Day 263/366: Oniomania aka compulsive buying disorder

Falling off the clothes-buying-ban wagon in mid-August has led me to completely losing my self control.  Having discovered Lindy Bop and found that their lovely dresses were on sale it was like the brakes were off and I went careering downhill back into my clothes buying obsession. I would check the website every day for new sale stock and signed up for notifications when stock came back in.  I also joined two Lindy Bop selling pages on Facebook, and took my obsession to Ebay where I broke my Ebay clothes ban too.

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Lindy Bop navy floral Audrey.  She is so pretty!

This spectacular failure was compounded by going to The Curve Fashion Festival in Liverpool ten days ago.  This plus-size fashion show included stands from amazing plus size retailers including some I’ve not come across before like Emmy Designs and Studio 8 as well as finding that Praslin were selling all their sample dresses for £5.

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Yay – plus size bloggers represent!

It’s been an utter disaster for both my bank account and my mental health.  It would seem that I have an obsession.  There is even a medical term for it: Oniomania or compulsive buying disorder.

I love everything I have purchased.  The clothes are beautiful.  I want to wear them all, in fact I think this is part of it, I just want to Wear ALL the Nice Clothes.  It’s not even like I have anywhere to wear them to.

According to Shopaholics Anonymous, there are several different types of compulsive buyers.  I think I fit into at least three of these categories.

  • Compulsive shopaholics who shop when they are feeling emotional distress
  • Trophy shopaholics who are always shopping for the perfect item
  • Shopaholics who want the image of being a big spender and love flashy items
  • Bargain seekers who purchase items they don’t need because they are on sale
  • Bulimic shoppers who get caught in a vicious cycle of buying and returning
  • Collectors who don’t feel complete unless they have one item in each color or every piece of a set

I am definitely a trophy clothes shopper.  It’s always that the next dress will be perfect and will make me look amazing and everyone will love it.  But once it’s been worn once or twice, the excitement disappears and I’m looking for the next perfect dress.

I am also a sucker for a bargain.  Lady V London posted on Facebook today that all their sale dresses are now under £20.  I had one in my basket this afternoon despite the fact that last night I was nearly in tears about how full my wardrobe is.  But the dress was perfect and I must have it.

I saw someone wearing it at The Curve Fashion Festival and I thought it looked wonderful on her.  I want it.  I want to possess it.  I want to wear it because it will make me look beautiful.  I love the fabric.  And here I am, back to finding the Trophy dress.

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I mean, how gorgeous is this dress?  It needs to be in my wardrobe

I shut the browser and went away and didn’t buy it.  But it was beautiful.

And this is where we come to the third compulsive shopping habit I have.  I’m a bulimic shopper.  I buy clothes and then send them back, or sell them on.  In the last month I have purchased 23 dresses 7 tops and a skirt from Lindy Bop or off Ebay.  Add to that 2 Praslin dresses, an Emmy dress (at huge expense), a Studio 8 dress (also at huge expense) and one from TKMaxx which to be fair is the only dress purchase I have made in an actual shop this year.  Not that it’s much consolation.

Emmy Designs make gorgeous reproduction vintage dresses handmade in Sweden and I wanted them all, I seriously, seriously wanted to buy four or five dresses. I really, nearly bought more than one, but the cost made me think “I could get 10 Lindy Bop dresses for the price of this” as if quantity outweighed quality.  My mind is seriously screwed up if that’s the way I’m thinking.

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The utterly gorgeous Emmy dress I didn’t buy (and have non-buyers remorse oh so badly)

Of the Lindy Bop clothes, I have returned 11 and kept 12 dresses, returned 4 tops and kept 3 and returned the skirt.  Looking at this list makes me feel incredibly ashamed of myself. WHY do I feel the need to keep buying and buying.  Why am I not happy with the lovely clothes that I have got.  What on earth is my problem?

 

Above you can see just some of the clothes I bought from Lindy Bop. They are all pretty. I don’t want to part with any of them.

All the good work I have done since January has been undone in one month of completely uncontrolled binge-buying.  When I dieted, I used to be like this, good for weeks and weeks and then all of a sudden would completely lose control.  It’s the reason I stopped dieting because it made me so very unhappy.

