Clothing Shopping No Bra
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I Tried On Clothes ~Without~ A Bra And It Unhooked My Self-Confidence

I didn't need a lift to look stunning.

I Tried On Clothes ~Without~ A Bra And It Unhooked My Self-Confidence

When I walked into the Kohl's dressing room, I was already wearing a dress with a low back and mid-drift cutouts. I chose my clothing options to try on in the store without any other thought than "this looks kinda cute," and I had already walked into a dressing room, closed the stall door before I remembered this crucial detail: I was not wearing a bra.

As a teenager growing up in the early 2000s, appearances were everything. Everyone was trying to have abs like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and vying for clothes from Hollister and Abercrombie and Fitch. And yes, I did own some clothes from these stores, a few signature pieces to wear with the majority of my wardrobe from Kohl's or Walmart. But for my twelve-year-old self, a big insecurity was my chest.

As the horrible old saying goes, I was a part of the "itty bitty titty committee," and I was made painfully aware of it. In one awkward situation in junior high, I was sitting with a group of girls who were comparing the size of their chests to fruits. As they complimented each other on their "grapefruits," "melons," and "oranges", I sat there nervously dreading to hear what small fruit I'd be compared to. I remember looking down thinking "Probably a lemon or a lime" and bracing myself to be resigned to some small-fruited fate. When they finally got to me, they scoffed and quickly stated their decision, there was no deliberation: "a pea." A pea?!?! I felt so embarrassed and ashamed, something no girl should ever feel about their body.

Unfortunately, too many women feel self-conscious about some aspect of themselves and that plays out when trying on clothes. In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in 2014, larger sizes were found to elicit negative evaluations of clothing appearance, driven by the customer's appearance self-esteem. I could relate to this finding first hand. As I got older, I started to focus on my stomach and my thighs, and having to go up a clothing size filled me with anxiety. I felt like I no longer fit the mold of who I was before.

In that Kohl's dressing room, I initially thought "Crap, I can't try these clothes on now. I'll have to come back and go shopping another day." I thought that I wouldn't look good in those clothes without a bra and that I wouldn't be able to make an accurate decision about buying them if I wasn't wearing one. I was actually almost ready to jump ship when I realized how logically ridiculous I sounded to myself. I was already standing there half-naked in the dressing room and I figured what the heck, I'd just try them on anyway.

To my surprise, it was an uplifting and empowering experience.

Instead of focusing on my chest or my stomach, I just looked at the dresses themselves and my reaction to them. It was as if I threw away any preconceived notions of how these clothes were going to look and just took them at face value. Instead of dismissing pieces because they were unflattering, I enjoyed the patterns and natural shapes they had on me. It was wonderfully freeing and I actually ended up rejecting fewer pieces than I usually do. Now I could have just chosen a particularly good batch of clothes to try on, but what really astonished me was how improved my mood was. I was not dejected that I couldn't fit into a particular size, I was happy with the pieces I found and the way I felt when I was in them.

I realized that I shouldn't be focused on the letter or number printed on the price tag, but I should embrace on how I feel when I try clothing on, bra or no bra.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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