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This article comes from EDV’s Peer Mentoring Program Alumni Newsletter. To learn more about the Peer Mentoring Program, please see here.

An exploration into body diversity, shopping and clothing with Amy Woods (Creative Mental Health and Yoga)

Rebuilding a relationship with your body takes a lot of time and energy. For some people, the recovery journey will change their body shape and size but regardless of the ebbs and flows of the body, shopping for clothes that fit and feel good is incredibly challenging.

Whether it is about buying clothes in a different size, finding a style that feels like ‘you’ or getting rid of clothes that remind you of difficult times, a wardrobe refresh is often needed.

Navigating this is just another challenge, but it can be helpful to start shopping from brands that embrace individuality and size diversity. This can help to normalise seeing different bodies on a regular basis, see how clothes look on someone with a similar body to your own and helps to support brands that are passionate about inclusivity! Whilst Kmart, Big W and Target all offer a diverse range of sizes, the clothing available can be limited and maybe not quite the vibe you are looking for. 

Here are some top tips and some inclusive brands to explore: 

Shop online

Eliminate the dressing room anxiety, bad lighting and overwhelming mirrors and get your clothes delivered to your door. This allows you to try them on in the privacy of your own home, where you can curate the experience to be as supportive and positive as possible. Try putting on your favourite music, pour yourself a nice cup of tea and have a supportive person with you. 

Buy multiple sizes

Although a lot of websites will offer measurements to guide their sizes, getting out the measuring tape isn’t exactly recovery friendly. An alternative is to buy something you like in a couple of different sizes and then return the size that doesn’t fit. 

Buy a few key pieces

Treat yourself to a couple of key garments, such as a jacket, pants or skirt and a dress that are in a colour, print or fabric that you really love. The rest of your wardrobe can revolve around those items, so you always have something you really like, available to wear. 

Consider buying 2

If you find something you love and that you feel good in, consider buying the same item in a few different colours. 

Comfort, comfort, comfort

Focus on buying things that feel comfortable on your body. Often with eating disorders there can be a hypersensitivity to senses, including touch. Choose garments that feel nice on your skin, avoid items that are firm and inflexible and ultimately choose what is comfortable for you in your body. Recovery is hard enough without that dreaded pair of stiff jeans irritating you! 

Amy's favourite brand recommendations

Underwear  
Swimwear  
Clothes 
Activewear  

Looking for support?

Eating Disorders Victoria has put together a step-by-step guide take if you are concerned that you may be experiencing anorexia. It also covers how to talk to family or friends about what you’re going through. Remember that you have the best chance of success if you include people you trust on your journey.

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