The weather has finally started to bite with temperatures going well below zero at night. This means that the winter clothes have been dragged out of the storage suitcase and gloom has set in about how old they are, the fact that they look far more shabby than I’d thought, and in some cases simply do not fit anymore. I don’t have a very good relationship with my wardrobe, and certainly not since having Smelly and Fatso. It’s not that I’ve put on loads of weight since having them, if anything I sprang back to my prebirth weight pretty quickly after both of them. The blebbing started after I came back here. With Smelly I went back to work fairly quickly and not driving meant climbing a big hill each day to the bus stop, going most places on public transport and climbing 4 flights of stairs everyday. In the new flat it’s only 3 flights but I don’t go out most days, am not working, and this time the hill is a bit more precarious than the last.
No, the reason I don’t have a very good relationship with my wardrobe, is more down to fashion. I do really try to make an effort but it just doesn’t seem to happen. I’m either too wary to go for bold patterns when they are in and so stick with something plain and simple, or the style of the day just seems to make me look fat and shapeless. Last year was a prime example, the tops coming into the shops were actually more like maternity wear-very generous at the front. Since my bump with Fatso wasn’ too big, for about 7-8 months I could get away with wearing those tops and I did feel rather stylish even with a bump. Even managed to save a bit of money too. The trouble was, after giving birth and going back to pre birth weight after about 3 weeks I wanted to buy some new clothes that would show off the fact that I was once again slim (by my standards), and that I did have a waist once more. The tops that had been in the shops while I was pregnant were still there after his birth. I kept picking up tops thinking (sometimes out loud) ‘BUT I’m not pregnant anymore, why can’t I find anything fitting?’
Plus the fact that I have hardly more than 2 minutes to try something on before one cried or the other complained of being bored. In order to be able to do a clothes shop properly I needed a babysitter for two separate occasions, the first so I could get my head round not having the kids with me, and the second so I could actually shop. On one occasion, in desperation and with no offers of baby sitters, I simply went to Asda and pushed both boys, in the enormous shopping trolley, into the disabled changing room and enjoyed Smelly giving me fashion advice. In the end he appeared to have good taste and so I picked the things he told me too. One thing was a flowery linen skirt which I love, and it may have not been a completely new summer wardrobe but it had some new bits to mix with the old and feel a bit less shabby.
The thing is, now winter is drawing ever colder, it’s time to do the same for the winter wardrobe. Being a stay at home mum means that I can be tempted to bum around in shabby clothes, like my old track suit bottoms and not bother. Trouble is that does nothing for my mood. I always think that if I get up, shower, do my hair and put on something nice, it will help lift me out of a gloom that may descend. At the very least it may help to make me want to tackle getting out of the house and doing something different for a change. Not a guaranteed fix by any means but helps if I believe it, and usually if I feel I look nice the day starts better.
Not being a very good shopper in the UK, I seem to find that I’m even worse over here. Turks are generally much shorter on average, so finding clothes that suit my shape is pretty hard here. Add to that the fact that my friend Greg once pointed out that most of the top fashion designers were gay and they were designing for their ideal woman–a svelte young lad, hence all the clothes for so long that have supported the stick thin, flat chested, no waist women, rather than those with curves in the ‘right’ places. As I go in at the waist, jeans never fit without a gaping space at the back. I have large thighs and calves so need wide leg or boot cut, and often trousers that fit well on the waist are too tight on the leg. My legs aren’t so long, but even in the UK I feel more comfortably in longer length trousers, so usually wait till I’m back home to by those. My feet are a size 42 European, and here you’re lucky to find 40 so again that waits till a UK trip. So that leaves tops, or possibly dresses, that I can attempt to buy over here.
A friend told me about a new, massive C&A that had opened in a yet another new shopping centre. It would seem that if they are not building schools, apartments, hospitals or business centres then it’s a shopping centre. God forbid they should try building a sports complex, opera house, or some other cultural facility which this city sadly lacks. Feeling bit low, I decided to check it out. I thought I would try to buy at least one new thing that would I could wear back to the UK and feel was new and fairly smart. Husband promised to do a half day at work so he could take me before we had to go and collect Smelly from school. I had high hopes of just a couple of hours to leisurely do some shopping, after all, that is about all I can cope with at the best of times. Shopping is a chore rather than a hobby. Well best laid plans and everything….by the time Husband finally made it home and we got out of the house, we had less than an hour to get to the centre, do some shopping and get to the school. So basically less than 30 minutes to look round the store and if lucky try somethings on.
C&A made me feel nostalgic and old. It must be about 20 years since I went last in one after they withdrew from the UK. They still had the same names for the ranges. Clockhouse for teenagers, boy did that make me feel old, as that was where I would be dragged by mum to select new clothes, Mum loved C&A. Even if I could bear to go back to 1980’s fashions that have sadly made a come back, aside from the fact that I’d look like mutton, there was no way I could think about Clockhouse, it was all short-sleeved and skimpy. No way, unless of course I would be going down Big Market in Newcastle anytime soon. So to the middle-aged ladies section, Yessica. Shopping my style is to flit past the rails till something catches my eye, not to doggedly go through each rail like some people I know do. Not much really got my eye, and I did find a lot rather boring, but that seems to be what I do, a few boring basics with a pretty skirt to jazz it up. In the end though I did managed to grab an armful and whizz into the changing rooms. With half rejected and two things the same but different colours, I did seem to have a few more things than I’d hoped.
There was very little time to be able to look in any of the other shops, but even so, whizzing past their window displays reminded me why clothes shopping for winter is an extra problem. As it also includes Christmas and New Year, all the shops are gearing up and stocking party clothes. Everywhere you look, shiny fabrics, sparkly sequins or beads. ‘Special’ clothes as I call them. These days I am not a great party goer and so can’t justify the inflated prices they charge for these wear minimally clothes. I understand fully why they stock them, and it is nice to see them in the windows, the problem is when that’s all they seem to be stocking for winter. As I go home for Christmas most people say to me that it’s a good time for shopping due to the January sales. I have honestly never found this to be the case because while I am looking for winter woolies and stylish ones at that, all the shops want to do is shed their shiny/sparkly stock, and the stuff that isn’t on sale seems to have morphed into spring fashions. I’ve never really understood why it’s so hard to find warm winter clothes at this time of year, does it have something to do with the fact that people so over heat their houses that they wander round in T-shirts at home mid-winter? That they only really need an extra warm coat because they simply go from one over heated building to another, with a car in-between? Surely I’m not the only one who walks, uses public transport, or believes that your house does not need to be heated like a sauna in winter, and cooled like fridge in summer?
In the end I got few new tops. I’m wearing my favourite today and I do feel a bit less shabby because of it. I’ll still have to do some shopping in the UK as I’m desperate for some new trousers, other than jeans. I’ll just have to remember what Sister says and go in to some shops that I would normally dismiss, and attempt to route through and hope that not everything is ‘special’.