clothing concerns

November 17, 2009

What are words but thoughts, and every piece of writing a series of thoughts, the connections between them are somewhat unpredictable and lead to the uniqueness of the piece.

Today I went to visit a brand new shopping mall in my area, blah blah. Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be exactly like every other shopping mall in the city, country and possibly many other countries like ours…

Anyway the mall looked good initially, some of the clothing stores even held items that I found appealing – on the rack. Because I usually have so much trouble with clothing shops I tried a new strategy, which was to picture each item of clothing on an extremely fat person I know, and if it seemed a reasonable outfit for them, I would try it on.

Not that I am morbidly obese but size 12-14, a few kg overweight, with many saggy areas. I also happen to be short and shall we say well endowed, and this has created a lot of difficulty for me in recent times. So what that means is having spent the first 30 years of my life as a size 8, I tend to still imagine myself that way and then get a nasty surprise when I find myself hanging out of the wrong clothes in all sorts of inappropriate places. I am not big enough for plus-size shops but find myself staring longingly at them for items that just look more wearable.

I have heard that young inhabitants of the province of Ning Bo in China sometimes come to Australia and at first they might feel terribly excited about the amount of shops we have. After a few visits to the malls they can be found gathering in small groups and giggling whenever shops are mentioned. It may take a bit of questioning but what they find really funny is the lack of choice in Australian clothes. At home they seem to have a wide variety of choice. The way it is here, all clothes are a certain type, so that it doesn’t matter which of the thousands of shops you go to, everything is still the same. All jeans are hipsters, all boots are Western style if that’s this season’s look.

In my case for the past few years it means all necklines come down somewhere around my belly button. What is this?? It seems like a carefully crafted piece of torture. Shop assistants peer down their noses in a perplexed fashion when I say I want a higher neck line, as if I must be Amish or something. Meanwhile the problem seems quite obviously, fairly to hit them in the face, but no one is perturbed by this.  I have tried lots of tricks, getting things altered  or “layering” with singlets etc. This just means I get too hot in summer – in the rare event that I find a singlet that stays up.

I guess I must be what fashion magazines now trendily refer to as a “real woman” body shape. Sure, I’ve had 3 children. Yes, I was motivated to lose weight after the first 2 but haven’t quite got back on the program after the 3rd. So as far as I know some of the magazines are running campaigns to use normal size women in their ads, which is great, but I’m not sure what they are going to find them to wear.

I don’t remember having this problem in my 20s at all, when I was size 8. Has my body changed shape so much that I am no longer suitable for clothing –  or have all the clothes changed, leaving a lot less choice in what items are available? If so, what’s behind this kind of fashion fascism?

It’s a big mystery to me. Today I ended up with 2 tops out of about 20 that were reasonable, but not what I would call my first choice of clothing, and a couple of singlets that are already falling short of basic decency.

Next time I will head for the vintage shops. I’m just waiting for someone to design a new clothing line to fix this problem. Surely it’s a niche in the market for someone to capitalise on. There must be other ladies out there with the same issue, surely?

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