Few things depress me more than going clothes shopping. I'm starting to think I must be getting it wrong somehow, because I never come home feeling elated and buzzing from the thrill of buying new items. I feel rank, depressed and angry with myself for clearly not being able to shop properly.
Today I headed into town to change the size of the dress I got bought as a leaving present. This should have been a simple operation. The one they bought me was a little bit too big so I needed to try the next size down... I tried the next size down. The next size down would only have made its way on to my body had I turned up to the shop pre-greased and missing a few vital limbs. Standing in the fitting room I started to feel like I'd turned up to a Sylvanian Family party and was ransacking the dress up box.
Upon leaving the fitting room (back in my normal clothes made for normal sized people), I headed to the rail where my dress was hanging. So, the size "X" was too big... the size "X-1" was OK for a finger puppet... what on earth size did that make me?! I had to compare the size "X" I had to the other size "X"s on the rail... it was enormous in comparison! Upon questioning the staff further, it turns out it's fairly common for the people making the clothes to accidentally put the wrong size on the item. Er, what??? Of all the useless symbols and bits of crap that they put on each of the 900 labels attached to the dress, surely the size is the most vital one? No one even knows what the triangle even means, let alone would have to return the dress if you put the circle with a cross through it on there instead.
So I found a proper "X" and tried that on. Whilst this appeared to be the dress most suited to my size, it was horrendously unsuited to my actual body shape. To have made the dress fit I'd have had to round up all the boobs in the shop and stuff them down the front while simultaneously sucking in my bum to the point of having concave cheeks. Ridiculous. Who was that dress made for other than balloon animals?
Feel heartily depressed by my clearly deformed body, I headed back out to choose a more suitable item to replace the dress with. The only highlight of my entire afternoon was when I asked a sales assistant to help me find a dress I was looking for and he replied, "Of course, I'll get you one now. What size do you need, a six?". My marriage proposal seemed to come as a bit of a surprise to him.
Armed with 19 items I headed back in to the fitting room to see what I could wear without wanting to cry and immediately start cutting off bits of flesh to make myself a little bit more like the people in the magazines. There just didn't seem to be a single outfit in the shop that suited someone with Bart Simpson's hips and approximately 4 cms between my chest and my shoulders.
What if I need the petite section but I don't want to dress like a children's TV presenter? When did maternity wear become the only items you can wear without having 90% of your body strapped into an awkward piece of sequined denim? And please don't get me started on maxi dresses...
I don't blame the clothes companies, clearly other people are buying this stuff happily and wearing it around without causing any distress... but what are you meant to do when you're 5 foot nothing with a body modelled on old photographs from fun fairs? If there are any Sylvanian families out there who are looking to donate clothes...