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Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.

Blog : Posts tagged with ‘clothing’

Sizing

In which measurements are somewhat elastic

Yuletide being over now, we’ve finally got all of the necessaries over and done with. Visiting all the family, distributing all the presents, and taking back to the shops everything that doesn’t fit.

That latter category seems to be getting bigger and bigger now; with more and more online shopping, it includes more and more things that we’ve bought for ourselves and not just things from other people.

I wouldn’t mind so much, if maybe different shops and different companies could be maybe a little more consistent. You see, I know how big I am.* So I go online and I look at sizing charts, I buy things that apparently match my body, and find that they don’t fit. At all. Fair enough. So I go to my wardrobe, and I find something from the same manufacturer, roughly the same type of clothing, that fits me. I note down its measurements. I buy that size. And, when it arrives,** does it fit? No, of course not. Nowhere near. How stupid of me to expect that it would.

Now, I know consistancy can be tricky to get in mass manufacturing: for one thing, I’ve been told before that no item of clothing will be exactly the same size as something else from the same batch, because of the way stacks of fabric are cut. And I’m used to the fact that different shops size things slightly differently, so Expensive Middle-Class Suits R Us will make slightly larger clothes that make you feel that little bit happier when you slip into a size 10, when Stylish Cheap Teenage Fashions Inc are a bit stingier with their stuff and will make you buy a size 16 for pocket-money prices. Even so, I’d expect different things from the same shop to be at least vaguely comparable. I don’t expect two garments to be six inches different on the label,*** but the same physical size. Grrr.

* About this tall, that wide, and so round around the middle.

** and “waiting in for delivery men who then don’t bother to ring the doorbell” is a whole another rant for another day.

*** literally, six inches. I wonder if anyone does make clothes out of literal stuff any more, or if you can even buy it.

Notes on Riga (part 2)

In which we're warm on holiday

“Ooh, how are you going to cope with the weather,” everyone said, when I told them I was going to Riga. “You’d better get some warm clothes.”

So I went out, shopping. I bought an all-enveloping thick wooly jumper (in the sale, Burtons in Middlesbrough) and a rather nice brown wool coat (in the sale, Debenhams at the Metro Centre), and, well, that was it. “That’s no good,” said The Mother. “You should have been going to sports shops. You should have got some skiing clothes, lots of layers, something waterproof, make sure you’re properly insulated.”

“Have you packed any sunglasses?” said Dad. “You’ll need sunglasses if you’re going somewhere like that in winter, otherwise you’ll get snow-blindness.”

“That’s a nice coat,” said someone at work. And then she laughed. “You’re going to freeze if you’re wearing that to Riga.”

Take a moment to spot the common theme here. Lots and lots of advice, on what to wear, from people who have never ever been east of Margate.* We do have a Resident Pole in the office, though, who has travelled up that way, and she thought I’d be fine. “I always think it feels colder here,” she said, “than on the Baltic. It’s something about the dampness here.”

And, it turns out, she was almost right. It was certainly damp and grey in Riga, with overcast skies most days, and sometimes a fine misty rain; but it didn’t feel any colder than Britain in winter. No frost, no snow. Chunks of ice floating on the river and the City Canal, but otherwise just like home. If I’d taken skiing clothes, I’d have melted.** As for needing sunglasses – the thought still makes me giggle.

* Well, The Mother went to the Dalmatian coast in 1972, but that doesn’t exactly count.

** One thing we found: every building in Riga, every shop, museum and restaurant, keeps the heating turned up on full blast. On the other hand, when you come inside wrapped up for winter, you’re expected to take your clothes off. All the museums we visited had free cloakrooms at the door, and restaurants and cafes all have communal coat-racks that everyone happily uses.

Waistline

In which things are expanding

As it was a nice weekend, I went off for a random amble around the neighbouring county, half just for fun, and half with an eye to shopping, to get a nice outfit for the next time I go out. And so, I found myself in a little independent clothing store near Cleckheaton,* the sort which still has a large part of the shop taken up by a big dressmakers’ workbench for alterations, repairs, customisation, and that sort of thing. That’s one of the good things about indie shops: they will often be happy to do that sort of thing for you, if they have skilled staff.

Anyway, I’ve been a bit suspicious of my waistline lately, so I asked the resident dressmaker if I could borrow her tape measure. Quickly, I slipped it around myself.

That can’t be right.

I am starting from the zero-mark, aren’t I?

I can’t have put a whole FOUR INCHES on since the last time I measured myself???

Breathing in, I shuffled the tape around a bit, trying to convince myself that I must be measuring in the wrong place. Even at the narrowest point, though, I was two inches above what I thought my measurements were. I didn’t realise I was getting that flabby.

* Well, it wasn’t quite near there, but Cleckheaton’s a nice name so I’m saying it was.

Home handicrafts

A potential conversion project

June has come in, and everything is full of drizzle, still. Typical. I forgot to say “White rabbits!” until mid-morning, too.

This site probably isn’t too useful to you unless you live in Oregon or want to make a skirt out of an old pair of trousers, but I just love the picture on the home page. I wish I could draw like that.

I’m tempted to try the trousers-into-skirt thing too, although it would take ages cos I don’t have a sewing machine. I have several pairs of trousers which have developed holes in Unfortunate Places, which could do with a new lease of life. Reading the intructions, I realised that lots of skirts in the shops over the past year or so are deliberately designed to look like they have been hacked out of an old pair of trousers. Did anyone else spot this earlier, or was it just me that was in the dark?

Another fashion item that I’ve spotted in the shops recently that’s been bugging me a little is Scholl sandals. Why are these suddenly all over the place? The Mother had a pair of these, identical to the ones in all the fashion stores right now, twenty years ago. Of course, they can’t have been fashionable in 1982, because The Mother was wearing them. So why are they so popular now?

Of course, heavily-promoted and popular aren’t quite the same thing. I should look at people’s feet more. Maybe. It’s a shame The Mother’s feet are so much smaller than mine, because she probably still has hers at the back of a cupboard somewhere.

Incidentally—on the subject of The Mother’s feet—when I was born, I’m told that the first thing my dad said was something like “deformed fingers and toes just like yours!” Now there’s romance. And they’re only slightly bent.

Update, 2nd May 2022: The site this post linked to is no longer online, and I have no idea if it’s been moved elsewhere, but I thought it worth keeping the post here because I did eventually follow the instructions and use it to make myself a skirt. I still have the skirt, even, although it doesn’t fit me any more. The site was by a woman called Andrea who was a member of one of the same mailing lists as me, and it really did have lovely illustrations. And, as an aside, when I originally wrote this I didn’t know quite how messed up my parents’ relationship actually was.