Dress Shopping When You’re Not A Size 6

Today I was on a mission. I was determined to start trying on dresses. My son’s Bar Mitzvah is being celebrated in May and although it’s not really about me- it kind of is and I want to look FABULOUS for the big day!  So my B.F.F. Liz, and I made an impromptu journey to downtown Montreal.

Shopping is always an exciting experience for me. Even though I’m not a skinny-minny, I take a LOT of pride in my appearance- some (like my husband) may even think I’m high maintenance. But I own it.

I’ve also always been very vocal about my non-weight issues. For the most part I like my body.

Of course, if I had a magic wand, there are a area few minor things I might change.  But overall. I’m definitely someone who is confident in her own skin. I eat healthy, work out and jump on the bandwagon of different health trends. I accepted, many years ago, that I will never be a size 6. And I’m really ok with that. I swear!!

But today’s mission felt different. Starting out, my confidence was wobbly. From my first interaction with a sales associate something was off.  For some reason, I had a lot of anxiety centering around finding a dress. I knew I wanted to wear something special – even sexy, to show off my great boobs and long legs.  I really love fashion and was hoping to find something great, or at least get some ideas. But today, I didn’t get off to a very good start.

In and out of every store we went, and with each step I began to feel less and less motivated. I wanted to quit.

I felt so limited and powerless because I soon realized that when I started my search for the perfect dress, there was no inspiration, no larger models modelling gorgeous dresses and even more disappointing, most stores don’t even carry larges sizes – even though the average Canadian woman wears a size 12-14.

Everyone wants to feel beautiful- regardless of their size or shape. And today unfortunately I didn’t.

“Any cocktail dresses in a size 14?” I asked. To my utter disappointed and shock the sales associates had absolutely nothing to show me, even dismissing me with great apathy and judgement.  I was even told by one sales associate that her store rarely gets any sizes above a size 10.

Can you imagine how awful it feels to be told the nothing in the can fit my body type?  How ridiculous and shallow!! Can’t larger women be fashionable??

And just when I was about to through in the towel, I met Hugo….

me and Hugo

Hugo and me

Hugo is a soft spoken, gentle sales associate at a boutique on De la Montagne in downtown Montreal. Upon entering the store, he greeted me with a warm hello and a sense of passion and excitement that I had not felt all day.

“What’s your occasion?” Was one of his first questions and he congratulated me on my upcoming event. He seemed truly inspired and was on a mission to find me the perfect dress. He didn’t seem at all fazed by my “size”.

He actually told me that the store’s dresses are meant to flatter all body types – which is pretty unique.

IMG_8919“Take that one off” and ”I have something else to show you” were all part of Hugo’s master plan to find me the perfect dress that would showcase me. The store carried so many styles- loose-fitting dresses, streamed-lined dresses and everything in between. I was starting to feel positive and inspired.

He was determined and his determination was starting to rub off on me. My mood picked up and I was feeling more myself.

And then we found it.  It was truly perfect!

There should be Hugos in every store. Sales associates should be sensitized that women come in all shapes and sizes. And just because you’re a size 14 or a size 0 doesn’t merit judgment or a once over. They just need to learn how to help make their patrons feel good, regardless of size or shape.


This is dedicated to all the Hugos out there. Thank you for reminding me today that my curves are hot and fabulous despite today’s vulnerability and discouragement. I really benefitted from your positive attitude, kindness and understanding.

And to all you BEAUTIES:  Love who you are. Embrace your imperfections.  Believe in yourself and walk with you head held high because:

“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself” -Coco Chanel.



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