Sweat pants

So I am a little behind on my posting.  Oops.  I got all caught up in the Thanksgiving break hoopla last week.  I got to go home for the first time since June which was a really nice feeling.  I had an absolutely lovely Thanksgiving with my family.  We fried our turkey as is our new tradition and it was damn tasty.  Day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches are my favorite part of the holiday, though.  Mmmmm…

One day when I was home on break, I was lounging around the house in sweats doing my laundry (like the true college student I am, bringing dirty laundry home) and my Dad told me he wanted to take me out to lunch (that’s my dad’s way of bonding with me when I am home–we always go out to lunch).  My response was “Aw man! All my clothes are in the laundry and I have nothing to wear!”

To which he replied “We don’t need to go anywhere fancy!  You can wear what you’re wearing!”

I then asserted that I would not leave the house as I was and we would need to wait till my laundry was done so I could change.  And that’s what we did.

I never leave the house in sweat pants unless I’m exercising.  I spend every day of my life in jeans, unless it is a special occasion and in that case I dress up.  After this incident last week, I started to wonder why it is that I’m so opposed to being seen in sweat pants.

Part of it is because I can never find sweat pants that fit me right, I always find them to be too big in the hip/crotch area on me or too tight in the thighs.  So I never feel like I look okay in sweats.  The real underlying fact, though, is that I’m afraid of looking sloppy.  I seem to feel like, as a fat girl, I need to present myself as put together.  I am by no means a fashionable person, but I have a fear of my clothes portraying me as sloppy or lazy.   I think that part of this comes from my memories of elementary school, where there was only one other big girl in my class and all she ever wore were sweat pants and t-shirts.  She was made fun of way more than I was.  Also, when I was younger, I made an effort never to wear sweats to school because I felt like if I did, it would be the same as saying “Hey look, this is all that I can fit my fat body into!”  As if I needed to prove I wasn’t too fat for clothes that were semi-in style.

It is not just the sweat pants issue either.  If I am wearing a shirt and i get a spot on it, I have to change or try to wash it out.  Even if you can barely see the spot.  For some reason in the back of my mind I think that someone is going to see that spot on my shirt and get an image of me eating and messily dripping something onto my shirt because I’m sloppy in my fat, glutinous ways.

These aren’t very fat positive feelings, are they?  I should be able to wear whatever the heck I want.  But I still can’t help the feeling that in order to portray myself as more than a fatty, I need to have a somewhat controlled, put together appearance.  In my mind this is necessary for people to take me seriously or to respect me as a person, even at dumb places like the supermarket or at my Spanish final– places where I would love to wear sweat pants.

What do you think?  I think I need to get over it.

PS.  I hate wordpress’s “possibly related posts (automatically generated)” list that comes up when you try to comment on a post I make.  I just saw one after this post making fun of a girl in a picture wearing sweat pants, something that does not help my cause.  Is there a way to get rid of that little list?

11 responses to this post.

  1. Yes, as a fatty, I do feel pressured about what is acceptable for me to wear in public. I see lots and lots of slender moms at TJ’s in their yoga pants. Why is that okay for them, but if I get seen in my nice (and stylish!) velor yoga pants, I get criticized for “not taking care of” myself?? Sad, but true.

    And yes, you can get rid of the “possibly related” posts. It’s a setting under “Extras” where you have to click the button to hide “possibly related posts”.



  2. Posted by Anna on December 1, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Hmm….I’m the same. I refuse to wear sweatpants (trakpants here in Australia) outside, and I feel uncomfortable if I have something with a stain on it. However, for me it’s not related to fat. But yes, I do think it looks sloppy. But this is in no way related to fat or even gender. I recently had my university exams, and saw men and women coming in trackpants, dirty shirts and slippers. And I thought they looked sloppy, like they had no pride in themselves.

    I’m trying to be less judgemental, so now I’m sitting here trying to figure out why I feel like that. Usually I couldn’t care less what other people wear. It’s their body, they can dress however they like. It’s not like I’m sitting there going “Ugh, that’s so disgusting,” it’s like “Huh. I wouldn’t wear that out, but whatevs.”

