Buying Clothes Not So Much Fun, Says Study — Especially If You're Fat

Extensive Retail Mall
Fatties, beware! Image via Wikipedia

Do women really head to the mall for a bit of retail therapy? Not necessarily, says a new Australian study.

The survey of 162 women shoppers aged between 18 and 55 from the city of Adelaide examined the link between clothing and body image. Results were published in journal Body Image.

The respondents were asked to rate statements such as ‘I usually find clothes shopping a positive experience’ on a scale of one to five, with high scores indicating they agreed with the statements. In general, thinner women saw shopping as a pleasurable experience while larger-sized women didn’t enjoy it as much. But the average score was three – indicating to researchers that women overall were ambivalent about shopping. Researchers said the study questioned the often-noted therapeutic value women are generally believed to receive from clothes shopping.

Speaking to Adelaide Now, Ms. Tiggemann likened shopping to “fantasy realm” for some women.

“They’re looking for that one thing that makes them look absolutely gorgeous, and when they can’t find it, they get quite down,” she said. “Women do like shopping. It has promise and hope but can turn into something that’s a bit depressing. The term retail therapy doesn’t actually apply to a lot of women.”

As someone who’s not a size 8, I agree that shopping for larger-sized pretty clothes is a mug’s game. And clothes-shopping, in general, is so often just a miserable chore: incompetent, bored or lazy associates too busy texting to help you; not enough choice; fluorescent-lit dressing-rooms the size of toilet cubicles, with about as much charm. Money these days is so hard-won and carefully-guarded by many of us, getting us to part with some of it demands skill, smarts and someone who can actually make the experience fun, welcoming, pleasant — and successful.

Even in a recession, where you’d think retailers would be all over us, big butts or not, some stores are clear no-go zones for the curvaceous — French Connection sells nothing over a size 10 and even J. Crew only offers size 16 online. Fatties, keep out!