I’ve been having a bit of a confidence crisis of late. I’m due back in the office a week on Monday, and feeling less than certain that I know what I’m doing. Or, more importantly, wearing!
Earlier this week I pulled my stash of pre-pregnancy clothes from the den and put on a fashion show for Dapper. The result was two hours of giggling with a hint of sadness, as I realised how little would actually fit. I can squeeze into exactly three skirts and two dresses. So Mummy came over mid-week to look after the boys whilst Dapper and I hit the charity shops to restock my wardrobe.
Shopping for a modern-day size 18, vintage sizes 20+ is a new experience for me. So much of what is out there is very frumpy and frankly, difficult to make look young and smart. I like the classic look, but want to add a bit of myself to what I wear. Finding clothes in larger sizes and at low prices that I like enough to wear poses something of a challenge.
What’s more, my new body is just not suited to dresses. Although my bust hasn’t settled into it’s new size and shape yet, it’s still considerably larger than I’m used to. My trusty old A/B cups are currently DDs, so dresses that fit on the waist downright refuse to zip above my ribcage. And I’ve always been a dress-loving gal – my signature look, if I had one, would be fit ‘n’ flare with a cardigan, really. No longer an option.
So, I decided to go down a sort of 40s meets 70s route, looking for pleated tartan skirts and kilts to wear with knee high boots and knitwear. I also began to check out what the bustier lasses in the public eye were wearing, such as the very lovely Lydia Rose Bewley (a modern day Fanny Cornforth if ever I saw one!) and the unbelievably stunning Kat Denning.
The answer, it seems, lies in good scaffolding. Something, fruastratingly enough, that I can’t do much about until I settle into my post-breastfeeding shape.
So, in the meantime I’ll have to wrack my brains for old-school Gok advice on dressing up bangers – I seem to remember something about V-necks, long-line cardis, necklaces and scarves?
As for the confidence crisis, if I’m completely honest, I’m just not especially happy in my skin right now. For all the excitement of a potential new wardrobe I feel heavy and shapeless, frumpy and plain unattractive. But two compliments I received yesterday inspired me to question why this should be.
I took the boys into Solihull for a shopping trip, to browse a few charity shops and nip into Marks to spend some vouchers I had been given on a new pair of work boots. A shop assistant in Marks held the lift for me and cooed over the boys. She asked how old they were, looked me up and down and said “Crikey – you look good on it!” I was so taken aback, all I could do was call “Thank you!” through the closing doors.
In one of the charity shops I picked up a knitted green jacket from Laura Ashley and a tweed pencil skirt with tags on from TU. As I paid, one of the volunteers asked, again how old the boys were. I told her, and she gestured at me and said:
“And look at you – everything back in place again already!”.
Again I was surprised, but I chuckled and replied “Not at all – I’m shopping for a whole new work wardrobe because none of my old clothes fit any more!” And she replied…
“Ahhh. It’s all relative, isn’t it!”
And I realised for the first time the very great extent to which this throwaway comment I’ve so often made in the past is true. Weight gain and loss is nothing to do with numbers, dress sizes, weights, measurements. It’s to do with what you are used to, what makes you feel good about you.
Now I’ve just got to get back to what feels good on me once again!