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My Clothes and I Are Not Speaking to Each Other

Illustration for article titled My Clothes and I Are Not Speaking to Each Other

Most of the time my clothes and I have a pretty good — and simple — relationship. My body requires covering; my clothes provide that covering. But some days, the button of my jeans pokes me in the belly, the neckline of my shirt slides around and my shoes revolt against the idea of being occupied by feet. Sometimes my clothes and I are in a fight. And sometimes my clothes are winning.


The problem is that certain pieces are moody. There are the pants with the waistband that refuses to stay around the waist. There is the dress with a scoop neckline that likes to slip too low and expose my bra. (Actually, quite a few tops know this trick as well.) There's a shirt that always rides up my belly and a pair of socks that just won't stay on my heels — sliding down into my shoes as I walk. I used to have a skirt that would twist and turn as I walked while wearing it, so that I would leave home with the zipper in the back and arrive at work with the zipper on the side, toward the front.

Sometimes I look in my underwear drawer and see nothing but old, tired underpants that I loathe, and that I know loathe me right back.


I know what you're thinking: If your clothes don't fit properly, get rid of them! Well, yes, but then I would have nothing to wear. Okay, that's not true. I don't have issues with all of my garments. Just certain items. And yet: I find myself reluctant to get rid of those pieces. It seems like after I take them off, I end up washing them, and putting them back in the closet or drawer from which they came, only to be faced with them again another day. Why don't I donate the shoes that are adorable, but make my feet ache? Why don't I throw away the jeans that won't stay up (or, at the very least, buy a belt?)

Maybe I still see the potential in my ornery clothes. Whatever qualities I saw in each garment when we first met — great color, breathable fabric, ability to go with a bunch of other things I own — are usually still there. (Or at least, in my mind, they are.) Maybe I'm plagued by a stubborn optimism: This time things will be different! Or a poor memory: I forgot how much these shoes hurt the balls of my feet. Or maybe some kind of incredulousness: I can't believe this is happening. Actually, I think it's pure anger: You have betrayed me. You are dead to me. I am not speaking to you and I am going to ignore you until the next time I need something to wear.

Sometimes I think it's me, that my body needs changing, reshaping, altering. But then I think, No, fuck that, Old Navy needs to learn how to make a T-shirt that hides your bra, dammit! Or something of the sort. And the other day, when I started bitching about the zipper on my jeans that won't stay up, someone else in the office mentioned the button on her pants that kept popping open. So yeah, some of us are fighting with our clothes. Duking it out with our duds. Apparel altercations. At least I'm not alone.

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I have a love-hate relationship with Old Navy. On one hand, their bottoms (skirts, pants, shorts, jeans, anything) never fit me right, and their t-shirts always seem to wear out after about three washes. On the other hand, they have a great selection of tall girl clothes that don't cost a squillion dollars an item. I have yet to find another retailer who consistently has tops that are both long enough and broad enough in the shoulders to fit me right that I can actually afford.