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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nothing to wear!

Male readers suppress that wry smile. It's true, I have nothing to wear! You see, I indulged in a Trinny and Susannah style raid on my wardrobe, having brought down the summer clothes from the loft. Garment after garment was thrown into a black bin liner. "Too old," "too middle-aged," "never wear it."

The outcome was that there's a lot more room in the wardrobe, but finding an outfit for the office yesterday was quite a trial. The fluctuations of the English weather don't help. Normally, for my one or two days in the office, I wear dark trousers or a skirt and a jumper (short sleeved for summer). Before you visualise reindeers on the jumper or cute embroidery, they are very plain cashmere jumpers from M&S. And I usually wear some large-ish beads in dark colours.

But now that we're on the cusp of spring and summer, my two grey skirts were ruled out because opaque tights don't seem right, but nor will I be seen dead in sheer tights. And it's too early for bare legs, so that ruled out last year's pair of navy city shorts too, and a cream skirt that I love but have only worn once.

So that left me with trousers: black or brown, two pairs, or new, cream flannel (but I have the sneaking feeling they make me look fat). There are three other pairs but they've all mysteriously gone half-mast. Perhaps I'm confounding science by continuing to grow? The only way I can wear those trousers again is by buying ballet pumps, but as they're the most uncomfortable footwear known to woman, and old hat now to boot, I won't be doing that.

Eventually I put on what I call my David Bowie Oxford bags: fairly wide dark brown trousers that come up to the waist, Simon Cowell style. (But that's trendy now, right?). But what a time it took. I thought I looked a bit wintery at the time I left home when it was sunny, but by the time I got to Swindon it was pouring with rain and I was lamenting the fact I hadn't brought a coat.

Ideally, I should seek out some beautifully cut Joseph trousers, uplevel my cashmere to Brora and source some spectacular beads. I need more shoes too. And I used to have several simple shift dresses in plain colours, but they seem very old-fashioned now with all these ghastly smock and empire line frocks around.

Clothes shopping has become a bit of a bete-noire. I just don't like doing it. When I go into most women's shops, there's a niggly voice inside my head that ruins the experience. It's constantly saying "your arms are too big for sleeveless," "you can't wear empire line," "your thighs are too big for those." And with shops like Zara, where the clothes are mysteriously sized, there's the stress of wondering what size you're going to have to have to buy. I am a fairly normal size 12 to 14, I would add (US eight to 10).

So I always scuttle back into the relatively stress-free environment of M&S in Marble Arch where the inner voice is largely silenced, and some of the Autograph and Limited collections are very good.

But it's not always a happy experience. There are always depessing racks of clothes that refuse to sell: the jumpers in hideous colours, ghastly cheap looking peasant style flouncy skirts in Per Uno and acres of Footglove shoes built for comfort. Coupled with hideous changing rooms with mirrors that act like searchlights, this is often not a pleasant experience and probably why so many of us buy clothes there without trying them on and then have to bring them back.

Mail order is not the answer either. I get some wonderful tops in flattering colours from Kettlewell Colours which don't need to be sent back, but when I bought clothes from Boden they always seem to be disappointing in fit and quality, but too much of a faff to send back, so they're kept but seldom worn. Life is too short to have to wait in for couriers all day, or have to go to the post office and queue for 20 minutes. So what's a girl to do? Answers on a postcard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for you that you did a Trinny and Susannah style raid on my wardrobe! Very brave... I wish I had the guts to do the same. Have you checked out mail order cashmere company Pure Collection? They do lovely cashmere jumpers and cardigans and I think are better quality than Brora. Might be worth a look?

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