How do I start again and get back on an even keel?  How can I train my brain to stop wanting all the pretties because I already have a lot of pretties.  Where does this void that needs to be filled with pretty dresses come from?  I think I need help….

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Day 231/366 : Falling off the wagon

Well, it happened.  I totally fell off the new clothes buying ban wagon big-style and went mad in the Lindy Bop sale.

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This is the Twiggy shift dress. I absolutely love it.

I knew if a failure of willpower was going to happen in my year of no spending that it would be big, but perhaps not as big as it actually was. I bought six dresses, three cardigans and a top that I’m keeping and I’m sending back five dresses, 2 shrugs and a jacket because of fit issues.

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This is the Ariel, it’s got such an amazing shape

Up until now I’ve been SO good for the whole of this year about not browsing in shops that it’s become second nature not to head into the clothes section of supermarkets or just going into town on a Saturday afternoon for a mooch around to see what’s on the rails.

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The pattern of this fabric is so beautiful

I’ve been quite unwell since the start of August and have spent nearly three weeks at home off work, mostly in bed. Frustration and boredom has led to a spending spree starting with buying perfume, shoes and boots online along with various dresses from Facebook selling pages. I can’t stop and have gone well over what I should have spent.

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This is a lovely dress, really nice thick stretchy cotton

So this spree has ended (I hope) with me raiding the Lindy Bop sale.  I feel hugely disappointed with myself, but I also feel that I have picked up some really lovely dresses at bargain prices as the sales at Lindy Bop are known for large discounts – all my dresses were between £12 and £15 and the cardigans were £10 or less.

So there you go, I lasted 226 days of the 366 of 2016, pretty much 2/3 of the year which isn’t all that bad.  I’m not going to go back to buying new things though, although I’m giving myself a free pass for the Curve Fashion Festival in Liverpool on 10th September.

I’m hoping that once I feel better and I’m back at work and not frustrated and ill at home that I will be in a better place for both my head and for my wallet.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can scramble back onto the wagon and ride it until the end of the year.

Day 212: I really don’t know what happened there

OK, so I haven’t blogged since April, but this doesn’t mean that I’ve given up.  I have kept to the letter of my promise not to buy any new clothes this year from shops or Ebay, but perhaps not really to the spirit of it.  I’ll explain.

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Lady V London dress via Facebook selling community called Horne’s Curvaceous Hunnies

In April I discovered selling communities on Facebook and these have really been a bit of a downfall as I have bought a quite a lot of clothes from several different sites over the past three months.  What is really good about them (and also really bad for my willpower) is that it’s mostly people selling lovely dresses in plus sizes.  There is such temptation!   I have also continued to buy clothes from charity shops as I do enjoy the thrill of the chase.

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Dress from Evans via a Facebook page called Plus Size Night Market

 

The problem is that probably half of the things I’ve bought from the selling communities don’t fit, or don’t suit me.  And as they are usually a bit more expensive than buying from charity shops (where at least I can try on the clothes).  This has meant that I now find myself with a number of dresses which I can’t wear.  So I’m now trying to sell some of these on but not having too much success.

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“Tess dress” from Yours via Betty Pamper’s Instagram selling page

I have also decided to sell or give away many of the clothes that I don’t feel comfortable wearing, but have kept because I like the idea of them or that they were expensive.  There is one dress in particular that I wore to a really, really horrible meeting, and then later on, on the same day, I got stuck in a lift in it.  It brings me no pleasure to look at or wear the dress despite the fact it’s really lovely.  So that’s on my for sale list now with a sense of relief. It’s unnerving how much an inanimate object can project so many bad feelings.

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Dress from Tu via aforementioned selling page.  I altered this a lot to get it to fit, but I think it was worth it as it’s such a fabulous pattern. 

So, yes I am still wearing my wardrobe, but it is a wardrobe supplemented by clothes from charity shops and selling communities.  Maybe I should have just said I wouldn’t buy any clothes full stop this year.

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Another dress from Tu – I love this and have worn it to work a number of times.  Best of all it has pockets.

I’ll do a rundown of all the amazing things I’ve got from charity shops in another post and also update on how I’m getting on wearing my unworn and unloved clothes – a sneak peek below of something I bought last year and didn’t wear. I have now worn this gorgeous dress several times already this year.

