Retail therapy is not only not therapeutic but these days I find it more like public torture to the soundtrack of Beyonce, The Weeknd and Zayn Malik. And yes, I only know who one of those people are.
I was never an expert shopper, being more inclined to stop for coffee every few shops and then wine once it passed about 1pm. I don’t much like crowds or cashiers or spending money and the last time I went somewhere trendy like Topshop was about 2004. Because I am a size 18, not exceptionally huge but definitely not high street fare, I find it quite hard to shop for fashionable clothes anyway without the extra feeling of being idiotic for even entering H&M and expecting their clothes to fit. Today, in fact, I found myself feeling apologetic to the other customers and shop assistants in H&M that they had to get round me gawking at the cost of a tiny size 6 cropped top. I must have looked ridiculous.
What’s most upsetting about shopping as a mum though is the overwhelming sense of uniformity that seems foisted upon you as soon as you enter the hallowed mall. Go directly to the plus size section of any high street shop, or take a chance in the regular stores, and you have your choice of Breton top, ripped knee jeggings and mumsy cardi. Chuck on a pair of hightop Cons et voila – MumBot 2016. Parka jackets in the Spring, Autumn and Winter, denim in the summer. Done. And that is fine if that’s the look you’re going for but having googled style pages and instagram I know that other looks exist. Even for mums. Even for FAT MUMS like me!
I’m sure that services exist that offer help and advice for people in my position, limited time and plus sized, but if you’re looking to dress reasonably well *and* maintain any individuality without spending a fortune, it seems a personal shopper is out of the question.
I’m not sure what the solution is. I appreciate that there are a lot more size 6s out there nowadays but I don’t believe that reduces the number of plus sized women wanting to dress fashionably, age appropriately or economically. Maybe if it didn’t feel so targeted at smaller, younger shoppers in stores such as Urban Outfitters, Zara or Topshop (whose owner famously said they were fazing out size 16 because ‘they are about fashion’) it wouldn’t feel so isolating and pointless trudging around the highstreet. Like Primark had a meeting and decided that yes they’d better sell size 20 but hey, only one or two per style and really lets just trim that muu-muu and pass it off as a dungaree dress.
Or I could suck it up and just wear my striped, mum-tum friendly uniform and stick to clothes shopping in the supermarket whilst I’m buying the week’s shop? At least that way when I inevitably get depressed about being enormous or boring or broke or old, I can comfort eat ALL THE PRIMULA.