I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Like Pulling Out Fingernails

Shopping. Of ANY kind.

I hate it.

With a passion normally reserved for Republicans, eggplants, raw tomatoes, and Helicopter Mums.


At 35 and a bit years old, I think it's probably time I retired the lovable but not terribly grown up fashion trifecta of jeans/hoodies/runners. While that combo is totally okay for my age group some of the time (like weekend jaunts to the supermarket), it's probably not okay as a general overall "style" such as it were. Right before I went to the US this last time, my daughter and I cleaned out my closet of all the items which were ripped, torn, in need of repair, or several sizes too big. As a result, the stock take of my closet now includes undergarments of various types, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 shirts, a hoodie, some scarves, some way too big pyjamas and a few random bits of formal clothing. No, I'm not exaggerating. Last week, when I realised I could take my jeans out of the clothes dryer, do them up, and put them on (only to need to hike them up again), I replaced two pairs of jeans with two new smaller pairs. Ditto for two tops. I've got a one in-one out policy with everything I wear, so my itty bit of shopping did not actually improve the empty closet situation.

Did I mention it's winter, and really cold? And that I do not own a coat, a warm jumper, or anything even remotely like winter clothing?

This is not a tenable situation, and it's especially not a tenable situation for someone whose word of the year is "progress" and someone who is in the midst of world domination via cake. So it's time to get some clothes of a grown up variety, and also time to figure out how to dress this figure of mine...because, really, I'm not really sure how to do anything other than loose, comfy, figure-hiding and shleppy. But, you know, I'm sitting here typing this in the smallest jeans I have ever owned, and it's probably time I showed that off to someone other than my husband.

Since the font of knowledge is facebook, I asked my friends there if anyone knew of a stylist who could help with this kind of thing. Hell, if you don't know what you're doing, pay someone who does. My closest girlfriends promptly volunteered to be my personal Trinny and Susannahs.



This is bad. *Very* bad. Because I know they love and adore me, and I know they have my best interests at heart...but I hate shopping in the extreme, and what's more I hate shopping with people who KNOW me. Mind, this does not stop either my Mom or Mom in Law from asking - nay, begging - to go shopping with me. None of my family members (especially my Mom) understands why on earth, when someone offers to BUY you stuff, you would say a resounding NO BLOODY WAY ON EARTH. It's not the free stuff which is the issue, it's the needing to go and do it with other people there. Having other people there means you can't stand in the dressing room, pooch your stomach WAY out, and sigh loudly. You can't CRY in the dressing room, either. You can't shop for an hour, decide there is nothing out there, and take yourself out to lunch instead. You can't buy one thing, feel very pleased with yourself, and then take yourself out to lunch as a reward. You can't try on shoes as a distraction method. You can't buy pretty stationary as a distraction method. You can't stop for a coffee before you have started. You can't see what's on at the movies and then browse the bookstore and then take yourself out to lunch because you are exhausted from all that shopping.

When shopping with other people, who themselves are either thin or short or rich or all of the above - you're stuck with THEIR ideas of what will fit you (you mean you won't fit into a size 8?? really?? But a size 8 is HUGE!), or what is affordable (Darling, handbags cost $200. They really do,), or what appeals to their own sense of style, or what they think you should wear, not what you might actually wear. They know what they would LIKE to see you in, not what you would be comfortable wearing, not what you WANT to wear, and not what will work with what you've already got in your cupboard (which for me is 4 pieces of nothjing, but anyway.)

In short, shopping with people you know just SUCKS - which is exactly why I went looking for a stylist who does this sort of thing. Someone who does not know me or my life or my prejudices against certain styles or certain fabrics or certain stores. Someone who will push me right the hell out of my comfort zone, who I then do not need to see face-to-face almost every week of my life from here to eternity.

But publicly announcing that I was finally ready to acquire a style of my own? Yep, I pretty much walked right into this situation.

That being said, my friends who love me really want to do this for me, precisely *because* they love me and want to see me morph from the frumpy middle aged yet teenaged ugly duckling into the cake domination business owner swan. AND as is well documented here, my thirties are all about doing things I would not normally do, agreeing to things which make me uncomfortable, and making progress.

Shit. I'm stuck, aren't I? This is one of those times in life I really, really, really wish I was not allergic to alcohol. Because I'm thinking that a whole day shopping with my closest friends is going to require one - or perhaps several - strong shots of tequila in order to make it bearable.

Hmm. I wonder if, after an hour spent shopping with she who hates shopping, it might be THEM who need the tequila shots, not me.

Wait a sec. This could actually be FUN.




Claire - Matching Pegs said...

I am already looking forward to your follow up post!

For the record, I actually think Trinny and Suzanna really know their shit.

I have a little gold book of theirs that I carry in my handbag called "What Not To Wear, The Rules".

It runs through what to wear and what to avoid for a whole lot of tricky body features, (like "no waist" or "big tits") in chapters. For each body feature, it lists the best and worst shaped top, dress, jacket, coat, t-shit, jumper, pants and skirt (as applicable).

It is a treasure, and it arms you with knowledge to shop for your shape, and to not give in and buy something just because it is on-trend.

It has helped me walk away from lots of not-quite-right garments that I really liked, but honestly didn't flatter me.

Personally I have a weakness for anything in one of "my colours" and before really thinking about what shapes suited me, I would by lots of stuff that looked great on hangers, but not on me.

This kind of knowledge also helps you stay focused and skip lots of aimless browsing. You can go out focused on something like a dress with an A-line skirt and 3/4 length sleeves. Sadly, this will also draw your attention to how little diversity there is in retail in this country.

Good Luck!

PS - I don't care how friggin trendy skinny jeans are, they are not as flattering as bootleg jeans.

kazari said...

This made me laugh so much - I hate shopping too, and ESPECIALLY with friends.
But I went to visit a gay friend a couple weeks ago, and mentioned i needed more work clothes.
He dragged me into some awesome shops, and kept tossing things into my change room - insisting i try them on.
I ended up with a new skirt, two tops and a little black dress that totally rocks - I love them all. so i think it's just trial and error until you find that one shopping buddy that works for you.

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

See, you both just proved my point that the best people to shop with are people who are not actually so close to you they are almost sisters. I've got to get onto the stylist thing, and SOON! :) Or maybe I'll hire the stylist AND drag the girlfriends along for moral support..or just to carry my bags for me?


PS Claire - You are SOOOO right on the jeans!! I have yet to see someone who looks good in skinney jeans other than Russell Brand, and even him not so much!