DR. WALLACE: I’m 19 and have always had trouble finding clothes that fit me. I am more on the petite side, which makes it very difficult to find cute jeans, pants and skirts that actually fit me.
There always seems to be some issue or another with the clothes that I’ve bought lately. Either the waist is too big or the pant legs are too long, and it seems like I can never find anything that fits me well and that I feel confident and comfortable wearing.
Not being able to find clothes that are good for me has resulted in me having a bit lower self-esteem because I feel like perhaps I could be the problem, not the clothes. I feel like I am not good enough to even fit into one pair of jeans. What should I do so that I can feel confident and comfortable again? — Uncomfortable, via email
UNCOMFORTABLE: Don’t feel bad; you’re actually in the majority of people in this regard. Many of us don’t feel that “assembly line” clothing fits us very well. And on top of that our bodies are always moving, adapting, changing and so forth. Clothes that used to fit me are useless to me now in some cases!
Your self-esteem should not be a factor here because clothes are hard to fit for everyone. Think instead of your great qualities that go far beyond just how you physically fit into clothes. Your mind, heart and soul are the most important elements of who you truly are, so please never forget that. Fight the temptation to make physical looks or challenges like fitting into clothing rise above their truly nominal level of overall importance in life.
Having said that, I understand that we all need to wear clothing, and we prefer to have it fit us as well as possible. Study different brands, go to many different stores and speak to as many people as you can to try to get recommendations as to where to find clothes that fit a variety of body styles well, including yours.
Finally, today’s technology might also be able to help you. There are some companies that will take your body measurements and custom fit clothing for you. This might be a bit expensive, but perhaps you could look into this idea and see if you can budget for one or two pieces of clothing to try out at first. Over time, I trust you’ll find clothing that can fit you better once you find the spots that work best for you. My main concern about your letter remains that I want you to keep your self-esteem buoyant and strong. Always remember that you are a wonderful person who brings great value to our world. Focus on your positives and guard your self-esteem carefully by knowing who you truly are and what truly matters most.
SHOULD WE LIVE TOGETHER FIRST?
DR. WALLACE: My girlfriend and I have been together for two years and plan on getting married; we have been considering living together first. My mom, however, thinks that it’s a bad idea for us to live together before getting married and thinks that we should just plan on getting engaged soon so that we can get a wedding date on the calendar.
I used to think my mom was out of touch with the times and that her beliefs on this topic were outdated, but then I found a couple of studies online that says that couples who lived together before getting married actually had less successful marriages than those who waited to live together until after marriage.
Doing this research and studying this matter in more granular detail has caused my girlfriend and me to reconsider our original plans because we definitely want to set ourselves up for a successful marriage in the future. We don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the quality of our relationship. Do you have any thoughts on this topic or any advice for couples in our situation? — Now Reconsidering, via email
NOW RECONSIDERING: I’d say you are a fledgling columnist in training! Your approach to the subject matter mirrors how I often approach various topics that are discussed here.
I prefer to blend topical research and my life experiences (my own and those I’ve seen unfold around me via family and friends) with my view of common sense. I then seek to deliver a reasonable slice of advice based upon those factors. It’s also important to me to strive to see both sides of any argument, position, topic or endeavor. You’ve also demonstrated this in your letter.
The statistics are on your mother’s side. As you truly want to give your upcoming union the very best chance to succeed, my advice is: Follow your own new thoughts on this topic since they are backed by statistical evidence, common sense and your own evolving opinion. A successful marriage brings a lifetime of wonderful companionship. I suggest you marry first before you live together.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.