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Joe Browns dress via Depop last year – worn today for an outing to an exhibition of pottery art.

Day 101/366: the first one hundred days

I thought I would look back on the first one hundred days of Wearing My Wardrobe in 2016. Outfit pictures are from Instagram over the past month or so.

  • I have NOT bought any new clothes so far in 2016.  I would class this as a major achievement for me as I never thought I would make it this far.

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  • I have not bought new clothes despite having been to Preston, Manchester and London for work.  Usually I would have made time to check out the shops, but this year I haven’t done this.  It make the visits less eagerly anticipated though which is a bit of a shame.

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  • I have also not bought anything on the internet despite having had a pretty stressful year so far. Internet shopping has been a real bad habit for me in the past during times of stress so I’m pretty pleased about this. Unsubscribing from all the clothing companies’ emails and their feeds on Instagram and Facebook has been a huge help
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I found this AXParis Curve dress in a charity shop in Penrith.  I think it’s the best thing I’ve bought this year, I really like it.
  • I’ve not bought any new boots or shoes.  This wasn’t an aim for the year, but I’m happy with what I’ve got, and not shopping for clothes means that I haven’t been exposed to new  shoes either.

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  • I have not gone overdrawn yet this year because I’ve spent too much money on clothes which was happening with more regularity over the past couple of years

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  • I’ve not worn the same outfit twice (except for scruffy clothes for working at the allotment or housecleaning, but they don’t count!)

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  • I have been motivated to sell clothes on Ebay and have so far sold 24 items of clothing and some unused perfumes.
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This skirt is an ancient Monsoon sale purchase. Having to find new outfits in one’s wardrobe really makes you look through everything you own quite carefully and there are some real gems in mine.
  • I have found out that I don’t actually like some of my clothes very much and these have either been Ebayed, given to friends or donated to charity shops.  It seems that being critical of one’s wardrobe is actually quite cathartic

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  • I have altered quite a lot of my clothes to make them fit better
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I altered this skirt to make it more of a wiggle style (altered on right), I think it looks significantly better now!
  • I have discovered the joy of hunting for interesting clothes and jewellery in charity shops and have started doing a bit of charity shop tourism when I visit other towns.  The thrill of charity shops is that you never know what you’ll find and there’s something new every week.  I have to admit that I may have to stop visiting the shops quite so often as I almost always come away with something to wear.
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I absolutely LOVE this jumper – it’s by Oasis and I would never normally even bother looking in Oasis as the clothes are usually small, but it caught my eye in a charity shop and I think it looks great!
  • I’m looking forward to going through all my summer clothes and wearing my favourites (and also passing on those that I’m not so keen on)

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  • I really don’t like the KonMari method (sorry Cassie and Leah!!)

 

Day 74/366: charity shopping is fun

So, my resolution not to buy clothes this year was not buying clothes anywhere apart from in charity shops. This means I have now become an avid charity shopper, popping into the shops in Kendal most weeks and whenever I visit a different town, I look out for the charity shops. This website http://www.charityretail.org.uk/find-a-charity-shop/ is a wonderful tool for finding charity shops and I discovered three new ones in Penrith that I hadn’t come across before as they are in a back street.

These are two of my first three buys this year a Laura Ashley shrug and a purple sweater from M+S.  The third is a 100% cashmere jumper which is not at all smart but very warm so is great for slobbing out at home.  All of these three came from the Salvation Army shop in Kendal.

 Kendal has an Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Scope, Salvation Army, Barnardos, a tiny Age Concern, RSPCA shop and a tiny Age Concern.  I have had the most success in Oxfam, Scope and Salvation Army and have yet to ever buy clothing in Barnardos as the choice there is truly awful (although they do have a good range of books and DVDs).

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Per Una brown cord coat

This coat is fab. It’s a little small for me, but as I’m wanting to wear it in the spring, I won’t necessarily need to do it up and it fits well everywhere else.  I altered the button position and also took the top button off and sewed up the button hole as it just wouldn’t fit across my bust. Also took up the sleeves, but I have to do this on every single coat I ever buy.

