those size 56 jeans it just seemed impossible that that was my norm. If there is anyone out there now reading this and you are wearing that size or more just know that it is sooo possible to break free and a new life is not as far away as it might seem. The Mrs. and I are living proof of this.

  9. I used to wear a pair of scrub pants that I remember were as big around as I was tall. It made me so embarrassed, and I got rid of them when I got out of that size. For years we never had full length mirrors because I couldn't stand seeing any part of myself than my face. I remember catching a glimpse of my arm in my husbands old jeep and thinking, who is this person. It wasn't who I felt like on the inside. Pretty heavy stuff. I feel sad sometimes because I think of all the things I didn't allow myself to do because of my weight (go swimming with friends, go four wheeling, horseback riding, etc). I should make a list of all the things I didn't allow myself to do when I was heavier and do them ALL!

  10. @jamie, you just reminded me of my own prom dress problems. I went shopping with all my girlfriends while they tried on prom dresses and none fit me. I ended up going by myself the weekend after and bought a dress from plus sized womens section. I just wanted to feel like I could fit in for once and enjoy the styles everyone else wanted to wear. These are the experiences that help me remember wear I've come from!

  11. Thanks so much everyone for sharing your stories. My prom dress was also plus size but right on that border so I just eeked into it. I was lucky that the one I wanted just happened to come in my size but I didn't know that until way later in the excursion so I was looking for the dress I would "settle" for. I think plus sized girls today have it a lot better than we all did. We'll have a to have a prom when we're at goal weight and go in a smoking hot dresses! :)

  12. It's always really humbling for me and The Roommate to see the clothes that formerly fit us. We got so excited the other day because now he can shop the thrift stores and other places where clothes aren't so effing expensive.

    A huge chunk of my budget went toward clothing because I wanted to make sure that I looked as stylish and professional as everyone else at work and we all know that big folks' clothes cost more.

    It feels so awesome to see those sizes steadily going down and discovering the fantastic range of choices out there. I almost cried when I shifted out of the women's section into ladies in Wal-Mart. :)


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