Pushing my boundaries (shopping for spring clothes)

Shopping for clothes in stores is always an adventure.

For the last two days, I’ve been scouring the Kohl’s sales racks. For those of you who don’t know about Kohl’s – it’s a mid tier department store (somewhere between Macy’s and Target). They are known for their sales. At the “end” of every season, they slash their inventory by anywhere from 60 to 80%

Luckily for those who live up north, spring doesn’t really arrive until about a week before summer. That means that you can wear the heavily discounted stuff for weeks – if not months – before you need to break out the linen and t-shirts!

Regardless, while I was there a couple of interesting things happened.

One, I found myself shopping at the low end of the clothing racks. It wasn’t that long ago that I would start at the 12s or 10s or the innocuous Ms. This time I found myself seeking out the 6s, the occasional 4s and the Ss. (Unfortunately I am not naive enough to think that Kohl’s and other mid-level department stores all across America haven’t gone to what one might call “vanity sizing,” but it was still fun!)

Two, I actually put things back that made me look “too big.” This is noteworthy, not because I’m significantly smaller than I’ve been for the last year or so, but rather because I’ve finally come to terms with what I look like in a mirror. And, perhaps even more importantly, I’m no longer trying to hide it.

There was a time that I would have cringed if anything that even remotely looked like a curve was visible. This time, not so much. Does this mean that I don’t have any love handles or (perish the thought of even using this word) muffin tops? No, unfortunately, they’re there; that’s life.

When I did a little fashion show for Michael J, he congratulated me for trying more form fitting clothes.

I thanked him for the compliment and asked him to promise me one thing – that is, to tell me if I go too far, as its easy to get seduced by the pull of smaller and smaller sizes.

“How far is too far?” he asked.

Good question.

After a moment’s consideration, my personal guidelines for if I’ve taken it too far: I look bad or it looks like I’m trying to dress younger than I am.

He agreed. And I trust him to tell me truth.

If you have a Kohl’s near you (or any other store with decent clothes and ridiculously slashed prices) go spend a couple of hours pawing through the sales racks. You never know what you might find. Who knows, you might – if you’re lucky and you’re willing to take some chances – find a completely new you.

In fact, I’ve found some of my favorite pieces of clothing by trying on what other people have left in the dressing rooms. The benefit of trying on other people’s left behinds is that unless that person has your exact same taste, they’re choices are almost certain to be outside of your comfort zone and something that if you’d seen it on the rack you wouldn’t have given it a second glance – let alone tried it on.

As a wise man once said, all progress comes when you’re outside of your comfort zone. So step out of yours and have some fun. After all, it’s not like you have to actually buy it!

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