So far, Penrith has afforded the most spoils at the lowest prices, the charity shops in Kendal do seem to be more expensive – they are happy to charge £10 for a dress which I do think is a bit over the top to be honest.  I went to a number of charity shops in Islington when I was in London a couple of weeks ago and was horrified at the prices, and even more horrified that the largest item of clothing was a size 16 (and that there was only one of them).  Obviously charity shopping is not for the poor or fat in the capital.

Some of my Penrith charity shop finds

 

I paid too much for these too dresses (£10  for the Monsoon dress and £8 for the Tu dress), although I do like them both

This cardigan isn’t necessarily my style, but it’s lambswool and has the most amazing decorative cuffs!

One of the things I have made sure I do is actually wear the clothes I purchase from the charity shops as I have in the past been known to buy items and then not wear them, so I have really been trying hard to get them all worn.

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Brand New AXParis Curve dress – I love this the most of everything I’ve bought so far

One of the things I love the most about charity shop shopping is the thrill of the chase, will I find something amazing that someone else has discarded that I can take and make my own, and love and give a new lease of life to.  I really have had some successes this year, and I’m hugely enjoying the challenge as it’s making shopping exciting for me, and it also means that I’m not buying new, I’m helping to reuse clothes that are still very wearable, and that I’m donating to charity at the same time.  There is nothing not to like about this!

So my top tips for charity shopping are:

  • Try on things that aren’t in your size.  My finds above include a size 14 dress and a size 20 dress, both of which fit really well
  • Look for good quality fabrics – I’ve had real luck finding woolly jumpers and cardigans.  I rarely buy acrylic/polyester jumpers though unless they look brand new as they are generally bobbly
  • Be prepared to take things up or take them in.  I will need to take in the Monsoon dress as it’s a bit too big on me, but should be able to do this with no problem
  • There are almost always fantastic coats available
  • Dresses are hit and miss, you really have to look carefully to find anything nice and often there isn’t anything appealing
  • Go into your local charity shops every week or so as new things come in all the time
  • I’ve had no luck finding shoes, but I do hear of people who have scored pretty much brand new pairs for not much money
  • Take stuff to donate to charity shops if you’re not wearing it

 

 

Day 65/366: wardrobe (3) weekly

Have had rather a lot going on recently what with a snotty cold, an excruciatingly bad back and the arrival of a new doggy (see first pic!) which has mean that I’ve been feeling (and looking) terrible and really haven’t felt like taking pictures as much as usual.  However, I have still been attempting to remix my wardrobe and so far, have succeeded in wearing something different every day.

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So, be prepared for an image heavy post – have added details of clothes in each photo

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Primark swing dress 2014
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Monsoon skirt 2011, M+S top via Salvation Army charity shop this year
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Per Una cord coat via Oxfam, January
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Nomads Clothing pinafore 2014
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George skirt probably 2007, Clockhouse jumper 2014
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Monsoon dress 2014, White Stuff cardie 2014
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Monsoon dress 2011 or 2012
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George denim skirt 2009-ish Fat Face top 2013
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Peacocks dress 2013, George cardie 2012
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Wrap London skirt 2010, Laura Ashley zip top 2014
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White Stuff cardie 2015, George dress via Mind charity shop this year
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Dorothy Perkins top via Ebay, Fat Face skirt probably 2009
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Pink Clove dress 2013, Beth Ditto for Evans cardie 2009.  This was worn for a birthday party and is totally one of my most favourite outfits ever!
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George denim skirt (again), wool M+S jumper via charity shop 2015
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Dorothy Perkins swing top/dress. This doesn’t fit well so will be going to the charity shop I think

Day 45/366: wardrobe weekly

As you’ll have seen from my previous post about the death of my dog Bella, I’ve had other things on my mind than clothes and blogging the past ten days.  However in an attempt to try and make me feel a little bit more normal, I have been taking some outfit photos.  This post today is some of the outfits from the past two weeks, the first three were taken before Bella died, so I’m looking a lot happier in these than I do in the rest….

