Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just Weighing In

Weighing In On Women’s Fashion    


Key Word:  Women

Second Key Word:  Fashion

The two words shall not meet on any given day of the week in any clothing store regardless designer names, name brands or ‘off rack’ status.


I am 5’3” and, well, I don’t like to fess up, but err, overweight comes to mind.  No.  NotOHMYGOODNESSLOOKATTHATFATWOMAN’ overweight, but none-the-less, I am.

I’m working on it.  I celebrate two years smoke free next month – I’m shooting for any length of time with my nineteen year old body back.  Any one taking odds on that?

I have my favorite stores.  Macys, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, J. Crew, Aero, Talbots, Saks, and a few others.  Each store carries at the least one or two items that I know will fit me.  The item might be a tee, a style of slack, a blouse, shirt, sweater, sweats.  The item itself does not matter. 

My biggest challenge when shopping for clothing, not to be confused with fashion essentials, seems to be finding more than one or two items in the same store, preferably on the same day within the correct shopping season.   

Last week I took this poor, tired, worn out woman shopping for tops.  Not shorts.  Not pants.  Not bras, panties, socks, shoes, dresses or a bathing suit.  Let's save discussion of underwear for another day.

I spent hours upon hours traveling my favorite stores for tees and blouses:  Casual and business attire.  After an exhausting jaunt through the local mall I headed to the strip mall and TJ Maxx.  Oh, the purses as you enter the store.  The shoes!  The jewelry!  The junior department!   The baby clothing!  House ware items!

Then I saw the sign:  Specialty Sizes.  What?!  ‘Specialty Sizes’.  Oh Dear.  I’ve become a specialty size.  I scanned the aisles, all two of them, with the 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X labels.  Not a soul shopping there.  No wonder.  Placed smack dab in the middle of the shopping floor between the junior sundresses and the junior active wear with no privacy, no dignity, no women’s styles.   If you like young, you’re good.

I’ve come to realize that I can shop until I drop and still come up empty handed.  Oh yes!  There were many shirts, blouses, tees, tanks and empire-waist-just-how-everyone-wants-to-look-pregnant tops. There they were, racks stuffed to the point of not being able to move hangers in either direction in rayon and nylon and stick between your butt cheek polyester material, and not one top for a woman of my age, size and fashion sense could be found. 

I opted for three tops.  A simple pale yellow v-neck tee (the better to show off the crepe neck I’ve developed) in a stretch knit fabric.  The correct size proved impossible to wear, so I upped the size by 1X.  The next choice was a navy with pale blue thin stripes polo style shirt (great for golf!) with a nice collar, and the appropriate coverage for my décolletage.  On arriving home and trying it on a second time, I realized that the short sleeves are too short for my taste, allowing all the world to see my not so pretty upper arms … just a tad too much.  Argh.

The third top?  Huh.  A lovely teal green tee with some too young, modern design on the front.  Its tailored a bit and while on the hanger gives one the illusion that it will slim you in appearance uponslipping it over your head and onto your body.  Uh.  No.   The little swirls and sparkles just make for a broader look than I need at this particular time and that top has made its way back to the shop!

All three of these tops are designer brands found at an off price store.   I think the designers need a few more classes in anatomy if they are going to address women’s sizes. 

Oh, wait.  Thatsspecialty sizes’.  They need further classes in anatomy if they are going to mass produce apparel for the women of specialty sizes. 

Real women come in all shapes, sizes, ages and styles.  Maybe, just maybe, the stylist who dressed Marissa Jaret Winokur for ‘Dancing With the Stars’ will develop a line of clothing for women of a certain size.  At the least, the sparkles and fringe will take the attention away from my, er, uh, ... size.



frankandmary said...

I once forced a friend who'd been complaining about this very thing for years to go shopping with me & then take the clothing to a tailor & have all nipped & tucked.  She'd fought me for weeks about it being too expensive & time consuming.  That was years ago, now she does it all the time. She looks great, & yes, it is more expensive & time consuming, but we all waste time & money anyway...   She looks great now.  
I'd rather be held by Hezbollah forces than go to 6 places to find a blouse. ~Mary

mlraminiak said...

My "favorite" stores these days are Kohls and Nordstrom Rack (you folks don't have Nordie's back east, but it's the equivalent of, say, Saks. The "rack" is their outlet store.)  Everything at Kohl's is cheap imported crap (just like JC Penney and Macy's) but it at least looks as if their buyer has some idea of what might appeal to a fashionable baby boomer.  If you can find something in a fabric that isn't so thin and clingy that it looks like you airbrushed it onto your cellulite...

Lisa  :-]

suehertz said...

How very true on all counts.  I have to attend a pinning ceremony/dinner for my daughter graduating from Rutgers. (very proud mama here).  The event is "semi formal".  I first had to look that up to even figure out what I should wear.  Ok, dressy, not fancy.  Easy enough you would think. After 5 stores and trying on about 20 dresses, I was despondant.  I could either be a slut, or grandmother of the bride.  The event is fast approaching, so what the hell, Kolh's isnt far away, if nothing else I could get the dishtowels I wants.  I walked into the store and in front of my eyes, almost waving at me, calling my name was the perfect dress, simple, stylish, not matronly and 60% OFF.   Phew crisis averted, I dont have to wear my bathrobe.  But this should not be this difficult, dont they realize that women in their 40s-50's want to look nice?