Posted by: VoiceinRecovery | October 18, 2010

A Lesson in Body Image from William Rast Jeans & Marshalls

I love thrift shops. Love is probably an understatement. I am a bargain hunter by design, able to sift through and find labels, designs, colors, and leave with a huge collection of awesomeness. I went about a month ago and bought a pair of jeans I knew may or may not fit, but was the size I think I am (I am this size in other brands). Honestly it mattered MORE to me that they were a pair of William Rast jeans, than the size, I think if they were a bigger size I would have bought them as well, because a good deal is too hard to pass up. I am a lover of jeans, I have another style in William Rast and they fit, and they were $75 bucks at Nordy’s Rack versus the $25 they were at the huge thrift store I love. So I bought them absolutely pleased with my savings, and would try them on later.

They were washed and hung up in the closet to be forgotten for a week. One morning, I decided I would try them on before work, because I am able to wear anything to work I like (a definite perk to the move back to Cali). I put only one leg in to decide 1) they would not pass my thigh comfortable, and 2) I would have to use the pliers like women did in the ’70s to be able to get into them. My mood instantly shifted after this, I threw them aside, and put on another pair of jeans instead.

Ever since I moved back to Cali, I know my weight has fluctuated. I had stopped pilates, been on a road trip, changed my location, food, stressors, etc. That is absolutely normal and ok. I know I need to find a pilates class, NOT because of my need to lose weight, but because pilates has numerous benefits, including a better body image, better strength, a stress outlet, a break from the normal day, etc. I also know my food intake needed to be adjusted, and so I started incorporating more greens, salads, fruits, and less sugar, processed foods, etc. These minor changes didn’t come about because of body image concerns.

The jeans, and my current jeans, did affect my body image. The old ones felt tighter, the new ones didn’t fit at all, and overall I was pissy at myself only when in the jeans. Lame right? To allow jeans to determine your body image? Mostly I would smack the inner voice, and tell myself, I was more than my weight, repeat self love affirmations, and focus on my life.

Last week I went to Marshalls, which is walking distance from my house, a disaster by epic portions for my love of shopping. I went in with no set focus on what I wanted to buy, but of course wandered right into the boot section. I have little will power over a hot pair of boots. I walked away proud, and went into the clothing section to find more cute tops for work, see current (or last season trends) and wander around. I found the jean section, and while I normally struggle with jeans outside the brands I fit in, decided to take a stretchy style of Guess jeans to try on. I took 3 sizes into the dressing room, because I KNOW all brands are different, that a strict “inches” sizing doesn’t mean they are all the same. When in the dressing room I had decided to try on the middle size first, mainly cause that meant I would only have to try on two pairs. I probably could have started with the largest size, to go down as well. Notice I WILL not and DID not try on the smallest size first. I just knew that a size doesn’t matter, but I also know my brain plays tricks on me when changing sizes in a dressing room. I ended up going down a size of the 3 I brought in, however in the end this was a inch larger than the William Rast jeans.

When in the Guess jeans I felt 1) comfortable 2) sexy and 3) my ass looked great. It wasn’t about the SIZE!!! It is about the fit, the comfort, and how it plays my assets (no pun intended lol). I honestly feel better and sexier, and strong body image in pants that FIT versus ones that are smaller in size, tight, and uncomfortable. I walked out of Marshalls aware I had two successful body image wins.

  1. I did NOT let a size determine my worth, I bought a pair up a size, that fit me, and felt that was amazing
  2. I realize and continue to learn and grow with the knowledge that how I carry myself, and what styles I wear, matter to my body image. I like stretchy jean fabrics because they are lighter, have better movement, and stretch around my personal body type.

In the end it was a stupid INCH. I would NOT let an inch, or size determine my body image. I realize that the size is just a stupid number, and the fit and how I feel in the jeans determines my body image. Like my boyfriend says, “walk in with a cloak of confidence.” I think this is similar to how I feel about jeans and clothing. When clothing fits me in style and shape, I feel sexier, and confident and that is my healthy body image. Sizes, inches, and numbers aren’t a true healthy body image. It is all about how we feel about myself. I REFUSE to let a pair of William Rast jeans (no matter how awesome a deal or style), make me feel like shit about myself. My other pair of William Rast’s make me feel sexy, I have a leather coat that makes me feel hot, and I am sure in the future I will find other styles that work for my body type. I say goodbye to that pair of William Rast jeans, hello to my new Guess ones, and learn acceptance in changes to my body matter less than how I dress my body. So I choose sexy, confidence, and comfort. In the end, I choose a healthy body image. We all don’t fit in all styles, all shapes, and that is beautiful. Find what makes you feel sexy, confident, and beautiful.