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Simply Be denim dress and Primark layering top both from 2015
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George at Asda dress which I radically altered the neckline of 2014
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Scarlett and Jo dress 2014 which I’ve only worn twice. Shrug is from Laura Ashley via a charity shop (this year)
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£5 dress from Peacocks in their tag end sale probably 2012, red wool cardigan from White Stuff 2014. The Peacocks dress has been a real wardrobe staple.
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Evans skater dress 2014, wool cardigan WrapLondon via Ebay 2014
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Dress White Stuff 2014. This is a great one for meetings. The Charles Rennie Mackintosh brooch was a gift from my parents when I graduated.
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Terrible photo – I was recovering from a migraine. Anyway, this is a staple lying around feeling manky outfit. Skirt Primark 2014 and top H&M also 2014
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I love the fabric of this Scarlett and Jo dress and the cowl neck style.  This one of the last dresses I bought before my clothing ban, so late 2015. Fly London brown boots 2014

 

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Yesterday’s outfit, top Phase 8 2012 or 2013, skirt White Stuff 2014. The top is incredibly low cut and works its way down to show my bra through the day which is v irritating. Definitely not work suitable!

Hopefully normal blogging will be resumed shortly when I’m feeling a bit better.

Day 33/366: clothing catharsis

I went through my wardrobe this weekend and pulled out some clothes to sell on Ebay, and a lot more to take to a charity shop.  Things I haven’t worn for YEARS like some bright pink linen baggy combat-style trousers and some nasty cropped cargo-pants.  Ugh.  What was I thinking?

There is also a pile of 10 bras to go to the Smalls for All charity.

If you’re interestes in looking at the Ebay listing, it can be found here and I’ve posted pics of a few of the dresses etc below.

 

Day 24/366: weekly wardrobe roundup

Another week with meetings, so a chance to break out the smart dresses.  The one issue I have at the moment is that I’m having to cycle to work every day as so many bridges are closed after flooding in December that the traffic is a complete nightmare and a ten minute car journey takes an hour.  So everything I wear has to be suitable to do a half hour cycle in.  Jersey dresses are fine as I can tuck them into waterproof trousers, but anything long or creaseable is not an option.

On with the clothes.

This is one of my favourite dresses.  I got it from New Look Inspire in autumn 2014 and I have worn it loads.  It’s sleeveless, but in the winter I stick a layering top underneath which I think looks fine.  The cardigan here is from Fat Face and I got it second hand off Ebay probably four years ago.  It’s got a high wool content and it good and warm.  I really like the fact it’s cropped which means that I can wear it with skater style dresses.Capture Mon

This is a Monsoon wool skirt, probably five or six years old and a Marks and Spencers wool jumper which I picked up from a charity shop last year.  It’s in really good condition, no bobbling or anything.Capture Tues

This is another favourite dress which has seen a lot of wear.  I bought it from Joules in the summer sale last year after having had my eye on it since I first saw it in February last year.  This style is so easy to wear and flattering, and IT’S GOT POCKETS, totally love this.Capture Weds

I gave a presentation on Thursday so really needed to give it my best “smart” appearence which includes wearing a brooch that my parents gave me when I got my degree.  The dress is from George at Asda and was purchased in the tag end of the winter sale last year for something ridiclous like £6.  I have worn this for meetings, interviewing and now presenting.  It’s really smart.  The jacket/cardigan was a sale purchase from Per Una  years ago.  It had a hideously huge corsage sewed onto the lapel and I hardly wore it because of this, so decided to remove the corsage and I’ve worn it loads since.Capture Thurs

No outfit for Friday, I had a hideous migraine and didn’t get round to taking photos.

Saturday’s outfit was to wear to a Burn’s Night fundraising Ceilidh for the Cumbria Landscape Fund which is raising money for repairing flood damage in The Lake District and Cumbria.  I had a fun evening, and this dress was fabulous for dancing in as it has a circle skirt which is good for twirling in.

Dress was from Asos Curve via Ebay in 2014.  I altered it significantly at the neckline and the waist and it looks an awful lot better for it.  Not my neatest job ever as it was complicated by the lining, but not too noticeable.Capture Sat

A gratuituous picture of a haggis and men in kilts from last night….

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Sunday’s outfit when I finally dragged my carcass out of bed is something I haven’t worn for over a year.  It’s a tunic dress from Evans with pockets which I got three or so years ago (in the sale, think it was a tenner – I love a bargain)

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So that’s my wardrobe weekly round-up.

Day 22/366: looking back at where it began

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Theme this month :

“Talk about how our teens/childhood influence our choices in clothes and things today”

I’m unofficially joining in with this Blog theme as it fits so well with what I have written.

