You know what’s weird? Women’s closets. Any guy reading this post right now is nodding his head sagely, saying to himself “yeah, why do they NEED all that STUFF?”.

What they don’t normally know is that every woman has at least two and often three clothing sizes in her closet for days – the smaller among us for days when she’s feeling super fine and others when she’s got some bloat on; for the rest of us because you move through sizes periodically and you know you might need X item again someday so you should probably just keep it, right?

I have three closets. Yes, I do. It’s actually rather embarrassing, though maybe not so much since each closet has a moderate amount of clothing in it.

My first closet is full of work clothes. I have some awesome work clothes in sizes from 16 to 20. Oddly, in the same brand I can wear a 16 pant and a 20 jacket, because of how I like the fit of my jackets. For the past year, my 16s haven’t been fitting so well. In fact, I actually gave away a fair amount of size 16 clothing, because it kind of hurt me to look at it.

My second closet is 1/3 full of casual clothes. I have the worst casual clothes known to man. Okay, actually my best friend has the worst casual clothes known to man, but mine are really not far behind. I know why – I don’t like to iron my casual shirts and I don’t like shirts that showcase my belly fat, which makes buying tops that aren’t crisp button downs somewhat torturous for me. In this closet I have many long sleeved tshirts, none of which do a damn thing for me. I also have a lot of sweaters, only one of which actually looks good on me.

My third closet is my off season work wear. You know, the summer stuff you can’t bear to look at when it’s -29C outside, or that lovely wool jacket that makes you sweat just sitting on the hanger in July. It’s normally got four jackets and a few bottoms in it – the rest of my stuff I pretty much wear year round.

I know, the people with old houses with no closets and the married with kids among you are very bitter right now. You’re right, I can afford to keep three clothing sizes in my house, because I have so many freaking closets. Heck, I’ve got a dresser (antique, my great grandmother’s, with only three drawers) that holds nothing but gym clothes (in sizes L to 2X – yes, I’m going to wear those cute tshirts again someday. I swear it!).

But is it healthy to keep clothes that are too big or too small? Is it right to keep clothes that you know don’t look great on you but that you’ll wear anyway because it’s easy?

I went shopping with my mum on Friday. I had some coupons and a plan: I wanted some casual tops that looked *good*, a pair or two of non-denim casual pants that weren’t cargo pants, and a kicky red jacket. I had purchased two new pairs of dress pants the week before in Toronto, one of which has a fine red line in it. I really wanted a red jacket to go with.

Old Navy was pretty awesome, for once. I tried on 15 things and bought… two. Do they not sell non-denim, non-workout pants anymore? Anyway, I got a super cute dress that made me look awesomely small (compared to my self-image) and it has three colours and grey in it! (That’s so unlike me – you’ll just have to have a moment and realize that I am the queen of grey/black/white.)

Then we hit Talbots Women, which I normally think of as an old lady store. They had an awesome kicky red cordouroy jacket. Hot damn. I tried on a size 16 (holla!) and couldn’t get it over my shoulders. WTF? A tug and a groan later and it turned out that I was wearing the one that had been on a mannequin, and which was clearly pinned to be a size 10. Why would they do that in a plus sized store, anyway? While that was being purchased a kicky sunny yellow jacket struck my eye. I bought it. It’s summer weight, but I’ll wear summer weight all year if it’s bright.

I got two sweaters as well, which I thought looked awesome on  me, at the store and in my mirror at home. Then I saw a picture of myself wearing one of them and I hated how I looked. I thought I looked so good. I thought I looked cute and long and lean(ish) and no. I actually just look lumpy.

I’m still processing how I feel about that, and how one mirror can tell me I look good, and a photo can tell me I look like crap. A friend of mine told me that you have a self-image that doesn’t change – in her eye, she was always skinny, even when she’d gained a fair bit of weight (babies do that to you, after all). I never thought I was smaller, but I thought I looked leaner, and yet… no.

I hate pictures of myself. I hate them. I hate them. I hate them. Nothing can wreck my self-image quite as quickly as a photo. Even though I can love the way I look when I see myself, seeing me through the cold lens of a camera is just shattering.

Can we ban photos? All of them?

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