I have an updated version with two more tips here!
[I wasn’t planning a post on shopping until Bette posted in the comments section of the last post. I love hearing from all of you!]
Hey everyone! I want to talk about shopping today. I know. I know. You’re groaning if you’re an apple-shape. Nothing hits your self confidence more than standing in front of a full length mirror and finding nothing flattering to wear in a giant store full of clothes. I’ve been there. I know the feeling.
If you’re an apple shape, or big-busted, you already know that we are not catered to by the fashion industry and most of the clothing out there will not be flattering. Most brands do not make clothes to fit our shape, so it’s very easy to get discouraged when shopping. We just buy whatever fits (even that is a victory!). The feeling of walking out of a store where you have just spent hard-earned money for something that you’re not crazy about and don’t feel excited to wear is a terrible feeling. I’ve been frustrated by my shape, yes, but I’m just as frustrated that the clothing makers are not even giving me any options.
Believe me when I say it doesn’t have to be that way. Your shopping trips can be more fun and successful, but you have to change your mind-set and approach. While we wait for the fashion industry to catch up with our needs, this is how I’ve figured out how to shop so it’s fun and I find what I need.
First, you’re going to have to make more time to shop for yourself and to try things on. I know. Time. A rare commodity, but it is key. No longer can you run into a store on the way to picking up the kids. You can’t wait for the day before a big event to shop. You can’t just shop on your lunch hour. I know it’s hard to find more time in the day, but you’re going to have to give yourself more time to try on lots of items and try out many stores and brands. Yes, I’ll keep writing this blog to help you use your time wisely and I promise you, after awhile, you will have this figured out, so it won’t always take so long. In the meantime, being a shape that is rarely, if ever, considered by clothing designers, you’re going to have to hunt for the rare item that you love and looks fantastic on you.
Second, expect to take lots and lots of items into the dressing room and come out with one or none. Try them all on. I know it’s embarrassing sometimes, especially when there is a employee who has to clean up after you, but don’t give in to that pressure. Give yourself the time to try everything on. Look at yourself with that item on and notice what you like about it and what you don’t. I will easily take 30 items into a changing room and come out with one or two. Often I come out with none. Just expect that outcome and adjust your expectations. Just think of yourself as a rare jewel and only rare items of clothing will be worthy to drape over the jewel!
Third, now take the item home and try it on with what you already have. Does it look good with what you were planning to pair it with? Will it work in more than one outfit? Do you already have the shoes or accessories to go with it? If you don’t, are you planning or willing to purchase them to make the item work? Is it comfortable? Are you tugging or adjusting it a lot? Try it on with lots of items you already own because sometimes there are some unexpected, positive combinations already there. If it’s not working at home, or if you have doubts, take it back. Trust me, you will find something else out there.
Fourth, until you become familiar with a brand and their sizing don’t order online. I know that’s frustrating to hear, but it is very discouraging to have 5 items sent to your house and then having to return them all, especially if you have to pay for shipping. It will make you feel more discouraged, or worse, you will keep things that don’t work for you. When you figure out a brand and their sizing then it will be fine and you can shop all you want online.
Here is a perfect example of a shopping failure. This shirt. It caught my eye because of the beautiful blue and because it has a nice v-neck that didn’t dip too low. It looked innocent enough in the changing room. It was sleeveless so it would be good for summer and I thought it would look good under a sweater. The icing on the cake was that the armhole didn’t show any of my bra, a real rarity for a big-busted woman who wears a pretty substantial bra! When I brought it home though, I just couldn’t get it to work. There was just something off about it. I tried it with about 4 different sweaters and three different jackets. Looking at it critically, I realized the neckline didn’t play well with others. The fabric around the neckline bumped into all of my jacket’s collars. The pleated fabric of the shirt didn’t lay nicely underneath the sweater fabric. Ok, no biggie. It will be a summer shirt then since I’m still so enamored with the perfect-sized arm hole (did I say that is a rarity?). Then I noticed the fabric. It is a thin fabric and though it looks good with a shape-wear camisole underneath it, without the camisole it would be a completely different story. As the temperature rises, I know I will not be wanting to wear shape-wear and sweating through both fabrics. I really tried to like this shirt and I’ve had it for about two weeks trying different combinations, but it just wasn’t working. I’m not going to force it anymore or I’ll end up with a closet full of clothes I never wear. I have kept the tag on and I have the receipt, so back to the store it goes.
I think this shirt could have worked well with a sweater or jacket that was more open around the collar. Perhaps, a wide, v-necked cardigan. I’m not really sure though, because I don’t own anything like that and I’d have to try them on together to really make a decision.
I know changing habits and finding more time is hard. This is just what I learned I had to do to have more successful shopping trips. It will get easier! I promise! Remember to keep the receipt and the tags on until you are sure it is a good match. Kinda like finding a spouse or partner! Not just anyone will do! Before long you will have a closet full of clothes you love that look great on you. You will have to curb your shopping because you have everything you need but it will be so much fun! Also, remember it’s not your body that’s wrong. It’s the clothes. Happy shopping!