This was a surprisingly difficult blog to write and it has brought up some really unpleasant memories.  But I think they need addressing as they are part of the root cause of my shopping issue.

For years as a teen and twenty something, I didn’t have any nice clothes.  I lived in ugly ill-fitting jeans, oversized men’s t-shirts and rugby shirts and fleeces.  This wasn’t actually because I wanted to dress like this, but was more that I did not fit into clothes sold in standard shops.  I was also terribly, horribly, awfully body conscious and thought that I didn’t deserve nice clothes.  I thought that I couldn’t possibly be attractive if I did wear pretty things, and that people would laugh at me trying to dress up, because of course I’d been told all my life that it wasn’t possible to be fat and look nice.

The photos above show me at three different parties at ages 18, 19 and 20.  The one on the right was taken at a Christmas dinner and all the other girls showed up in dresses.  But I was too self conscious to wear anything that would even slightly show my figure and also, it was almost impossible to buy pretty clothes in my size.  In the 1980s and 1990s, most clothing shops (suitable for a teenager!) went up to a 14.  16 if you were lucky.  This was the time of Small, Medium and Large equating to sizes 8, 10 and 12.  Dorothy Perkins only started carrying size 18 around 1994.

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The photo above was taken when I was 14 or 15.  The shirt I’m wearing is a Dorothy Perkins maternity shirt.  I remember the excruciating shame of the fact I had to buy maternity clothing to fit me because I wasn’t able to get into tops that fitted loosely enough to hide my body.

These two photos are me being as properly smart as I ever got.  On the left I was wearing this exceptionally ugly suit at a christening where I was a godmother. There are no words I can think of to express how awful I felt in it.  I knew I looked terrible, but I wasn’t able to find anything more suitable to wear that fit. The photo on the right was taken when I ended up wearing one of my Mum’s Laura Ashley dresses to the sixth form dinner.  I look more middle aged in this then than I do now.  It’s so sad to think how much I hated myself, how much I absorbed the jibes and bullying about my appearance.

I was so unhappy with the way I looked. I felt frumpy and horrible. And to be honest, I looked frumpy and far older than I actually was.  I was 32 in this picture, but I think I look older than I do now and that’s down to how I was dressed and how I comported myself.

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It wasn’t really until I was in my late 30s that I even started to consider that I could wear nice clothes.  I make a few forays into something different which included wearing tunics over jeans (I seemed to think that I couldn’t possibly not wear jeans or the world might end) and finding some interesting skirts.

I finally bought a couple of dresses which I didn’t wear often because I felt embarrassed despite the fact that I looked really good in them.

In 2006, I had started following Livejournal’s Fatshionista community which was so incredibly liberating to be a part of. It was radical fat acceptance at its very best, it was the start of a new online movement.  As the Fatosphere developed with blogs like Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose (The Fantasy of Being Thin is possibly the best post on diet culture I’ve ever read, seriously worth a read) Lesley Kinzel’s Two whole Cakes and Marianne Kirby’s The Rotund I discovered more and more amazing women talking about body image in a way I had never imagined possible.

I was obviously absorbing some of the amazingness of these wonderful women.  By 2010 I had started wearing skirts and dresses a lot more of the time, in fact I would wear them to go out and walk the dogs or go up to the allotment.  I had a slow revelation that I was so much more comfortable in skirts and dresses and that I found trousers and jeans so restricting.

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In 2010 I bought my first Beth Ditto dress which remains one of my favourites even now.  I was on a roll, I actually liked how I looked in this!

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I am so grateful to the fatshion, fat acceptance, health at every size blogs that I read over the past nine years.  I realise how far I have come in accepting who I am and how incredibly important and empowering it has been to be part of a community of supportive women.  I don’t love myself and sometimes I can’t even describe the feeling as “like”, but I no longer feel the crushing shame that I did all those years ago.  I don’t feel ashamed of my body for looking the way it does; most of the time I’m neutral about it which is a good place to be in compared to how I thought of it in the past.

But….. I’m fairly certain that this acceptance of myself for how I look and my sudden blossoming interest in clothes which are now actually available in my size has led to my shopping issues which I will talk about in another post.

 

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