Confessions of a Chubby Girl

by Anne Bennett on October 6, 2011

This was my go-to shopping destination as a child. No wonder I had self-esteem issues.

Truth in advertising is a euphemism here. Allow me to set the record straight: the selection at Lane Bryant was anything but “charming.” I remember my mom and I struggling to find anything even remotely similar to the latest fashions in “regular” sizes. And the quality was dismal. Target gets it better today, by far.

I remember a bathing suit we bought there. I was thrilled to finally find a suit that fit, sort of. But the first time I got out of the swimming pool, the straps drooped so relentlessly that my mom had to tie them together in back with a shoelace. (Fortunately I had a outgoing personality which I skillfully employed to distract my peers from such fashion faux pas. Plus, I didn’t turn my back on anybody.)

Good thing security cameras weren’t invented yet. If they had been, I would have placed a brown paper bag over my head before getting out of my mother’s car. What if someone from school saw me entering a fat person’s store? That’s how humiliating it was to be “chubby” in the 1950’s and ’60’s. ┬áThere just weren’t that many of us, so we really did stand out in a crowd, especially if we were wearing something from Lane Bryant…

End Note: My mother ended up sewing many of my clothes, including my school uniform, which she let out at the waist, without criticism or judgement, for all of the 12 years I attended parochial school. She was able to perform fashion miracles, enrobing me in near-normal style even into my college years. I can’t think of a simpler, better example of pure mother-love, can you?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Margaret October 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm

What an awful advertisement. Guaranteed to make a girl feel like there is something wrong with her. Afterall she can’t wear the clothes that “regular” girls wear.

I wasn’t overweight as a child but I developed curves before most of my peers. As a result there were comments from adults, including lewd comments from grown men, embarassing me into trying to lose weight in a futile attempt to erase my curves. It didn’t work but it did help me get onto the dieting rollercoaster that lasted quite a few years.

I hope we have learned something since those times.

Lin October 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I’d say your mom was a jewel and raised a strong, confident daughter. Did you get her sense of humor from her?

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