Now that we’re moving into a new season and we’re all looking to freshen up our wardrobe, I wanted 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. Were you under a spell in the changing room? 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.
Fifth, Shop while wearing tall boots (unless it’s too warm, but try!). That way if you decide to try on a skirt or dress you won’t be standing there with bare legs and rumpled socks. You will automatically look more pulled together in the dressing room and you’ll feel better about your reflection. Tall boots will fit under most pants too. It will give you a better idea of how that item will look and your self-esteem won’t take a hit. Honestly ladies, it’s these little things.
Sixth, go to a store that has lots and lots of choices. If I go into a store that has a minimal design aesthetic, chances are they will only have small, medium and large sizes and not much for our shape. Some small boutiques cater to a larger woman and you’ll know right away when you start looking at the clothes. However, there are also large department stores that only carry a couple of items from each brand and I can never find something that fits, so beware of those too. At least when you’re starting out, having a lot to choose from will better your chances.
Seventh, and most important, when you’re in the dressing room and you try on something that doesn’t work, repeat to yourself “It’s not me. It’s the clothes.” Remember that. Fabric and sewing and design need to change, not your body. Often it’s just lazy design. Yes, you can change parts of your body, but you shouldn’t have to to find clothing. Stupid clothes are just bad designs. So remember, “It’s not me. It’s the clothes”.
If you have a shape like mine and measurements similar to mine (you can see them on the About page) you can see what I’ve tried or recommended in past posts since I’ve done the scouting for you and you can see how it fits on a true apple-shaped woman. And of course, stay tuned to this blog because I’ll continue to find the rare item that looks good on us. That’s my job!
Ok, good luck shopping and I know you can do this!