Wednesday, November 08, 2006

a woman of substance

it suddenly occurred to me the other day that although i'm madly knitting away on the luscious cashmere shawl to wear to the civil partnership thing next week, i would also have to find something to wear under it (lace is, by its very nature, full of holes, so a cashmere shawl on its own would probably lead swiftly to an arrest for indecent exposure). although i've stipulated that the dress code is jeans/casual, all my shirts are pretty old & tatty, so i figured a new shirt was in order. my needs were simple - i wanted a basic black cotton or jersey shirt, preferably with longish sleeves, comfortable & casual yet flattering. pretty easy to find, you say? well.
i spent about 3 hours trawling around glasgow city centre, in the rain, becoming more & more annoyed & frustrated with the state of women's fashion. not only does it seem to be impossible to find anything "basic" (no frills, odd shapes, or mustard yellow, please!) but i was trying on the largest sizes in the shops & still finding them too small. either they were just too tight in general, or oddly shaped & badly fitted, or the body was big enough but you would have had to have arms the size of pipecleaners to get into the sleeves. eventually, i managed to find a shirt that was flattering, comfortable, and exactly the look i wanted...
... in a "specialist" shop for, shall we say, women of substance.
now, i'm not a tiny person, & i'd be the first to say it. but i'm also not enormous by any standards. my body shape tends towards the naturally curvy; the only point in my life where i was "thin" was during a period when i didn't have enough money to buy food. now, i still have no money, but luckily the resident sock appreciator earns enough that we can afford to eat, and consequently my body has returned to its natural shape. (also, i'm 30, and i'll never have the waist of a teenager again). sure, i could probably lose a little weight if i wanted to, but that would involve giving up everything that i enjoy (namely eating, and sedentary hobbies such as knitting) and would require copious amounts of exercise (which i hate). i'm fit enough to walk the dog every day for at least an hour (usually more), and i eat a relatively sensible diet, with treats as & when i want them.
generally, i'm very happy with my body - it's healthy, it (mostly) does what i want it to do, and it looks great. i'm over the body hangups i had as a teenager - until i try to go clothes shopping.
why is it that one afternoon of fluorescent-lit changing rooms can bring back all my old body image issues? why is women's fashion sized so bizarrely? how can a fairly average-sized person be unable to fit into the largest size provided by the standard high-street shop? and where, in this land of short, round scottish people, are all these tiny-waisted people with long, thin limbs??
all this from a simple expedition to find a top - don't even get me started on trying to find jeans that fit. why, oh why do the jeans manufacturers not realise that many women have hips & asses that are more marilyn than twiggy?
i'm not sure that i'm quite ready to sign up to the campaign for a pantsless society, but i'm definitely fed up with shopping for clothes. time to check out some clothing websites for women of substance - it's either that, or learn how to sew.


roro said...

Pants-free! It's a valid lifestyle choice, Tigerlilith.

Anyway, congrats on finding the perfect civil union shirt! I think that having body images issues is a totally normal response today's restrictive skin tight clothing for women. Why is it so difficult to find clothes in one's size that don't look like they have a crush on you? I'm finding this even in the "women of substance" stores I regularly shop in - I haven't gotten fatter, but the clothes are getting smaller/shorter/tighter. I don't want to wear a polyester tent but I'm not so into the crop top either. Sigh.

TheBunny said...

Personally, I'm opting to learn to sew. Regardless of my weight, I've never been able to find clothing that fits. I'm tall with long legs but there isn't a thing out there that works for me. At the specialty stores, if it fits me around then it is about 3 inches too short.

We could make a small fortune if we had a store that produced classic clothing (lines, design, colors, etc.) that was sized to fit each size rather than one size and then just expanded or decreased based on some kind of math formula. And yes, we would allow for fannies and chests and waists. Whatever the clothing industry thinks we would spend in production we would clearly make up for in bare naked women begging for a nice trouser!