Have you noticed? Every garment promises it—from blouses and dresses to jeans and jackets: “Slim Fit.” “Super Slimming.” “Secretly Slimming.” “Sleek and Slim.” “Slim Style.”
I’ll admit, I’m one of the reasons this marketing strategy works. It’s true; I’ve bought lots of things (and not just clothing) that promised to perfect me upon purchase. So before I start my rant, hear me: I’m guilty.
Now. Let’s move on.
Issue #1: Why do we think that a garment will solve all of our body image issues? (And by “we,” I mean not just you, but me too—see above.) We’re fatter than ever here in the US of A, and the diet industry is growing just as fast as we are. Let’s try a new slimming technology: Let’s eat right and exercise. But let’s eat right because it is the right thing to do and because it is wrong to eat junk and to overeat. Let’s exercise because the benefits are greater than the inconvenience. And then, healthier and stronger, let’s buy what we want and wear what we like, knowing it really isn’t clothes that make a person. It’s character.
Issue #2: Why in the Sam Hill do size two jeans need so-called “slimming technology?” Seriously. It’s one thing to slip slimming secrets into my size 12 jeans; it’s another for size 2’s to promise such nonsense. I’ve seen it, and if you look, you’ll see it too: jeans smaller than size 4, blouses in XS that promise to make their wearers appear even smaller. Crazy. Come on now. Have you ever seen a size 2 person who was just a little on the plump side? If you have, you are the one with the problem—and I mean this—get yourself some help.
Issue #3: What’s so great about being slim? You know what I think? Here’s what I think: I think it’s a white thing. You read me right. I said it’s a white thang. A Caucasian quirk. How do I know? I know because I have lived my life surrounded by people of other ethnicities. Not only did I attend inner-city schools, I’ve worked and lived in environments where my pale skin put me in the minority. And it’s been my experience that other ethnic groups have more liberal attitudes about beauty. Lots of things define beauty. Skinny can be beautiful. And so can curvaceous. Green eyes, dark eyes; light skin, dark skin, freckled skin; curly hair, straight hair, streaked hair, natural hair, permed hair; long legs, short legs, fat legs, skinny legs, legs that climb on rocks. It’s all good. So get with it white folk; then get over it.
Well, in the words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.” (Which is of course an outright lie: I could talk for days about this topic—or any other). So I’ll just close with what I used to close my Weight Watchers’™ meetings with, “You are beautiful today. When you lose weight, you will be thin and beautiful. But today, you are just plain beautiful.”
Saturday, my daughters, mother (aka Gangi), and I took a little downtown shopping trip in Asheville, NC. We planned to visit several shops but wound up spending all of our time at Virtue, the (and this is not an opinion, but a fact) absolute hands-down best dress shop in Asheville. The girls found great deals on adorable dresses (deals made even better by the presence of Gangi’s credit card) and we left with smiles on our faces, clutching our adorable daisy-print Virtue bags.
This is always great fun for my mother because she and Daddy had such a limited budget when I was little that Mother made all of our clothes. Easter dresses, cowboy suits, neckties, bathing suits, all of it. She’s still the one the grandkids go to for needed mending and alterations. Anyway, now Mother truly enjoys shopping with us and treating us to the little extras she couldn’t afford years ago.
As soon as we got home, we began sorting through our goodies. Among other things, Gangi had gotten Trellace a lovely goldenrod cable knit sweater, embellished with buttons larger than 50-cent pieces. She removed the tags and modeled it for Gangi who oohed and ahhhed.
“Oh I love it Trellace! It looks just great on you,” she said, her glasses perched on her nose as she examined it with her seamstress eyes, looking for stray threads and fabric flaws. “Here’s an extra button,” she said, clipping the little zip-lock baggy off the sweater’s tag. “Don’t lose that!”
Trellace looked over her shoulder at her grandmother and then down at the proffered notion, tentatively accepting it. As she looked at it, clearly uncertain of what to do with such a thing, she handed it back to Mother saying, “Umm, can’t you just keep it Gangi?”