Boy, have I made some mistakes in purchases lately. But on the other hand, I’ve had some successes.
I thought I’d quickly review a couple of the clothing purchases I’ve made lately, because to tell the truth, not all of them came off. It’s always a bit diff when you have to buy mail-order, but locally, there’s almost nothing available except cheap shit in shopping chains like Kiabi, or very expensive items from individual boutiques.
First up, the lovely lace knickers I ordered from M&S. When these turned up, I could see straight away that they weren’t going to fit. I am normally a size 14 in knickers – I could get into a 12 but I like a bit of ease – but with the 14 in these, I had a choice of wearing them either low on my hips in order to get them to actually cover my buttocks, or pulling them up my hips, in which case, they were so low at the back they were almost down to my butt crack. The problem? No room in the arse, dears – not something you can tell from a photograph.
This is an increasing trend, not only as my arse grows ever larger – which it does – but also as goods are increasingly made in the Asia-Pacific region where women have flat bottoms. The average lardy, round European arse simply doesn’t fit into these kinds of knickers. I’d also ordered a 16 to be on the safe side, and these fitted very well, but also felt as if they would fall off at the first step I took, they were so loose. So, back they go.
The size 14 black cotton pants, however, were perfect. This is the shape for me, with my 10-inch difference between waist and hip, and I’ll definitely be ordering more. They are the same shape as my Elila control pants but without the control, and they properly come up to your waist. I’m delighted to have found these because it seems beyond the ken of manufacturers that a woman might want big pants that are pretty but NOT controlwear. I don’t want control – I just want to feel secure, like my knickers aren’t falling off or riding up or sawing me in half – you know, the kind of comfort MEN expect every time they get dressed.
Meanwhile, in a snit, back to Sloggi I went, ordering a three-pack of their maxi briefs, in which I will basically look like my mum. But at least my bum will be safe – there’s no escaping a Sloggi.
Next up, trousers from Land’s End. Oh dearie me. I’ve ordered lots of fleece pants and cotton jersey trousers from Land’s End and been really pleased with them, so I thought I’d take a punt on their tailored trousers, but despite my careful checking of the measures, not a single pair of these fits me. They are all so large on the waist that I could stuff a toy rabbit down there (his name’s Thumper, since you ask…). So back go all of those too, and at international postage rates, more fool me.
It’s the first time I’ve sent stuff back to Land’s End, but once bitten, twice shy – I won’t be ordering tailored pants from them again. A shame, as the ponte fabric of the paler grey pants was absolutely gorgeous – I will definitely look out for that in future.
It made me realise, however, that I have also reached a crossroads – I will be 50 very soon and I have had it with uncomfortable clothes. I need ease. Ease in the waist – my favourite being the kind of smooth, stretch (not gathered) waist of Land’s End Starfish trousers or this Wall pull-on skirt; ease in the knees, so that I can sit cross-legged or do my yoga without getting changed; and ease across the body, preferably in wrap styles, knitwear or stretch tops. I am renouncing tailoring – it is just not ME.
In my wardrobe, the things that get the most wear are:
* Teeshirts, vests and camisoles in cotton jersey.
* Fleece pull-on pants with pockets from Lands’ End, and their stretch fleece tops.
* (make unknown) bootcut jeans with 5 per cent lycra, and BHS pull-on bootcut denim jeggings with an elastic back waistband.
* Black merino knitted pull-on trousers from Pringle.
* Pima cotton jersey pull-on trousers from Wall.
* Thick merino knit pencil skirts from John Lewis (I have five).
* Cashmere knitwear, merino knitwear, cotton knitwear.
* Cotton jersey dresses from Wall.
* Wrap viscose dresses from Boden.
* Bias-cut linen or cotton dresses for summer.
* Wrap skirts and trousers.
As you may notice, there is no tailoring anywhere. The trousers don’t, in general, do up with zips and buttons – they pull up and then have a flat, yoga-style waist. I also wear wrap skirts and Thai fisherman’s-style trousers, which I can adjust as I see fit. Sometimes I put on conventional jeans then a few hours later I take them off and get back into my stretch items. You can’t do yoga in jeans, can you? A few hours of sitting at a desk and I’m tired of pulling trousers out of my crotch or undoing the top button – women my shape are not designed for jeans unless they have serious amounts of stretch.
Having had my mini-epiphany, I parcelled up my failures and logged back onto Wall, where – to my delight – some items I’d been considering were now halved in price. So, I got these black cotton-drill baggy pants, which are just my cup of tea: wide enough in the leg to accommodate cross-legged sitting, fully lined, pockets, elastic waist (on me, dear reader, they are ankle-length!); these pima cotton pull-ons, which I already have in grey and which are brilliant – very slimming with their vertical tucks, lined to the knee and – listen up, manufacturers – also HAVE POCKETS; and this Amalie linen/viscose dress, which I’ve lusted after for ages, but which had been sold out in the blue colourway I wanted. I just love this, the asymmetry of it, the interesting use of the fabric, and it will be my first linen item from Wall.
Maybe, just maybe, with better weather forecast, I might actually get to wear it soon.
I also got this jersey dress in viscose and spandex, which I’ve had my eye on for a while but never quite plumped for (bought a size up, so I can get thermals under it). This is more for next winter than this summer, and gives me a chance to try out another Wall fabric.