  1. ALL sizes, shapes, heights, weights are beautiful in their individuality!
  2. Find clothing that makes you FEEL great. Stop looking for self love and acceptance from a number
  3. When a piece of clothing makes you feel like SHIT – throw it away or donate it stat!
  4. You are more than how you perceive yourself, often the brain can play tricks on how we view what we look like. Studies have shown the activity in the brain of people with EDs, can often activate very different than control people. So when shopping, stop looking to the mirror for validation, walk around, see how they feel, move, and whether you like how they feel on you. If you don’t feel comfortable in the store, chances are you won’t when you get home.
  5. Bring several sizes, brands, styles into the dressing room, our bodies don’t fit in all molds. After all, we don’t fit in a mold, we are who we are, and that is what makes us beautiful. Find what works for you, your body type.


  1. Fantastic topic! It’s amazing what a stronghold jeans can have on our psyche. I have had many experiences of having to “let go” of various jeans because they didn’t make me feel healthy or beautiful.

  2. Love this! For so long, we’ve let the size tags in clothes affect how we feel about ourselves. I love your statement ” Sizes, inches, and numbers aren’t a true healthy body image. It is all about how we (I) feel about myself.”

    I’ve found wonderful jeans recently that make me feel healthy AND beautiful – they fit my body style and are plenty long enough – and that’s a big bonus, as I have very long legs.

    I tell my friends – if you don’t LOVE what you see in the mirror when you try something on in the store, leave it behind – life is too short to wear clothes that don’t help you feel / look amazing!

    • It is time to stop defining who we are by numbers. I always find carrying in a bunch of sizes lessons the anxiety versus just taking in the size you think you “should” be

  3. YES!! It’s such a wonderful thing to realize that it’s not our body’s fault if clothes don’t look good/right, it’s the clothes’ fault!

    • Amen to that. Seriously stop the self blame on our wonderful bodies!

  4. Great post, Kendra! I love, love, love your lessons. 🙂 It’s amazing how common it is for people to get upset with themselves when they don’t fit into a piece of clothing. Instead of just reaching for another size or style, we automatically unleash a litany of insults at ourselves.

    • I know!!!! I felt the thoughts coming and decided forget that, I will be proactive. Not worth all the negative self talk! It is just a pair of jeans. A new pair that fits can actually FEED our healthy body image 🙂

  5. This was posted on my Facebook page and I’m glad I stopped by.
    Jeans…somehow more than anything else, they seem to trigger bad body image moments (OK, 2nd to bathing suits!) SO true that its the fit and the feeling (sex! confident! comfort!) NOT the number on the label that matters.
    here’s my illustrated version of the topic of shopping for jeans

    PS: LOVE bargain stores & thrift stores! never know what treasures you will find.

    • Thank you so much for reading & commenting. I always LOVE your work 🙂

  6. Cheers :]
    It is so refreshing not to be governed by the size of clothing but rather to try clothes on for fit and comfort [and, of course, for making you feel good!]

  7. loveeeeeeeee this.
    so well said, and something i think all of us struggle with at some point. i think i’ll be bookmarking this one for the next time i go jeans shopping…(like, really though.)

  8. I LOVE THIS!! I have a pair of jeans in my closet that I know that I will no longer fit so I know there is no point in even bothering to try them on. What would trying them on achieve anyway? Absolutely nothing.

    I was looking at my reflection in my “larger” jeans the other day and my immediate thought was, “DAAAYUM, my ass looks good in these!” We need to realise that we buy clothes to fit US and that we don’t buy clothes to fit in to.

    Great post!! xxx

  9. This completely rocks. I love this post.
    I once had someone tell me about their recovery from their ED – when the size of my jeans got bigger, so did my life.

    Thank you so much for this. I needed to read this as a reminder that if I allow sizes and clothes to have control over my life, then I am not living authentically. Thank you VIR, as always 🙂

  10. Also, just reflecting on how much power I’ve allowed clothing sizes to have over me over the years. Not fitting into certain pieces of clothing I had dubbed “skinny” sent me into horrific and damaging ED behavior spirals and have more times than I can count put me into a deep depression, feeling worthless because I couldn’t fit into them. When I try to have an objective view on this, it seems as silly as berating myself for a certain shoe size running too small so I need to get the size up.
    When I can remind myself that my goal is HEALTH nad that my body is just a SHELL that I give way too much weight (no pun intended!) to – it helps me remember that I have choices today.

  11. I had a similar experience with ONE inch, but in the opposite direction. I’ve been eating so well and exercising regular, but haven’t bothered weighing or measuring myself in a while. I decided last week that I should at least record my progress, so I pulled out the tape and measured. Surely I had lost multiple inches. I felt great. My muscles gleamed in the sun. My clothes were falling off of me.

    And then I measured. And I had only lost an inch. An inch ALL OVER, but still, just an inch. That’s a whole dress size, but still. It didn’t come close to the amount of awesome I was feeling.

    Wouldn’t it be great to measure the joy we feel for taking good care of our magnificent bodies no matter what? Those are numbers I’d love to see.

  12. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
    Keep working ,great job!

  13. Very useful post. Thank You for taking the time to share your view with us.

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