I got a hole in my jeans last night.. The cause was nothing dramatic; just too much time spent crawling around on the floor helping DorkySon build traffic jams. So my beloved pair of Levis now has a big rip across the left knee.
This is not a good thing. Holes in your clothes are never a good thing, but this is a particularly not-good thing because they were my last remaining pair of unripped trousers, so now I have to go clothes shopping. And I hate clothes shopping.
It was inevitable that I’d have to face a shopping trip sometime, because my wardrobe has been looking bare for quite some time. When we moved house, I gave several large bags of Size 8 clothes to the charity shops, knowing that they haven’t fitted since I was a student and existed on a diet of vodka and late-night dancing. Even on the most punishing diet and exercise regime I would never fit my arse into them again.
I have held onto all my meanly-sized Size 10 stuff and stashed it at one end of the wardrobe, as a reminder of what might be possible if I ever do get round to that diet and exercise regime. I think it’s going to take a little more than just my usual January of no-drinking though.
So I am left with a ragtag collection of more generously sized 10s and a few size 12s. There are a couple of hoodies. Three or four pretty tunics. A fleece. Some tired looking vest tops. And, erm, that’s it. That really is it.
I got absolutely soaked in heavy rain walking back from nursery with DorkySon last week, and had to take my sodden jeans off when I got home. But then I discovered that my only other options were pyjama bottoms, a pair of seriously unflattering leggings (which don’t quite have holes in the knees, but are definitely looking a bit worn) or a pair of too-small smart trousers. Smart trousers it was, but as the zip wouldn’t go up and the button wouldn’t close, I had to improvise and find an old hairband to loop through the buttonhole to keep the waistband together. Then I sat and prayed that no-one would knock on the door until my jeans were dry. That’s pretty bad, even for me.
I don’t know why I hate clothes shopping so much. I must have the only husband in the world that will happily write me a cheque and say ‘Go and get yourself some new clothes, for goodness sake.’ But I never do. Something about the mere mention of clothes shopping make me revert to teenage stereotype of hunched shoulders and a scowl.
DorkyDad, bless him, has tried for years to improve my wardrobe through thoughtful gifts. Among other things, he has given me:
- A beautiful long brown jacket – I love it, and it fits perfectly. I just think it’s too smart to wear so I hardly ever take it out of the wardrobe.
- Gorgeous soft leather gloves – don’t ask how, but I managed to get them completely covered in olive oil. (Maybe this is why I’m so scared to wear the jacket…)
- Vouchers for a swishy boutique clothes shop in Edinburgh – I came back with one very expensive pair of jeans, and a Missoni skirt that I wore once before giving it to the charity shop.
- A cashmere jumper – I loved that too, but I shrank it in the wash, and now the sleeves only come halfway down my arms.
- A lovely, snuggly grey hoodie to celebrate getting back to my pre-birth size after having DorkySon. It fitted perfectly… until I stopped breastfeeding and put half the weight back on again.
Last year, he finally accepted that he has married a complete style disaster, and bought me a pair of Doc Martens and a fleecy, hooded gilet, both of which I’ve barely taken off. This year he did extremely well by sticking to the boots and jacket formula again. So now I have two pairs of boots that I wear, and two jackets that I wear. Yay! This is serious progress. I just have to find something to wear under them.
I don’t mean to resort to cultural stereotypes, but DorkyDad is American. Americans are very, very good at smart casual. I may occasionally giggle at his loafers and his LL Bean catalogues falling through the letterbox, but I have to concede that he pretty much always looks great.
I, however, am good at very casual (pyjamas), and very smart (posh dress and heels) but terrible at everything in between.
Part of it may be that there is no point being too smart when you spend the day with a baby, because you always end up the day looking a state; but as DorkySon is now nearly three that’s becoming less of an issue. We might have occasional afternoons of painting or baking, but I can pretty much trust him not to vomit milk over my shoulder anymore.
Part of it may be that my sizing is a bit funny. My ribcage doesn’t seem to have recovered from pregnancy, and my legs seem to be too short for most standard length trousers. But then, who doesn’t have a couple of body quirks that make it hard to find the right size?
Almost as fast as I am running out of clothes, I am running out of excuses.
So. Big deep breath.
