Sometime in November 2016, we made a trip to Shellharbour which is the largest of the nearby shopping centres. We being my parents, the other half, and myself. Mother loves Millers and I am not adverse to the place because I find a lot of great shrug cardigans there. In fact all the shrug cardigans I own originated at Millers.
Sometimes Millers have stuff that works for me – it can also skew very “Queen Mother” from time to time, mixed in with stuff you might find in the wardrobe of Duchess Catherine.
They had these dresses which had silver foil metallic printing on them, plus these round metallic spots which are kind of sparkly. I’m always on board for sparkly, in fact one of my nicknames is sparkles. So I grabbed a size 16 off the rack without even thinking about it, tried it on, and it was far too big. The 14 was brought to me – still too big. Then the 12 – which fit.
I tried on a shrug cardigan in large – way too big. Medium, still too big. I ended up with a small that fit perfectly, and after purchasing both of these items with glee, I left the store somewhat in shock. The last time I bought shrug cardigans at Millers, I bought the EXTRA large. XL – L – M – S. That is a huge change for me.
Sizes are never the same across stores. You can be a 10 at one and a 16 in another. Over the years I learned not to let the sizes concern me greatly. When everything that fit was XL, that was actually pretty easy.
My body might be smaller now but my mind is still stuck in XL, it seems. I cannot look at a piece of clothing and know whether it will fit or not – and if I try, I end up with something way too big. Now I just keep trying things on until they actually fit which means a visit to a store can take 30 minutes to an hour.
The bottom line is – I am smaller, fitter and healthier than I have been for many years – and this means much of my wardrobe no longer fits me well. Some of my most favourite clothes which have been reliable wardrobe staples for years are now way too big. Most of the stuff you see in that photo up there is 2-4 sizes too big.
This meant it was time to do some shopping, and over the past few months I have tried to do that with limited success. You would think it would be fun, right? NO. Especially when you already have things you love in your wardrobe, like this Alfani asymmetrical tunic from Macys which has little black sparkly crystals all over it and cost me something like $10. I have had this for 5 years.
Or like these style and co tops from Macys which I loved so much I bought in every single colour they had, for the huge price of $15 each once they took off all the discounts. These I have had since 2010. They have a little sparkle, they were perfect for work or going out. The amount of wear I got out of these.. and they are all still wearable, for someone else but sadly not for me. Just too big.
Fashion runs in cycles, and right now walking into any “trendy” store is like walking into my closet in the late 80’s early 90’s. It is fashion deja-vu. Velvet bodysuits. BODYSUITS WTF. Hotpants. Cropped bomber jackets, some in velvet, one of which I did buy. Floral dresses akimbo – some of which I swear I actually owned back then. STIRRUP PANTS. Need I say more?
Given that we are listening to 90’s tracks in the car a lot right now, walking into those shops after driving there listening to the music I would have been listening to back in the 90’s feels about right. And sometimes I will see a thing and it takes me back to a moment in time or an outfit I used to wear, and I am right back there. What I am trying to say is, this fashion time warp is really freaking me out.
In order to find anything worthy of adding to my wardrobe, I have had to pick through an incredible array of Shiznit I Would Never Buy Or Wear In A Zillion Billion Years. I have had to walk past a lot of plus size shiznit which I totally WOULD buy but cannot get in my size anymore.
I know who I am fashion wise – it would be described as quirky, eccentric, unusual. You can’t just find that anywhere, though it is easier to find that in the plus sizes than in the smaller sizes. I like bright colours, metallic accents, foil prints, crystals, animal print and plays on animal print. I like to layer.
Actually finding those things, well, that is another story. It requires patience, time, effort, and a willingness to hunt through the junk to find the gold OR finding a store that is full of stuff you like in sizes that fit you.
Out of all the “shopping mall” stores in Australia right now, the one that is probably closest to my style is Noni B. They also have some stuff that can skew very “Queen Mother” but in between that, they have some stuff which seems to have been designed with me in mind.
Like this Billie dress – this is exactly me, in dress format. I did not buy it because Sephyroth just brought me a bunch of great dresses from the USA when he visited back in October.
Next week in part 2 – using layers to expand my options.
13 thoughts on “The Clothing Chronicles – Part 1”
I love your style, although I think you could have some fun with Very Queen Mother if you really tried. Just take along a couple of bottles of gin. I was a very skinny kid (and adult) I’m not skinny anymore and not heavy either, but I still imagine myself as scrawny and am sometimes surprised by my reflection.
I definitely could have fun with Queen Mother style, one thing I did steal from the Queen Mother and the Queen is wearing brooches. ;)
Firstly, congratulations on your health! And I can relate…I do not enjoy shopping for clothes. Everything I see in stores either fits the old Queen Mother style or the 13 year old girl style. I HATE the hipster trend…I was a teenager in the 80’s and I loved the style THEN…not now when I’m nearly 50 years old lol…I find that these days I can only find clothing I will wear at thrift shops. I do have a sewing machine, but patterns are also too trendy for me and I don’t have the knowledge (patience maybe?) to “wing” something! I have a lot of clothes in my cupboard that are a little too small for me now, I gained some weight when I met my boyfriend. Still though, I look at the clothes I even wore 5 years ago and I wouldn’t wear them now.
