The Saddest Place on the High Street


Sometimes shopping is fun. Sometimes it really isn’t. It’s all dependent on a few variables:
– Can I afford it…or at least justify its cost…after dividing the price for Husband’s benefit anyway?
(A bargain is obviously the pinnacle of this and equals a very good day.)
– Do they have it in my size?
(Frustrating as hell when they have every size but the one you’re after. Sometimes it can feel as though you have a doppelgänger whose constantly 5 minutes ahead of you grabbing everything in your size.)
– Do I look smoking hot in it?
(Because with all the tricks they pull with their mirrors in the changing rooms, anything that looks just ‘meh’ deserves to be left behind.)

Boo had tickets to go and see The Gruffalo on stage with my sister this morning. Husband had said that he’d pay for us to have lunch as he’d forgotten to sort out a Mother’s Day gift before he left for his football/soul weekender (although he then forgot to give me any cash too – d’oh). But it meant that I had a couple of hours to kill and a plethora of shops to choose from. It’s obvious that my family DON’T read my blog (phew – no need to dilute the truth for fear of offence) as I didn’t get a single thing from my Mother’s Day Wish List. So I felt justified in splashing some cash. (We can eat baked beans for dinner every night for the rest of the month, right?)

It started well. I got the cutest bag of free samples with the perfume I bought. Who doesn’t love a freebie? Especially when it’s presented in dinky packaging complete with a ribbon.

Jo Malone perfume: even more gorgeous when accompanied by a free gift!

I should have stopped there though. But I didn’t. I decided that I needed some new bras.

Big mistake.

Now, Noodles only stopped breastfeeding 10 days ago. He wasn’t feeding much, only once a day out of habit more than need. So we stopped. He accepted that the ‘boobie juice’ had all gone. It wasn’t a big deal.

At least it wasn’t for him. For me, I’ve had a decent, pert chest for three years now (early pregnancy boobs are the best). But no longer. Now they are a shadow of their former selves. I don’t miss feeding a toddler. But miss my boobs. My new bras were going to have to have some very specific requirements.

Shop 1
Oh, they had some beautiful bras. Bright colours, lace, the ability to make something out of nothing. Works of both art and structural engineering.

And then I saw the price tags. I could neither afford them, nor justify their expense.

I left empty-handed and forlorn.

Shop 2
I knew they did underwear that I could afford. In fact, I’m wearing one of their creations today, albeit in a back size that’s slightly too small. They may be more practical than beautiful, but they would at least give me the silhouette I was after.

Except they didn’t have my size. A mass of cleavage-boosting bras in mega-size cups, but nothing for the more modest bust. A bust that actually needs a boost.

I left empty-handed and annoyed.

Shop 3
An entire lingerie shop…that didn’t even cater for my size.

I left empty-handed and feeling like a freak.

Shop 4
They had my size! And within my price range (just)! But with this being a new body I’m dealing with I thought I’d better try things on, just to check. Finding the perfect bra is harder than finding the perfect partner. So many offer so much, yet become annoying very quickly. And bras aren’t any different. (Boom boom.)

Undressing I assessed my new shape. It was not a pretty picture. But these bras would re-dress the balance a bit, surely.

Except, no. It was all wrong. So very wrong. Bits bulged where they shouldn’t and sagged where they should bulge. I was a long way from ‘smoking hot’.

According to a survey 10% of women have cried in a store’s changing rooms.* Today I felt like joining them.

(*Actually, I’m surprised it was as low as 10%. 64% apparently said that trying clothes on in public lowered their self-confidence. And that’s with flattering mirrors and adjusted sizing. When shopping goes wrong it really does suck.)

I left empty-handed and wanting to cry.

I went and bought make-up and chocolate instead.

When shopping works it’s amazing. You find you’re a size smaller than you need, the clothes fit to perfection and it’s a bargain to boot. You leave feeling on top of the world. But when it doesn’t work and you feel as though your body is an anomaly not catered for by clothes designers then the changing room really is the saddest place on the high street.


6 thoughts on “The Saddest Place on the High Street”

  1. I really dislike shopping and it’s sad because my two daughters would LOVE for me to do mother/daughter shopping days with them. But the concept depresses me and now you’re saying THOSE mirrors are supposed to be flattering.??? Oh no! What do I look like in “regular” mirrors? Could it be that your family DOES read your blog but (like my family) does not want “hints.” They want to surprise me with their own originality. Loved this post. Also, how many children do you have in total? I think your last post (which i am going to reread before I comment) confused. me.

    1. At 2, Noodles is the most technically-literate of all if us. He can do things to my Kindle & iPhone that I then need tech support to figure out. He could take a screen grab before I knew it was an option. He set my Kindle to a French keyboard – I didn’t even know until then that they don’t have a QWERTY keyboard and thought I was going mad. He’s not literate though.
      Then there’s Boo, who does prefer to surprise me. Ah, being 6 is a land of glitter. I have silver glittery nails today because of her. I love them.
      Then there are the twins – Eve and Indy. They know my blog exists, but aren’t that interested. Eve wrote me a beautiful message in her card – that was perfect. Sophie wished me a Happy Mother’s Day.

    1. In my head I know it’s the fault of the designers/buyers for having such a rigid view of the human body. But in that moment it does feel like a personal sleight or that my body has betrayed me. (More like I’ve betrayed my body though – too many chocolates and tubs of Ben & Jerrys.)

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