    I wonder why I think it looks sloppy. Also, “sloppy” is one of those words that loses meaning the more you say it. Sloppy. Sloppy. Sloppy sloppy sloppy sloppy.

    Sorry. this turned into quite the spot of navel gazing.


  3. Yeah, you can definitely remove the automatically generated posts, as CTJen says. Definitely recommended.

    Anyway, I also feel a lot of pressure to always look sort of “together,” but I’m always surprised when people comment that I look well-dressed or well-put together. I always feel it must’ve happened by accident, but then I remember — I actually do put some effort into this (most days.)

    I guess I have this unconscious feeling that it should require *more* work from me on a daily basis, just to reach an average level of attractiveness/acceptability. This is something I’ve obviously internalized over many years of living in this culture, and maybe something to work on.

    Luckily though, lately, I’m really finding that I take real pleasure in dressing well and and grooming in general. It’s a kind-of big deal for me, because I spent my teenagehood feeling burdened by expectations of beauty foisted on me from outside — I used to get up at like 5am just to have time to put on makeup *perfectly* because I was convinced I was a hideous, grotesque beast otherwise — and I also struggle with chronic depression, and grooming is generally the first thing that goes when I’m feeling like shite.

    So the feeling of actually wanting to wear nice clothes, of wanting to get my hair trimmed, of buying a new lipstick and enjoying using it — it’s really just kind of lovely. There are other times when I consciously decide to put on really drab and/or sloppyish clothes and no makeup, just so I’ll blend in better (I live in a neighbourhood that’s an odd mix of rich and poor) and not attract notice. I can basically be invisible when I want to be, and that’s a pretty useful skill for me on some days.


  4. Posted by Kate on December 1, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    I can totally relate to you, but since being put on meds for anxiety/depression, I have stopped worrying what anyone else thinks about me. Now I wear whatever I am comfortable in! It’s very liberating! We should get a big group of us together and all go out in our sweatpants! I’ve found that as fat people, we judge ourselves way more often and more harshly than anyone else does. And anyone who does judge us can kiss my big behind!


  5. Posted by JennyRose on December 2, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    I feel better and more confident when I leave the house feeling pulled together. I once realized I was getting out a depressive episode when I went out in something other than sweats.


  6. Posted by Dee on December 2, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I feel like I need to work harder than others to look acceptable, too. But, only to a point. I’ll go out without makeup, but not in sweats (unless I’m going to the gym). I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to appear reasonably put-together.

    The thing is, it’s true that fat people can’t get away with as much when it comes to looking ultra-casual. Like the Fat Nutritionist, I live in a mixed income neighborhood. In another, similar, neighborhood that I used to live in, I was mistaken for a resident at the local women’s homeless shelter while walking down the sidewalk in an old pair of shorts, a tee shirt, and no makeup. At the time, I co-owned a very nice house and had two degrees and a good job. That really made an impression on me. These days, I just don’t go out in public looking like that.

    The “headless fatties” in the media? You rarely see a picture of someone who’s dressed well. It’s not fair and it’s not nice, but if you’re fat and your clothes don’t scream either “cool and arty” or “middle class or higher,” then a lot of people just won’t treat you with respect. Of course, this is all about the intersection of sizism and classism.

    I hate that those biases exist, but I’ll do what I can to dodge them. It’s not fun being on the wrong end of strangers’ prejudices. It just makes life so much easier and more pleasant when random strangers aren’t looking down on you.


    • You’re right about the “headless fatties” not dressing well! I hadn’t thought of that! I agree…It definitely has a lot to do with classism…which is disheartening on a bunch of levels.


  7. Posted by sleepydumpling on December 4, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I am the same. I feel the need to be… presented. Sometimes I just want to chuck on a pair of shorts and a tank-top and be cool and comfortable. But no, I have to make sure I’m all nice and presented. I think we need to have some kind of master class in being free to just relax in our clothes!


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