Updated: Apr 14, 2022
By: Abby Emmert & Gabby Morreale
No matter what kind of eating disorder you have, you probably know that buying clothes, trying on clothes, going through your clothes that you currently own in recovery is so frustrating. Mostly because you know that your body is going to be different, but we promise that's ok!! Also knowing you may have outgrown or may need to outgrow some of these clothes in the future can feel stressful. This unknown or unpredictability can be really frustrating and honestly extremely scary when you’re recovering. It might mean that the sizes you’re used to wearing will be different in a couple weeks or months. We totally get how hard this can be but, we hope that what you learn in this post will help make that process a little bit easier.
If you don’t already know the history behind clothes in manufacturing here’s a little lesson! Before mass production became a large part of our culture and what we rely on for clothes and other goods, clothes were actually tailored specific for the body that was going to be wearing them. Kinda cool! This meant that there wasn’t any zero or double zeros to 14 or 20 or above, sizes were just taken and made based on each individual body. This was a tailor's job. Different from what tailors do now… which might be just bringing in clothes or adjusting them based on the size that you bought them. In the past every clothing piece that you had was handmade, and it was made and designed specifically for your body. I don’t know about you but this sounds pretty good to me?!
Think about all the restrictions that we do just to get into a size that we think means something about ourselves. Before I got ahead of myself, let me further explain the history of manufacturing. At some point during one of the world wars we realized that it was easier to mass produce clothing than to have it individually made. So sizes were determined based on some kind of standardization.
This standardization is often harmful and honestly makes very little sense. Rather than having our clothing made for our specific bodies we started to try to fit our bodies into the clothing and the sizes that we thought determined are worth or said something about ourselves and our health. It’s actually so so dangerous because what the normal size is in our country is actually like a 12 and 14… Not a 2 or 4. But there’s so much stigma around large sizes and larger bodies that we’ve connected health to a clothing size rather than so many factors that go into determining our health including mental and emotional.
So where this goes with our recovery bodies and clothing is reminding yourself that clothing size doesn’t actually determine anything other than a rough estimate of what clothing might fit your body. The other important aspect of this to recognize is that as I mentioned before sizes were standardized, but they aren’t anymore. So you might notice that in one store you’re a 6 but you’re going to another store and you’re at 12… That’s because stores like American Eagle can decide that they want to make their sizes smaller than another store so that way when you walk in you think you’re buying a 4 and you feel good about yourself rather than going to the next-door where you’re a 8 or 10 or 14 and that makes you feel bad about yourself. Rather than having the emotions of shame or guilt when you walk into a store and you’re a different size than the one before it has nothing to do with your body and has everything to do with that store deciding what standard they are using for their clothing sizes. Trust us it's not you girl it's them!!!
Just another reminder that size does not determine your worth or what you deserve and what you can wear with clothing. Another massive problem in this country and our culture is that not all bodies can find clothing that fits them in every store. This just adds to the stigma that smaller bodies deserve clothing and trends and larger bodies don’t. This is BULL every woman is worthy of feeling not only good in her skin but good in her clothes. So how we go back to the conversation of clothes and your recovery body is this. It can be really hard when you’re recovering and seeing the size of your body change and then the clothing sizes change as well. The part of this article I want you to remember is that sizes really don’t matter and they’re not standardized across all stores. So pay little attention to the size and more about how you feel mentally and physically when you’re recovering. Pay less attention to the size and more to what you’re gaining in your life as a result of recovering and no longer being fixated on that size.
A little trick that I recommend to a lot of clients when they are recovering is not to necessarily get rid of clothing when they are recovering or changing in the recovery body, but instead designate a box to the clothing that doesn’t fit anymore and place it out of sight. This reduces the shame and guilt you. Out of sight out of mind can actually be very helpful in recovery at times. You never have to go back to that place of forcing yourself to fit in something. Clothes are meant to fit your body not the other way around! Healing your relationship with both food and your body is possible don’t let the ideas that diet culture teaches us about clothes and their silly size system hold you back another day.
If you are struggling please know you are not alone and our team at Recovered and Restored are here for you! Let's challenge diet culture, the fashion industry, and anything that stands in the way of your recovery together!
We have immediate openings right now for eating disorder therapy in:
Delaware, New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
And recovery coaching worldwide.
Recovered and Restored is an eating disorder therapy center founded by Gabrielle Morreale. We specialize in helping teens and young women heal from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, and binge eating disorder and treat disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. We provide eating disorder therapy in the towns of Horsham, Upper Gwynedd, Lower Gwynedd, North Wales, Lansdale, Hatfield, Blue Bell, Doylestown, and nearby towns with eating disorder therapy. Also providing virtual eating disorder therapy in New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida. Some towns served virtually but are not limited to Pittsburg, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Center City, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Mount Laurel, Cape May, Avalon, Brick, Dover, New Castle, Bethany Beach, Marydel, and Oceanview.
Click here to get started with therapy today! : https://www.recoveredandrestoredtherapy.com/.