Monday, July 12, 2010
I had the best day yesterday. My mum is in town, and we both met my sister and niece for late lunch and a spot of shopping.
Yes, yes, it was all very nice spending time with my family, blah, blah. What really got me excited though was my clothes shopping. I haven't bought clothes in such a long time from the combined reasons of 'use what I have', 'save money' and 'not skinny enough'.
I bought a pair of jeans, as this is what I wear. I've decided to embrace denim rather than fight it, at a place which makes great, but pricey pairs. They had a sale table with every conceivable style on it. I tried on 75% of the ones in my size. I ended up with a pair reduced from $289 to $69.
I have reconfirmed that skinny leg jeans aren't for me. I have thighs. In skinny leg jeans my legs look like ice cream cones. And of course since I carry extra weight on my top half more, I then look like an ice cream in a cone. I loved the look of them bunched at my ankle above my high heel, but not as my eye travelled further up. And my bum is very round when viewed side on.
I asked for my mum and my sister's honest impressions as I tried on each pair rapid-fire style. I did not once apologise to them for being more curvy than I would like or say things like 'imagine these with five kilos less'.
The style I chose I didn't have on my first try-on pile. They are wide leg flares. As soon as I put them on I knew they were the ones. They fitted my hips and thighs closely, flared out from the knee and all this balanced out the round bum and top half. I'm very happy with them.
Amazingly, they were the same size I've always bought - a 12 here, which is a US size 8. My husband noticed this and said 'see, told you you were still the same size'. He's a doll.
I was going to buy a second pair which were a slightly different flared style in grey denim. My sister looked unsure about them. When I said to her I wanted another pair 'just for work', she replied 'is that really what you want?' as in don't settle for them. Such wise words, I put those ones back.
If I'd bought both it would have been the blue ones I wore most and they grey ones would have languished, not quite right.
I also bought a top from a different store, a soft, slinky t-shirt knit with no sleeves and a scooped hem a bit like a men's business shirt. The shoulder area is slightly shoulder-padded and ruched. But it's the colour I love best: orange-red. The warm red really suits me if I do say so myself. This was also reduced, from $89.90 down to $11.90. And again, I have not gone against what I wear and try to change myself. This top doesn't need to be ironed and it's a bit dressier than a t-shirt.
If I was going against what I wear and tried to change myself, I would have bought a cotton fitted shirt. Then only worn it once a month when I was in an ironing mood. I do want to find a new white cotton fitted shirt as I don't have one at the moment. That is the only exception I am going to make.
I have a hard time trying to think about the purported French way of shopping, by purchasing at full-price and being picky. I do think you can sale-shop and be picky too. And I was incredibly picky yesterday.
Out of at least a dozen pairs of jeans, I took one, and out of the same number of dresses and tops, I bought one top. I also did not buy a pair of earrings, as I wear the same faux diamond plain studs, pearl studs or small gold hoops every day. No other earrings are ever worn, and if they are, I feel uncomfortable in them.
My husband and I own and work in a retail shoe store. When we reduce items, it doesn't mean they are terrible. It simply means the kind of customer that wears them doesn't shop with us, or we bought too many, or it's a seasonal style only and we now have a broken size range. Or sometimes in sale time (twice a year at the end of winter and summer) we reduce just about everything, including classic styles.
Sometimes it's our favourite shoes in the shop that we have to reduce to get them moving, and it's just because the kind of customers we get are different to our own personal style. A French woman purchased a pair of a gorgeous style that we reduced once. I loved the shoes but they hadn't sold, so we reduced them.
She exclaimed over them and bought a pair, couldn't believe they were on special. They looked great on her and she wore them exactly how I would have (I was thrilled!) She was so stylish and chic, and it really brought it home to me that everything that is on sale isn't 'unwanted and picked over'. The French woman was canny in her shopping in that she knew her style, knew a bargain and knew quality.
I hear customers giving helpful advice to their friends like 'don't buy it just because it's on sale' which I would say too, but I think don't be suspicious of items on sale. I wouldn't have bought the jeans or top at full price yesterday, but only because I have clothes I can wear.
But if something comes up that you know is your style on special, I say grab it. When we were leaving the jeans store, my sister told me the jeans I chose were very 'relaxed French chic' in style. I don't think she could have said it better to make me to glad of my purchase.
Worn with high heels and my new red top, or with a Breton top, I can channel Jane Birkin in the 60s/70s.