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Friday, 29 May 2015

Reasons why Fran needs a personal fashion adviser (and some self-esteem)

Is there anyone else as useless as I am at choosing and buying clothes? In the past week, I have had all these fashion disasters.

1. I bought a pair of linen trousers which fitted perfectly in the changing room, forgetting that after an hour's wear, linen trousers stretch to two sizes bigger, bagging around your bottom as though you'd lost three stone and flapping across your thighs like a tarpaulin in a strong wind. Then, of course, it's too late to take them back to the shop. ('It says these were size 18, Madam, when you bought them. How come they're now big enough to camp a family in?')

2. Conversely, I bought a pair of black trousers for work, which seemed fine in the changing room, early in the morning on a breakfast of yogurt and fruit. However, the next day, after porridge for breakfast, a lunch at work of ham sandwiches and someone's birthday cake, a few Party Rings someone left on a desk, and five mugs of restorative teacher-tea, I walked home feeling as though I'd been shrink-wrapped ready for the freezer. All I could think was: is there anyone walking behind me, and will they be wondering if at any minute I'll burst out of these trousers like a Cumberland sausage on a too-high heat?

3. I bought a dress. I thought perhaps it was time for a style change from my usual uniform of black trousers and variously-striped-and-patterned cardigans. With a pair of black tights, I mused, examining myself in the changing room mirror, perhaps I'd get away with it, despite not having worn a dress since my son's wedding in 2008. Then I got home and put it on and twirled this way and that in front of my bedroom mirror. Let's just say, I've never felt more as though I was a woman who's really a man in drag as a woman. What didn't help was that the only pair of black tights I owned were some I wore as an infant in 1964 which I found stuffed in a drawer and, as I pulled them on, fourteen ladders appeared, running down my legs like zips out of control. The tights went in the bin. The dress is going back to the shop. And I won't be going to the pantomime this year in case I haven't yet achieved closure and the Dame brings it all back.

Fran's pupils found it hard to concentrate on the punctuation lesson she was delivering. 



I have had one success. I went into the charity shop and found a pair of blue summer trousers for £3.99. They are also linen and despite being ironed get as creased as Gordon Ramsay's forehead after thirty seconds of wearing unless I stand still and do nothing. But they fit, not being too baggy, or too tight, or too similar to sex-change clothing. 

And they'll get good wear, nothing else in the wardrobe being suitable for public view.  




31 comments:

  1. I think the trousers gang up and draw lots to be too FLAPpy or shrink wrapped. Mine are in the same gang.

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    1. I knew there was something spiteful about them.

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  2. I don't like linen. It's itchy. You need Favorite Young Man and The Hurricane to assist you with your wardrobe. They always tell me what I shouldn't wear. The problem is that they don't tell me what I should wear, so I can't leave the house. The neighbors will complain if they see me roaming sans clothing.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. There's a book written by two fashion advisers called 'What Not to Wear' which someone bought me a few Christmases ago. I thought the hint a little pointed ...

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  3. Two weddings and a bar mitzvah this summer, so there was no dodging The Great Dress Search.
    I had hoped to avoid the great-in-the-dressing-room, horrifying-at-home phenomenon by my new technique - just buy every dress that I can struggle into, live with them for a few weeks, and then return the losers.
    Still in the gestation period

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds this all very stressful.

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  4. Here to show solidarity and confirm you are most definitely not alone! Shopping for clothes is my idea of torture.Thankfully I don't work outside of my home and can get away with wearing 'old comfortables' However, getting ready to go anywhere in public is fraught with the angst of 'what do I wear?' I wish I could pull on a hassock and be done with it!

    Absolutely love your writing, Fran. Thank you, always, for ensuring I leave here feeling entertained and chuckling for a while afterwards.

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    1. 'Old comfortables' .... yet another reason I'd love to work from home! Thanks for your kind comments - I'm glad the blog makes you smile. Job done, then!

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  5. One of my readers recently commented on a photo I published of me standing in front of a giant redwood tree that I was still wearing the "retirement uniform." Most of the pictures of me on my blog I'm wearing the same thing...black pants, black and white striped shirt, white down vest. I just ordered a new vest in a different color...and I'll look for a new shirt too. Time for a new uniform!

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    1. Pants and vests - they mean such different things in Britain!

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  6. I'm great at buying socks.

    And, er, that's about it.

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    1. I'll know where to come next time I need some. I've lost my confidence entirely and don't even trust myself to buy the right socks any more.

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  7. I'm as useless as you when it comes to buying clothes. Everything I own is secondhand (except underwear and socks), shapeless T-shirts, shapeless fleece lined tracksuit pants, my old black work trousers and several polar fleece jumpers for the winter, which are now covered in cat hair. I have trouble finding things in my size and price range, so I wear what I have and don't care how I look.
    I haven't bought anything linen since I once owned a linen shirt and got fed up with the ironing of it.

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    1. This is all hugely comforting.

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  8. The last time I wore a dress or a skirt was February, 1986. Can't say I've ever missed them.

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    1. Did you know on the day it would be the Last Time?

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    2. Yes, I thought "Eff this, I'm not wearing a skirt any more!"

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    3. Those kinds of decisions feel so GOOD.

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  9. My son-in-law's sister has a rule,when buying clothes: never buy anything you don't love, for if you don't love it when you buy it, you will never love it.

    This is so true. My cupboard is full of old clothes I never loved.

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    1. So so true. My cupboard is just the same.

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  10. I have never bought anything in Linen. It always looks as if it has been slept in for a week, even before it has left the hanger in the shop! Cant remember when I last wore a dress either!

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    1. Neither do I understand the jeans you can buy that already have a dirty great crease in them specially put in by the manufacturers. Or that are already ripped, or stained, or bleached. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

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  11. I just don't GET linen !
    I think it's hot ( when it's supposed to make you feel cool ) It's; itchy, scratchy, needs ironing / steaming to look good & that's before you put it on !

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    1. Makes you wonder why - just why - although I think linen trousers look better than linen shirts or jackets on men.

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  12. Great post. Really made me LOL. I'm with you on all this now although I used to love clothes shopping. Not so much these days. And yes- the charity shop buy is the best ever :) You are such a great pick-me-up, Fran Hill :)

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    1. I would imagine you as an expert shopper, Mrs J.

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  13. This had me shaking with laughter, Fran. Shopping for clothes is a nightmare and often I avoid changing rooms, and just buy something on the basis of guesswork, and then return to change it later if it proves not right. My irony is that I once did a Colour Me Beautiful session, and that's when my problems started. Matching up colours correctly is incredibly difficult; guessing whether a colour will go with something you have at home in your wardrobe. I've ended up with several pinks in different shades that don't go with anything else. And then there's the question of buying something that might be the right colour, but is the wrong style. Life was much easier when I wore black tops with everything. I now often settle for purple and navy blue, just to regain my sanity...

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    1. I identify with everything you're saying. My wardrobe has ended up too as a result of my disastrous shopping trips as a mish-mash of NEARLY matching colours, NEARLY matching styles and NEARLY fitting garments. Needless to say, this isn't a recipe for fashion success.

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  14. Retirement has simplified my life . As long as I actually get dressed in the morning , I'm presentable .

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    1. This is one reason I long for retirement. Oh to be able to wear my creased up linen trousers and slouch around in them day after day. I can't wait.

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