Finally, I got over my fear of shopping for dresses

Wednesday November 22 2017

Suddenly, the dress stopped flowing down my

Suddenly, the dress stopped flowing down my body. I twisted my midriff and even tried to suck in my belly. Nothing. The dress didn’t shift. FILE PHOTO 

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It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. My sister who is in the habit of celebrating my milestones in this fitness journey, felt we should celebrate my just concluded ten-day detox programme.

We settled for an afternoon stroll and later shopping in Ngong town. 

“Girl, look at your flat tummy, we should get crops tops. You are absolutely rocking it, Beyoncé!" she interjected excitedly every now and then. She was lying. I am 1000 sit-ups and counting from a flat belly.  I simply rolled my eyes and shoved her playfully. She is quite something.

When we got to the town centre and started heading towards the clothes stalls, I felt a familiar churn in my stomach. My palms began sweating.

You see, I had for the longest time ever battled with a very peculiar anxiety disorder.

The fear of shopping for clothes. It is a fear I had kept hidden from most of my family and peers.


My mother didn’t mind that I hated to go shopping for clothes; it is not exactly free and parents never pass an opportunity to save where they can.

When I was 14 and at the height of dark mood swings, she never had to worry about me throwing tantrums whenever we were at a clothes store.

As for my friends, I always came up with an excuse whenever they felt like it was time for a wardrobe upgrade. Fortunately, we were mostly broke therefore these shopping trips were rare enough for me to bail out unsuspiciously.

My fear can be traced back to the Christmas holiday of December 2007. I had just completed my KCPE exams and was looking forward to joining high school.

More importantly, my breasts which had rendered me flat chested for a whole three years after most of my friends grew theirs, finally made their bold appearance.

I happily dug out the bras I had bought three years ago in anticipation of this moment.

Looking at that mirror each day made my heart swell, I was a grown woman.

That holiday, I accompanied my mother and sister to shop for clothes. I remember choosing a lovely silk and lace dress. It had a similar design to one worn by Danielle Steele (one of my favourite authors) on the cover of one of her books.

The dress was purple in color with a touch of gold at the hem. It oozed royalty. I noticed my mother flinch as she checked the price tag, but that did not worry me one bit.

I was a 13-year-old girl in awe of a royal dress.


The dressing area had a huge mirror on one side. I slipped off my pants and t-shirt and held the dress against my body. Perfect. I unzipped it and slid it over my head. The smooth silky material caressed my skin as I pulled the dress lower.

Suddenly, the dress stopped flowing down my body. I twisted my midriff and even tried to suck in my belly. Nothing. The dress didn’t shift. I tugged at it one more time but it remain stuck halfway.

Dejected, I decided to remove the dress as disappointment tightened my throat almost chocking me.

To my utmost horror, the dress couldn’t get off either.  I stood there facing the mirror as a dishevelled girl with a flushed face and tears streaming down her face stared back at me. That’s when I saw it.

The bulging tummy that had caused the dress to get stuck. At that point, I sold myself a big fat lie which has taken me months to recover from.

I was too fat to wear beautiful dresses. I hated shopping for clothes from that moment on.


“Look at that sunny dress, it is perfect for you!” my sister gushed jerking me back to the present. She grabbed my hand and whisked me inside the stall as her other hand reached out for the dress from the display. I entered the dressing room and consciously ignored the glaring mirror. I slipped on the dress. It flowed smoothly and hit just below my knee. I fumbled for the zipper and watched the dress hug my waist lovingly as I zipped up.

My eyes met with those of the girl in the mirror. The dress was perfect and she was beautiful.


Fit&Fab is a blog series by Marion Maina who lost 30kg in her weight loss journey that started two years ago and is now in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Do you have feedback on this story? E-mail: [email protected]