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The Lost Art of Clothes Shopping

1
 I don’t know about you, but fashion has taken a bit of a back seat since I became a mother.

Having lived the glamorous life of a London PR girl in my child-free years, the moment my little vomit-expelling bundles of joy arrived, I knew the days of posh frocks and champagne cocktails were over – for now at least.

I attempted the Yummy Mummy look for about a week, but soon realised it was a totally unrealistic ideal and decided to aim for a level of basic hygiene instead.

There began the barren years of my wardrobe. From time to time,

SelfishMother.com
2
I’ll buy the odd essential online. Invariably it doesn’t fit and ends up sitting on the kitchen table for the next three weeks waiting for me to take it the post office to be returned.

My jeans all have holes in the knees from crawling around on the carpet picking up raisins and my shoes look like those random odd ones you sometimes find at the side of the road.

As for my underwear, well I’m still wearing nursing bras even though I stopped breastfeeding months ago. I have two bags of assorted lingerie items at the bottom of my wardrobe –

SelfishMother.com
3
none of which fit me – and no idea what size my poor deflated bosoms are these days. Yet the idea of attempting a bra fitting with two howling children in tow fills me with dread.

But when I put my foot through the knee of a second pair of trousers in a week, I knew I couldn’t put off the inevitable any longer. It was time to go shopping.

Arriving at the out of town shopping centre, I feel a strange mix of excitement and terror. It’s been so long since I’ve actually been in a grown up clothes shop that I may as well be arriving for a trial

SelfishMother.com
4
session at NASA for all I can remember how to do it.

Once inside, I’m faced with floor to ceiling clothes and banging dance music, all serving to inform me without doubt just how woefully unfashionable and decrepit I have become in the last five years.

I start to wonder if I’ve made a mistake. Looking around at all the clothes, I realise I have no idea what’s in fashion these days or what my personal style is – if I even have one any more.

Resisting the urge to head to the safety of the children’s section, I pick up some neon harem

SelfishMother.com
5
trousers and consider trying them on for size. An assistant spots me looking uncertain and offers me a pair of distinctly middle age chinos instead. “Perhaps these would be more your style?” she suggests unhelpfully.

The excitement is starting to fade and thoughts of running back to the car empty handed take over. “Be strong,” I tell myself. “You can do this!”

I pick up the neon harem trousers as assertively as I can and drape them over the buggy. That felt good. Perhaps I can do this! As I start grabbing clothes, I can sense the

SelfishMother.com
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adrenaline racing. For a blissful moment, I feel like my former sixteen year old self shopping for stonewash denim on a Saturday.

What next? I look down at my tatty old ‘mum flats’ and decide to head for the shoe department, where I’m met with a frightening array of footwear. Chelsea boots, heeled boots, ankle boots… what do I need most? I need them all! Trying not to panic, I find a pair that would be perfect for the school run. Of course, they don’t have them in my size.

I hear a yelp behind me. My toddler, now bored of looking at

SelfishMother.com
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shoes, has decided to start chucking them at the lady sat next to us. I take the shoes off him, then the wailing begins.

Perhaps he’s hungry. I rummage through the changing bag trying to find some snacks. There are no snacks. Now we’re in trouble. The wailing escalates so I decide to abandon ship. I run to the checkout and start flinging assorted clothes at the sales assistant. The numbers are adding up but I have no idea what I’ve bought.

On returning home, I tip out the carrier bag and assess my loot, hoping to find a game-changing

SelfishMother.com
8
assortment of perfectly co-ordinated outfits.

Instead, it appears I now own three pairs of racer back vests that don’t go with any of my bras, a pair of dayglow trousers that make me look like M.C. Hammer and a novelty G-string that my son must have shoplifted while I was paying.

Nothing matches my existing wardrobe and I still don’t have a bra that actually fits. I’m no better off than before the whole sorry ordeal began.

The only thing I have gained is a bit of experience. Next time, I’ll know to come armed with a multitude of snacks

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and to stay away from the dayglow aisle. With a bit of luck and a fair wind, I might actually come out looking like the person I used to.