This week I am getting paid for a piece of writing I did in the middle of last year. I have a free morning on Thursday when DorkySon is at nursery. And even if my last pair of jeans hadn’t just fallen apart, I have a holiday in the sun coming up next month for which I definitely, definitely need to buy some new clothes.
(Oh God. I have to get a bathing suit. This is definitely going to warrant a blog post all to itself…)
Shopping in London is a step too far. It is too big, there is too much choice, and I know I’ll be so overwhelmed that I’ll end up giving up after one shop and spending the morning hyperventilating in Starbucks instead. So I am pinning my hope on the good fashion retailers of St Albans to kit me out instead.
This Thursday. It’s a date. Wish me luck peeps, because boy do I need it.
This has me laughing and crying all at the same time because I can totally relate to far too much of it. Pre-kids I dressed well, I had my style, I knew what fitted, I knew what looked good. When you’re a size 8 and haven’t had children, clothes shopping is so much easier. Almost 6 years after I first became pregnant, I’m still completely lost. I can do maternity wear. And that’s about it!
I wish you lots of luck for Thursday. St Albans has some lovely shops, so I’m sure you’ll be okay! x
Good luck! I loathe clothes shopping. I have probably already wittered on at you about the wonders of a John Lewis fashion advisor, just for the efficiency of being able to sit on your arse while they bring you dozens upon dozens of items. I guess Watford is your nearest?
Also, at some point I had to accept that every pair of trousers I buy is going to need alteration to both the length and the waistband, and just factor that in when I buy them.
Good luck! I feel much the same about shopping, and wait until my clothes are falling apart before I will venture out to find a replacement. I love having new clothes but I hate the search to find things that I like.
Dorkymom, your smile is so wonderful that what you wear is never a problem.
Ahhh, Nels, you’ve just made my day. Thank you. I think I might print that out and stick it on my wall 🙂 xx
Oooh, if that dog was any smoother he’d be a Mexican hairless! Brother mine, you are the kind.
I’m not a fan of clothes shopping either. It helps if you can find one reliable store. I found one where they carry my size and actually help you find what you are looking for–a rarity in these parts. Now it’s my first stop when I need to shop and the experience is far less stressful.
I also hate clothes shopping, and my advice is, you need to get yourself online! I was always worried about shopping for clothes online in case they didn’t fit, but I eventually learned to love the Returns envelope and got stuck in. Now, whenever I need new clothes (I still buy most things from thrift stores), I head online, and I’ve only had to return one or two things. I’m 5’11”, very long in the leg and a 14/16, which I’ve always thought made me ‘difficult’… but my online shopping has been hugely successful. I recommend asos.com for cheap basics 🙂
Good luck with your shopping! Maybe you can do another post and share your purchases with us? I too do a lot more clothes shopping online than I ever thought I would. Turns out it’s quite nice getting it delivered and then trying it on in front of a mirror I trust in the privacy of my own home! Paying for it all is still another matter though…
Recently we sorted out both our wardrobes – I had a new office job to start and needed to work out what clothes I had that were suitable.
I needed to work out what I owned that wasn’t stained by baby sick, felt tip, bleach or breastmilk. Nice. Even nicer is that nothing I owned passed the no stains test. Or fit. At all.
So I had to go shopping – with about £50 – to get enough clothes to get me through the first two weeks at my new job so that I could earn some money to buy MORE clothes so that I had an actual wardrobe.
I threw everything out apart from my PJs and headed to charity shops and the sale in asda – and sulked about the whole idea because I’d ignored clothes shopping since before having my two kids.
Miracles happened – I have now accepted that my body shape and size are totally different to what I had before – and to what I was used to wearing – but this new body isn’t actually awful. It’s bigger, and rounder, than before – but it’s not revolting – and I’ve realised I LOVE shopping for new things – and that the original challenge of the very tight budget adds an extra element that I really enjoy. I like having to shop around and it’s made me really assess what I like and what suits me now because I limit what I’ll spend in a month – and that either means one hot item, or a bunch of bargains that I can put together or alter myself – and the latter usually wins!
I hope you find the perfect jeans though – it’s the one thing I can’t get right no matter how hard I try – I can’t replace my pre-baby levis!
Thanks for sharing your experiences! Sounds like you’ve done a good job of being imaginative and finding the things that work for you. I love a good rummage through a charity shop myself, but it helps to have my Mum with me – she’s an expert bargain hunter and always finds things that I’d miss!