27 September 2009

Size Matters

WARNING: Blokes stop reading NOW. For girls only!

I always knew that being in the UK would present a body-image challenge to me. Every time I have come here I have always ended up feeling big and frumpy.

Even when I was dead skinny (just after I got married) I still felt large when shopping here. Maybe because I'm automatically a size larger in England. Maybe because I am self-conscious meeting all Mr G's friends and family and being under the microscope.

Yes, I have my insecurities about the way I look. But somehow at home in my comfort zone surrounded by my lovely friends and familiar places I feel OK about myself - on the curvy side of average. I haven't felt any great urgency to rush out and diet or exercise madly. My lazy ways have seemed perfectly fine until now.

Confession Time: (now, really blokes, if you didn't heed my warning to stop reading before, you'd better do it now!!)

... I hate underwire bras so I have still been wearing... my maternity bras *gasp*
... AND Mr G finally spoke up and complained about my unsexy old undies.

He said, Babe I love you, but really you need to go and buy some new undies. These are just sad.

I am simply too fond of comfort. My old stretchy undies and maternity bras are comfy. But it's time to move on *sniff*

Mr G enlisted the help of my lovely pal Maya when we were staying with her. She took me bra and undie shopping at a fancy bra-fitting shop called Bravissimo. It was a bit traumatic but I survived. Eek. Would you believe I am Size 34 Double G???

{YES I am talking about Bras and undies. Uncle Allan you only have yourself to blame!}

I nearly fell off my chair. So now I have some new bras which make my clothes look way better on and are much sexier (the underwires are taking a bit to get used to but Maya made me promise to persevere... and I am). We got some silky little undies to match (which are sexy and comfy, so there you go.)

But after spending a day clothes and shoe-shopping for Mr G (a.k.a Mr Imelda Markos) I was feeling a bit left out. Kind, supportive Mr G said, Why don't we come back tomorrow and go clothes shopping for you?

So the next day we returned to town, armed with our credit cards. Mr G said his aunties had given him some advice on where to take me. We walked past Primark, Next and M&S. We entered a shop called Evans.

Hmmm, seems to be a few older women in here... I was looking for jeans, and headed for the nearest rack... which on closer inspection seemed to start at Size 18.

I felt a prickle of horror go up my neck. Surely not?? My husband has taken me clothes shopping in... A Big Girls Shop???

The skinny 20-something salesgirl smiled condescendingly at me (middle-aged Big Girl that I am). Did I need any assistance??

No! I wanted to get out of here!

Mr G didn't understand my distress, and insisted I try on the size 18 jeans. Of course they swam on me.

Get me out of here!!! I demanded through clenched teeth.

Out on the pavement I ranted through my tears: How could you do that to me?? Am I that big that I need a Plus-size shop?? Is that what the aunties think?? Did they tell you where to find clothes big enough to stretch over your wife's jumbo backside?? I was mortified, horrified.

Mr G explained the misunderstanding. He'd innocently asked advice on some good shops to take me. He mentioned my paranoia about the clothing size difference here. They suggested Next and M&S... but if all else fails Evans has a wide range of sizes (apparently from size 14UK, but I never saw any smaller sizes).

OK. I felt a little better. I forgive you Mr G. So they don't all think I'm a blimp??

(Well, I have had three big babies; I really was huge with Scrag and he's left me with a bit of a jelly belly, so you can understand my paranoia?)

We headed to Next and the first pair of jeans I tried on fitted like a glove and looked great (UK size 16 = NZ size14).

I also got a way-cool jacket and a gorgeous M&S dress. I left satisfied. I've worn the jeans and jacket every day since - dead comfy. But I think I've had my fill of clothes shopping now. Way too traumatic.

Maybe just some new shoes...?? I don't have any issues about my feet, after all.

Click for the Next installment in our UK Journey: Escape (where I wear my new dress)

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Trees said...

I love clothes shopping but really have to be in the right mood and with the right friends (John is not my ideal shopping buddy and we're both fine with that)!
I do a lot of shopping in Primark because of the prices but only go during quieter times, late night or first thing otherwise the scrum and the queues are too much.
Glad you got a few bits and definitely go for the shoes! Clarks have a range I love called Air wear (or something similar), they have slightly rounded toes, great colours and are SO comfy. They are around the £50 mark but the ones I got two years ago are still going strong.

Anonymous said...

Oh my!!! Simone I am SO SO SO glad you finally got "the girls" into a proper bra...there is comfort out there, we just have to be brave!!!
Thanks for the candidness as I am sure MOST of us can relate....this post is like a little journey in the journey!

Gail said...

SIMONEY!!! I say this IN LOVE: Underwire ALL THE WAY honey!!!!!!

I'm so glad that you had some success with the shopping! You know I would have told you off if you'd come back with nothing!
I can totally picture Mr G's face on that sidewalk :) And now I know to always look at his shoes too.... must mention that to MJ.

Now, go back and have another day shopping please.

Missing you - and O missing A too!

P.S. You could have been talking about me going into Newmarket. Sizing is so inconsistent... it really isn't fair!

meg said...

GG I can't beleive it!! That used to be my size too. It'll take a bit of getting used to (the wires) but it's so worth it :o)

Widge said...

I understand about the under wear thing. I have very saggy but super COMFY knickers that I brought when I was 9 months pregnant that I still wear and they look like a parachute.
I also had to "wean" myself off maternity bras. they were like my blankie..I even had some special ones I wore too bed (looooong after I'd finished feeding) poor gooseman

EcoMum said...

I'm so glad you found some lingerie and clothes you feel yummy AND comfy in, a perfect combination that's hard to find!

PaisleyJade said...

Such a good read... I just got told by hubby the other day that I too need to buy myself some nice undies... I must do it!! My big feet are my problem at the moment... someone suggested I try a shop for tranvestites in Auckland the other day (as they have men's sizes in womens shoes!).

Anonymous said...

Darling you are gorgeous! Go and buy another pair of the jeans. You will kick yourself if you don't!
Btw tell your friend with the big feet to google willow shoes. They are for long feet and in Auckland!xx

linda said...

hey that was me, Linda xx

Sophie said...

I KNOW what you mean about the underwire! It took me ages to even contemplate buying them and now I actually prefer them!!! I try to be strict with myself on undies too... now any saggy, holey or saaaaad looking ones go straight in the bin so I force myself to go out and buy some new ones. I think it makes you feel much better having nice knickers even if no one else sees them.

I had no idea Mr G's aka was Mr Imelda Markos!!!

Paisley Jade - nooooo way! I can't believe they told you that! Have you seen the movie Kinky Boots? Fabulous darling, if a little sad in parts.

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Suki-Lou said...

Hiya - have been reading your blog (which is great btw) for a while, and read this post at my proper computer, so can finally leave you a comment!

I found a good trick for getting used to underwired bras is to sleep in it overnight....gross, I know, but it really does the trick! Also dont forget to only handwash your beautiful new bras, they last much longer that way :)

I hate shopping in the UK, the sizing system is all over the place, you can be a 12 in one shop, a 10 in another or a 14 in a another shop! Anyway, glad you found some new threads - I am off on a shopping spree tomorrow as I have turned into a slummy mummy!

Anonymous said...

Oh I so identify - I even got sent to the shops for a new bra for the same reason!! (well, I wasn't wearing maternity bras... darned close though!!)

Thanks for the link and the giggle... you're right, we do have a lot in common! We'll have to have a cuppa if I'm out your way. :)

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