 

Photo credit: <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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Sian Evans

By

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- 19 Jan 16

 I don’t know about you, but fashion has taken a bit of a back seat since I became a mother.

Having lived the glamorous life of a London PR girl in my child-free years, the moment my little vomit-expelling bundles of joy arrived, I knew the days of posh frocks and champagne cocktails were over – for now at least.

I attempted the Yummy Mummy look for about a week, but soon realised it was a totally unrealistic ideal and decided to aim for a level of basic hygiene instead.

There began the barren years of my wardrobe. From time to time, I’ll buy the odd essential online. Invariably it doesn’t fit and ends up sitting on the kitchen table for the next three weeks waiting for me to take it the post office to be returned.

My jeans all have holes in the knees from crawling around on the carpet picking up raisins and my shoes look like those random odd ones you sometimes find at the side of the road.

As for my underwear, well I’m still wearing nursing bras even though I stopped breastfeeding months ago. I have two bags of assorted lingerie items at the bottom of my wardrobe – none of which fit me – and no idea what size my poor deflated bosoms are these days. Yet the idea of attempting a bra fitting with two howling children in tow fills me with dread.

But when I put my foot through the knee of a second pair of trousers in a week, I knew I couldn’t put off the inevitable any longer. It was time to go shopping.

Arriving at the out of town shopping centre, I feel a strange mix of excitement and terror. It’s been so long since I’ve actually been in a grown up clothes shop that I may as well be arriving for a trial session at NASA for all I can remember how to do it.

Once inside, I’m faced with floor to ceiling clothes and banging dance music, all serving to inform me without doubt just how woefully unfashionable and decrepit I have become in the last five years.

I start to wonder if I’ve made a mistake. Looking around at all the clothes, I realise I have no idea what’s in fashion these days or what my personal style is – if I even have one any more.

Resisting the urge to head to the safety of the children’s section, I pick up some neon harem trousers and consider trying them on for size. An assistant spots me looking uncertain and offers me a pair of distinctly middle age chinos instead. “Perhaps these would be more your style?” she suggests unhelpfully.

The excitement is starting to fade and thoughts of running back to the car empty handed take over. “Be strong,” I tell myself. “You can do this!”

I pick up the neon harem trousers as assertively as I can and drape them over the buggy. That felt good. Perhaps I can do this! As I start grabbing clothes, I can sense the adrenaline racing. For a blissful moment, I feel like my former sixteen year old self shopping for stonewash denim on a Saturday.

What next? I look down at my tatty old ‘mum flats’ and decide to head for the shoe department, where I’m met with a frightening array of footwear. Chelsea boots, heeled boots, ankle boots… what do I need most? I need them all! Trying not to panic, I find a pair that would be perfect for the school run. Of course, they don’t have them in my size.

I hear a yelp behind me. My toddler, now bored of looking at shoes, has decided to start chucking them at the lady sat next to us. I take the shoes off him, then the wailing begins.

Perhaps he’s hungry. I rummage through the changing bag trying to find some snacks. There are no snacks. Now we’re in trouble. The wailing escalates so I decide to abandon ship. I run to the checkout and start flinging assorted clothes at the sales assistant. The numbers are adding up but I have no idea what I’ve bought.

On returning home, I tip out the carrier bag and assess my loot, hoping to find a game-changing assortment of perfectly co-ordinated outfits.

Instead, it appears I now own three pairs of racer back vests that don’t go with any of my bras, a pair of dayglow trousers that make me look like M.C. Hammer and a novelty G-string that my son must have shoplifted while I was paying.

Nothing matches my existing wardrobe and I still don’t have a bra that actually fits. I’m no better off than before the whole sorry ordeal began.

The only thing I have gained is a bit of experience. Next time, I’ll know to come armed with a multitude of snacks and to stay away from the dayglow aisle. With a bit of luck and a fair wind, I might actually come out looking like the person I used to.

 

Photo credit: <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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Sian Evans

Sian is a PR director and freelance writer. She contributes articles on parenting and work / family balance as well as providing strategic planning and reputation management for brands and businesses.

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