by Shandi Pace
Clothing has always been something where the founder of Grappling with Grief, Jimmy Van, prefers comfort over everything else. In his younger days, Jimmy couldn’t wear designer brands because he couldn’t fit into them. “When you’re heavy, and when you’re young, it can be a challenge to find clothes that fit,” Jimmy said. Even to this day, he refuses to wear anything overpriced and finds wearing designer clothes a waste.
As an overweight child, Jimmy used to sweat a lot. He liked to wear darker colours to try to hide the sweat stains. He also tended to buy oversized clothes to hide his physic. Blue jeans were impossible for him to find, as they were either too long or didn’t fit him around his waist. He hated wearing former attire because they never fit right. This meant, through his elementary school days, Jimmy turned to t-shirts and sweatpants, out of necessity, for his choice of attire.
Around the age of 11 or 12 and wanted to buy a red leather jacket similar to Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video look. It was a men’s jacket, which meant it fit him width-wise but was way too long length-wise. Jimmy didn’t care and bought the jacket anyway.
A few days later, Jimmy was invited to a minor-league hockey game by a friend. He knew it would be cold in the arena, so he wore the red leather jacket. Being from a small town, Jimmy recalls everyone staring at him throughout the game. He isn’t sure where the jacket ended up, but he’s positive he never wore it again.
Jimmy’s first job was at a Tim Hortons, where the uniforms were tight-fitted dress pants and tucked-in dress shirts. This combination was against every ideal of fashion Jimmy stood by. His mother, noticing he’d come home with flour all over his uniform, created an apron to match the colours of the uniform. Jimmy was extremely thankful he could now use this apron to cover his physic.
Clothing today is much more inclusive. Many major retailers provide larger-sized clothing for children and adults. Now, khaki joggers and dry-fit shirts are what you can find Jimmy wearing, not because that’s all he can fit into, but because he lives for comfort.
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