Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sartorial splendour

Hey, look what my friend made me! No, up there. Above you. No, not on the ceiling, that would be ridiculous, how do I know what’s on your ceiling? At the top of the…you know what? Never mind.

I’m posting later and later in the day recently. And whilst trying to come up with content, I’m reading other blogs, and every time I think I’ve found the best I discover more, and then I get discouraged because really, how many things can there be to say, and what are the chances that they haven’t already been said by someone funnier and smarter than me?

And then I sit down and tell you about my day anyway.

You know it’s going to be a good day when a workmate takes you aside to discreetly whisper that you appear to have ‘cobwebs or something’ on the hem of your skirt, and you duck to the bathroom to investigate and it turns out to be a fairly extensive foundation stain that won’t shift no matter how long you spend scrubbing it with paper towels and hand soap.

This is not the first time something like this has happened. A few months ago it took me until lunchtime to realise that I’d managed to put my trousers on, I kid you not, inside out. How does that even happen? Did I not notice that the zipper was difficult to do up? Another day I teamed new dark brown slim-cut pants with a rather sharp Cue jacket. The pants were slightly looser than normal, and I spent all day feeling slim and pretty until I realised at around 3pm that in my dimly-lit bedroom that morning I had in fact donned an old, shabby, stretched pair of black trousers that I no longer deem suitable to wear out of the house let alone the office. Classy.

This time, though, the problem was far too obvious to tough the situation out, and I had to go skirt shopping. I am not a big fan of clothes shopping in the first place, and the prospect of browsing dress shops looking like I’d been defecated on by an agile pigeon did not fill me with joy. That was problem one.

Problem two was that I didn’t have either of my usual style consultants with me.

Why do I need the help? I’m an average sort of height and an average sort of weight. My dress size is so common that I rarely find things in the sales. I think I’m unusually proportioned, but what woman doesn’t? And after all, I’m only looking for a plain black knee-length work skirt.

But as any woman will tell you, it’s not that simple. Skirts of a certain cut make me look like a six-months-pregnant stripper in denial. The wrong length makes my legs look elephantine. Belts on anything make me look like a sausage, and don’t ask because I don’t understand either. Intellectually, I know that the problem is the clothes, not me. Emotionally it’s a different matter.

So I spent an excruciating hour struggling in and out of various skirts, twisting to see myself from all angles whilst preventing myself from seeing the full true horror that is my flabby white self. The saleswomen, spotting a vulnerable customer if ever there was one, spent the time urging me to try on more and more clothes, attempting to cajole me into entire suits “for that pulled-together look” whilst still reassuring me that my current black jacket matches all of their black skirts perfectly “because it’s easy with black”. (Which is piffle, by the way. Not all blacks are created equal. I’m an ex-goth: I know that of what I speak). In the end I escaped by throwing far too much money at them in exchange for a basic A-line, and bolting to the nearest public bathroom to change before limping, blistered, back to the office.

Someone tell me why women are supposed to like clothes shopping so much?


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