Thank you Rain! It has been a long journey. My body keeps surprising me with what it is capable of, and I am enjoying pushing myself. :)
I think this would be a lot easier for me if I could look at all the clothes and think I wouldn’t wear them now. I love them so much, it is difficult to let them go and some of them I am going to find out if it is possible to have them altered to fit me now because I really don’t want to. ;)
Interesting comment re. Miller’s sizes – I buy all my clothes there and I can
fit into anything from a 12 to a 16. I hate shopping for clothes (thank god
Miller’s has a online shop!) – I’ve lost 20 kg. in the last year and am about to
embark on the dreaded activity of getting a new winter wardrobe since very
few of my clothes fit any longer. Ugh.
Barbara – my big piece of advice to you is to do the thing I should have done first but left till last and I only just did it yesterday – go and have a good bra fitting. Yes, I know many of us hate this like root canal, but I was surprised to find very comfortable bras which I can wear all day without feeling like I had a suit of armor on. :) I went to Bras N Things and it was done with a tape measure over the top of my clothes, so much better than the old days.
With the right foundation the shopping would have been a lot easier for me, looking back on it now. ;)
I did have a good bra fitting when I first lost weight – perfectly fitting bras now! Still
hate shopping, though. Went to Miller’s today – total haul was one pair of trousers.
Everything else was either size 8 or size 22!
Barbara – I am so glad to hear that because I did it round the wrong way. A thing happened to me on the weekend, I found a little local boutique down in Milton on the NSW coast with some really great staff and myself and The Other Half spent a couple of hours in there trying on things. Well, he patiently watched while I tried on things. The owner kept telling me I needed to get a new bra and she was SO right. The ones I wear now are from 2013 2011 or 2010, and they are mainly seamless sports bra types which worked ok at my larger size but now they are just smooshing the girls into a flat shelf.
It was great because the owner pushed me in a new fashion direction which I was not expecting, but now that I looked at the things I bought since the Millers trip, I can see I have been quietly heading that way.
Do you have a Noni B anywhere nearby? I found some gorgeous tunics in there and the clearance rack was all $25 or 2 for $40.
I also had some very good luck at Harris Scarfe just recently – not a place I would have gone in the past either. I feel like they have put some great effort into their range and they have some Vera Wang branded stuff which is just stunning. :)
I hate clothes shopping, mostly because I am short and fat. Five feet tall and size 16 around, except for my belly which is size 18. I haven’t worn a dress in years, decades really, I don’t even own one anymore. Not even a skirt. I am trying to lose weight, with three kgs gone since January, but I want to lose it slowly, so the skin has time to adjust. I don’t want to be left with loose scraggy flaps that I have to roll up and tuck in somewhere. So for me it is tracky daks in winter and denim shorts all summer, until I can fit into my jeans again.
Dresses have been my go-to for a long time now, in particular the wrap dress because no matter what size I am they always hug my curves. But there was a time when I did not own a single one. I used to be a jeans and t-shirt person 99% of the time. I think it was Trinny and Susannah on What Not To Wear who taught me to like and even love a dress, because they showed someone who was a similar shape to me (an apple) what kind of dresses suited their shape. I went out and tried one on and I was sold. :)
I think it is really easy to get stuck in a fashion rut and not want to get out of it because it is what we are used to. For me it usually is not until I can no longer get that rut item that I have to branch out into a new thing.
This time I have been steered in a new direction mainly because what I like and what I am used to is mostly 16+ and that won’t fit me now. :)
Congrats on the smaller size!! I have the same issue now: I can’t look at something and know it will fit. And even when I grab what I think will fit, it often doesn’t. I guess it’s a good problem to have, but I thought that once I lost all the weight shopping would be easier. I mean, it is overall, but I’ve just shifted from one issue to a different one.
Your last sentence is exactly my feeling about all of this condensed down. ;) I had no idea that the things I most loved style wise would not be available to me in my current size. When I walk into any shop the section that speaks to me loudest is always the plus size section and none of that stuff will fit me now.
The other half has been suggesting I try more fitted things which was really tough for me at first. I prefer a tunic headed in the “I’m almost a dress” direction. I like my butt and crotch area to be covered. I have found just three of those.
If I were in the states I think it might be easier – it always has been easy for me to shop in Hawaii, especially at Macys. The dresses Sephyroth got me are from Kohls are very Joan Holloway from Mad Men, absolutely gorgeous fabrics with a high neckline and longer sleeves.
Yesterday I tried on my “tops” wardrobe. Three of the tops can now be worn as dresses rather than tops and they actually fit well which surprised me. I thought maybe I could get the Alfani altered but on second look I suspect it isn’t going to work. All my style and co tops are now dress length, they come down to mid thigh, which I could live with if they were not so gapey around the chest. So they will be leaving, hopefully for another life with someone who will love them as much as I have.
All of my Michael Kors stuff from Macys fit me at my largest, and they still fit me now except for one dress. I don’t know how he does that magic. I took a look through the Macys website and he is doing some mixed media stuff I would adore but it is up money in AUD – the Macys clearance racks have to be shopped in person and that is a thousand dollar plane fare from here! ;)
Totally agree! I’ve found some good stuff at Millers but you do have to pick through “nanna on a cruise” to find it sometimes. It shows you should never pass over a store because you think it only caters to a certain demographic. I also don’t pay much attention to what size is on the label anymore, given I have everything from 8 – 14, XS to XL in my wardrobe that all fit. Some cardis and jackets are definitely on my radar for the coming cool weather!