It was the perfect start to my day. I was already feeling great as I had been struggling with cedar allergies for the past few days and it was my time of the month. I’m sluggish, congested, have a strong bout of PMS, bloating, and am nursing a sore throat. Basically, I’m just lounging around feeling my best when my mother calls. She informs me that her friend Susan has lost loads of weight and wanted to give me some clothes.
Why on earth was a woman twice my age that I barely knew gifting me her fat clothes?
We all have those items in our closet that are too small and too big. In my circles, the clothing is referred to “skinny” or “fat” based on whether they are too big or too small. It is all relative and possible that clothing at one point or another can have been both. By using the term “fat clothes” I’m referring to just the clothes and not calling anyone fat, including Susan.
It would never occur to me to take the clothes that are too big for me and just hand them over to someone out of the blue. I felt singled out and exposed. It made me feel like crap. While I’m sure this came from a place of kindness, it felt as if she looked me in the eye and said, “I’m not overweight anymore, but you still are so have my clothing.” It obviously hit on something I’m sensitive about, otherwise I wouldn’t have cared. Of course I handled this all very sensibly by crying and hanging up on my mother. I also took the high road by sending subsequent calls from my mom to voicemail. It’s called maturity.
This whole situation meant a few things once I thought about it. One, Susan had to mentally sort through people she believed would be the right size for the outfits that were now too big for her. Check mark for me, obviously. Secondly, she would have had to come to a realization that someone 30 years her junior would wear a similar style and size even though she is a good 5 inches taller than me and a different body shape. We wouldn’t even wear the same size if we weighed exactly the same.
The whole situation was strange and a little insulting. It made me think about the times that I have given away clothing no longer worn and how to handle it in the future. Because of this lovely experience, here are a few questions for anyone to contemplate before you inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings while giving away the ‘ole too big for me clothes.
- Do you know each other? To me, donating your clothes without being asked or prompted implies a sense of intimacy and friendship. If I barely know your first name and only exchange pleasantries about the weather, we are not at the level of friendship for unsolicited used clothes giving. It is weird. Even if you remove the insulting “I’ve lost weight and you haven’t” insinuation, it is odd for her to randomly give me clothes. Why did I even come to mind? How does this even seem like a good idea?
- Does this person need your clothes? I spend a healthy amount of money on my wardrobe. I am not experiencing financial difficulty which would imply help with attire was needed. Sometimes people need clothes and they can’t afford to purchase any. If you are aware of this and want to donate several outfits, that is awesome. Make sure the other person doesn’t feel uncomfortable with this level of generosity then give away. I’m a firm believer in helping others and sometimes that can include taking things we already own and donating. I would probably refrain from telling the person that you are bestowing the gift of your well-worn clothing to them because they no longer fit your tiny frame and belong on larger women, but that is just me. A simple, “I thought you might enjoy this” would suffice.
- Would they like your clothes? Everyone has different styles, sizes, and tastes. Typically, if there is a large age gap or size difference, your clothes may not be the best fit for the other person. In my case, Susan is approximately 30 years older and 5 inches taller. I wanted her stretchy leisure suit about as much as she wants my favorite boyfriend jeans and ankle boots. Not a good match.
If you want to give away your clothes that don’t fit, that is great. Just put some thought behind it. There is a lot of emotional baggage that we all carry about our weight and our clothes. In this case, it definitely hit on some of my own insecurities. Don’t go around gifting your larger-sized clothes to the unsuspecting world like its Christmas cheer. While I thought about burning my new outfit in the backyard, I couldn’t because that is stupid and wasteful. Susan is getting her snazzy outfit back and I hope it can go to someone who would appreciate it.