The thin end of the obesity crisis...
I decided to go for a walk to Cribbs Causeway, the Maaallll on the edge of Bristol. Maaallll being how they pronounce it in the vaguely creepy and dystropic public service announcements that keep ringing out. It kind of sounds like deep south American pronounciation of mall but produced in that intensely reassuring sort of British voice they used to have on government educational adverts in the 1960s. The ones about what to do in the case of nuclear war. In this case, instead of making annoucements like "This is a colleague announcement. Can Mr Jones go to the south door?" they make announcements like:
"If you get separated from your friends, family, children, shopping trolley full of grenades [ok, I made the last one up] or pets please meet at the fountain. This is the fountain in the centre of the maaallllll. Welcome to the mallllllll and enjoy your stay. In the case of nuclear war, do not panic. Please assemble with your family in the furniture department of John Lewis. Ensure that you have bought a flash torch and some bottled water and tinned food from Marks and Spencer. Tilt a table slightly to the side and then collect some duvets from the second floor. Prop the duvets up against the table. Now, ensure that you have found a radio and switched it on before crouching under the table wtih your friends, family and pets. Then, wait for further announcements that it is safe to come out from under the table." [SNIP]
Returning to topic, I was looking for a skirt. I came back sans skirt with something of a grudge against clothing manufacturers. The 'creep' of clothing sizes is pretty common knowledge. My mum is 1 1/2 stone heavier than she was when she was my age and yet has miraculously decreased a dress size. Shoe sizes have also increased although this is possibly due to better nutrition rather than obesity. I used to wear a size 5 1/2 and my mum wore a 3 1/2. I bought a size 3 pair of shoes in a sale that are slightly tight on one foot; normally I wear a 4. I'm sure my feet haven't shrunk.
At age 14, I outgrew my mum's size 12 skirts. I wore a modern size 12 and was 9 stone. I dropped to 8 1/2 stone where I've remained to this day. I then was a borderline size 10/12.
Today, I have reached a point where I can no longer buy clothes that I like on the high street. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not gaunt. My problem is several-fold:
a) Teenage girls clothing (think Topshop, New Look, etc.) is about 1 size smaller on average than more mature women's clothing (think Wallis, M&S Per Una). However, teenage girl's summer clothing assumes that you have a perfect body and that you are actually a meek naturist. It's all lycra and enlarged belts/handkerchiefs. I model my dress sense on Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn, not Jodie Marsh. This means I want to buy clothes from Wallis and the Per Una range, not Top Shop
b) The minimum high street size in 'mature' women's clothing is a size 8. I used to look good in size 10 M&S jeans (I still have then; they still fit). About 2 years ago, I discovered I was wearing size 8 in Kaliko (expensive older woman) and size 8 in M&S (try finding a size 8 in M&S. I dare you?! I dare you?! If there is one it'll be stuck on a size 16 hanger and there'll be one of them in the entire store). Today I tried on a size 8 top in M&S and it was huge about the waist and had enormous gaping armholes that made my arms look like a couple of broom handles. This leads onto...
c) I'm a funny shape. Apparently women have increased waist size disproportionately compared to their hips, etc. meaning the hourglass is becoming increasingly rare. I'm an hourglass; manufacturers cater for the average woman and, hence, this doesn't really assist dressing. Things either ride up over my hips and fit my waist OR they fit my hips and end up being inadvertant hipsters (or just form unsightly folds at the waist). My chest is pretty similar. I have to wear an awful lot of elasticated waists and lycra to look like I have a waist. It's very difficult to get styles to fit me too. If I wear tops for a woman with a small bust then I end up nearly falling out of the thing (think keyhole tops, tops with gaps in) or looking like I have a huge, bulky mound stuck in my mid-section. If I wear styles that suit a big bust, I look flat chested (a bit like this) and it normally draws attention to the fact that I have huge visible ribs extending from my neck to my bosom.
d) I'm skint. I have a feeling that I could probably get into Karen Millan. However, I can't afford £120 for a top that is dry-clean only.
Hence, despite spending 3 hours in Cribb's Causeway, I could find not a thing to wear! Apart from a corset - sadly that was £100... I'm probably going to try the funky independent shops on Park Street/Park Row and see if I have more success and, if not, the Le Redoute website (Le Redoute size 10s are tight).