I went on a mini shopping trip recently to Mt Maunganui and Tauranga with my good friend (and shopping legend) Lisa. We were both keen to stock up on a few winter staples. For me that meant ankle boots and a winter coat to replace the stunning tailor-made 100% cashmere Armani rip-off coat I had made in Thailand 18 months ago for NZ$150 – i.e. the one that I lost… I’m still not over it.
I’m curvier at the moment than I’ve been for a while. I’m making no excuses, it’s my fault, end of story. Anyway, despite having a clear list of ‘wishes’ and the result of the trip being a very fruitful shopping expedition, I got really frustrated. Why? It, sucked (for lack of more articulate words) trying to pack my dinky-but-voluptuous size 14 (on a good day) hourglass frame into, well, most things I tried on. Lisa on the other hand, who has a figure to die for, along with some decent height on her, can wander into any clothes store, try on a paper bag and look glorious.
Look, big picture, the mission was a tonne of fun with my girlfriend. The outing was ruled a shopping success. However, as a petite lass, I spent the day pondering the frustrations of:
- Being extremely vertically challenged (I’m 5″1, but I make up for my height with a big personality) and;
- Having serious curves.
You see, this combo isn’t conducive to easy clothes shopping.
This is a real shame because, in all honesty, if I batted for the other team, frankly, I’d want a woman with some meat on her and, having had some very tall boyfriends in my time (one was 6″4, everyone took the piss out of us) I’d want someone a bit more compact. I’ve been there and got the t-shirt regarding neck strains gleaned from too much pucker-up” action, undertaken whilst standing. This is shame as I do enjoy a good “pucker up”.
So, what grinds my shopping gears, you ask?
Here’s my frustrations of shopping for my petite curviness:
- Button down shirts – This is a complete lie. They don’t button all the way down. Even with an hourglass figure with boobs and a curvy bum, I can do the boob and under boob buttons up but, never, I repeat, NEVER, the bottom button. Sigh. Sometimes this looks alright, other times, like the uniform shirt I’ve worn for the last two years in my old job (gag), it looks minging and gapey.
- ‘Full length pants’ – This beef lingers from when I lived in the UK where, as a result of the huge population base, pants were widely available in ‘full length’, ‘average length’ (on to be average height…) and ‘petite size’. Hell yes. Unfortunately, I now live in New Zealand. Yeah yeah, the scenery and wine are great, but bloody hell, sod all clothing manufacturers [read: At High Street prices] accommodate us midgets. I was in Jacqui E on said shopping expedition with Lisa and the sales lady steered me in the direction of some 7/8 pants. Nup. Too long. Said sales lady was shocked. One day, one day, I’d love to buy pants off the rack in NZ. Before you suggest it, ‘bottom’ online shopping isn’t the go for me: I need to try before I buy and I’m too darn lazy to go to the post office to return items to sender (which is what used to happen before I said “no bottoms online anymore”).
- It’s a tunic. Nope, it’s a dress: Tunics often aren’t tunics, they are dresses that sit almost on the knee.
- Tights: To accommodate The Curves you’ve got to buy ‘tall or extra tall’ to fit the girth. So what’s the problem? I’m 5″1. I wear tights and spend all day smoothing out and tugging up the elephantitis around my ankles.
- Low waisted: Yeah right. Low waisted on super midgets like me means ‘normal waisted’. While I’m at it, high waisted means “sits under your boobs’. Now, I’m not against high waisted items: This look is very on trend, don’t you know. However, when you have a big tum and a curvy ass like me, this ain’t your best look: I look like an exploding sausage, busting out of my clothes. I need normal waisted, or low waisted. It’s not a big ask. Surely?
- Hems and sleeves: Every jacket and (nearly) every pair of pants I’ve ever bought, has, true story, has been altered. My Mum, thank God: Loves me; Is long-suffering; Is very talented on a sewing machine. However, she lives in Napier and I moved to Rotorua in February. I didn’t think that one through. It’s not ideal. I need to find myself a new local friend who can sew in return for makeovers or samples from my kitchen.
On a positive note, I do have small feet, the size that’s often out on display fits me (this saves time) and I can often get really cheap shoes from the kids’ section of the shoe shop.
That’s my frustrations voiced. I feel better now. I must say that, thanks to some fabulous stylists and their tips (Chasing Cait, Gok Wan and Trinny & Susannah) as well as attending some ‘style nights’ (like Lisa O’Neill, my talented mate Suzie Johnson from Oosh) I have finally learnt what suits these curves that I’m packing. It’s been liberating to learn how to embrace them, not hide them! If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Right?
The great news is that it was a fruitful shopping expedition and I’m now the owner of a replacement winter coat (Hurley,from a surf shop $110, it’s no Armani rip-off, but I like it) and some ankle boots I just can’t get enough of.
Let’s finish up by talking about my boots some more. These are ‘The Yoga’ from Overland Footwear- and I got 20% off, boom, thanks to a voucher Lisa had. I’m absolutely thrilled with them, which turns out to be a bit of a surprise as I dilly-dallied buying them fearing they were boring. Turns out they are SUPER versatile and I’ve been busting them out nearly every day with skirts and tights, jeans, work pants, tunics, dresses and my ponte pants. Are you a ponte pant version? Get on the bandwagon – these are a gamechanger! What the hell are ponte pants? Check out this blog post from Chasing Cait, she’s a Ponte Pant expert and dedicated a whole blog post to why you need them in your life.
Oh yes, The Yoga boot goes with almost everything (not PJs, I might live in Rotorua, but I draw the line at wearing PJs in public – and dressing gowns).
Are you short and voluptuous too? Am I missing out on a ‘high street’ NZ retailer clothes store that caters for our petite curvy goodness?