The life-changing experience of sizing up

Words by Bianca O'Neill

Illustration by Twylamae

Why we shouldn’t hold onto the idea of being a certain size.

Getting older comes with a series of sartorial challenges and depressing choices. Do you cover your growing forehead lines with Botox, or dedicate your life to an annoying fringe? How do you transition your wardrobe into your 30s without looking old? And why are your weekends suddenly an endless parade of baby showers?

But one of the most challenging parts of getting older is accepting the fact that your body changes with age – regardless of if you choose to have kids or not. As it becomes harder to maintain your toned shape from your 20s, and your patience wears too thin to deal with the super-tight clothing of your youth, it’s no wonder most women graduate to an artsy-sack-dress-filled existence.

After all, at some point, you just get too tired to bother trying to hide the fact you’ve undone your pants under the table after one too many dumplings.

For a really long time, I held onto the idea of being a certain size. The number on my clothing really did define how I felt about myself – as sad as it sounds. I loathed the idea of throwing away old clothing that had become too small, telling myself that I’d just start doing more sessions at barre in the hopes of squeezing into those skinny jeans again.

But one day it clicked; I hadn’t put on weight, really – I’d just grown really fkn tired of squeezing into tight clothing.

I started buying a size up, on everything. Looser denim waistbands no longer dug into my muffin top after a large burrito. Jumpers no longer clung to my stomach, which had always made me feel so self-conscious. I purchased only pants that had a stretchy section at the back, to ensure long hours at my desk didn’t cut off the circulation.

Everything was suddenly so comfortable. Sizing up actually made me appear thinner. And nothing clung to my body, so I no longer fell into those terrifying morning body shame spirals.

I felt like my entire wardrobe was comprised of fashionable tracksuits – and I LOVED IT. I felt like an Olsen twin attending the Met Gala in a witchy leather moo moo, surrounded by PYTs in body-con dresses that can’t be worn with underwear.

Women are conditioned from day one to define themselves by the number on their clothing label – so much so, that the idea of purposely sizing up feels like a miniature revolution. Sizing up is counter-intuitive to our societal expectations; our entire existence rotates around sizing down. Why would you want to size up?

Well, I’m here to tell you that the experience of sizing up is life changing. And not just because you can finally throw away all your shapewear. That shit is just a legal form of torture…

Follow Bianca’s oversized wardrobe journey at @bianca.oneill

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