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Friday, January 2, 2009

True Fashion is Built on a Solid Foundation

I had a fantastically successful shopping trip with my sister yesterday at the mall. It was especially enjoyable because neither of us desperately needed to buy anything in particular.

Also, there were no small children crawling away from me under doorways in changing rooms, threatening to mortify me to death or destroy some expensive item with their grubby hands. Also, sis and I laughed a lot. Mostly at ourselves, and sometimes at the ridiculousness of the clothes. (Ummm... Ann Taylor? Here's a tip: You really should rethink the garish print 3/4 sleeve shift dress in navy blue POLYESTER with big swirly flowers and near-paisleys. It looks like something on a cheap go-go dancer in a school play. My first prediction of 2009? THAT one will be on sale in no time.) Also, we ate frozen yogurt halfway through. Also, we both found clothes we loved, and everything we bought was on super-duper-mega clearance. Also, did I mention we laughed A LOT?

And by A LOT, I mean, sometimes we could hardly see each other we were laughing so hard.

And did it register for you that I spent three whole hours with my sister, laughing, and shopping without the responsibility of any children?

I can't tell you how nice it was to shop in real grown-up stores without children in tow. Honestly, it was like a drug, I was so happy.

I got a fantastically sassy, but not too sassy to wear for work, heather grey button-down sweater dress at H&M. And the already bargain basement prices of that lovely store were marked down by nearly 1/2. And on top of that, everything that was on sale was buy one get one free, so I also scored a great (FREE!) pair of black pants with wide legs and sailor-pants style buttons in two rows on the front panel.

And did I mention we laughed a lot?

Oh, it was a glorious trip, capped off with a sharp little black-and-ivory skirt and a scrumptious tangerine cashmere turtleneck that was practically free at Ann Taylor.

The only faintly sour note to the whole excursion was the realization that Mama seriously needs some new brassieres. ***fair warning: what follows may be too much information if you are not a woman*** The one I was wearing made a mockery of the function of undergarments by actively doing detriment to the shape of my bustline. Far from helping out the workhorses that nourished two infants and deserve their fair share of gentle enhancement and all-around pampering, the stretched out travesty in white actually made me look worse in a fitted sweater than I would have looked without any "foundation" at all.

So I vowed to go on one more child-free shopping trip.

Then I got home, and it occurred to me that before I hand over any dollars to a store clerk, I might want to take stock of what is in my house a bit more carefully. And so I excavated the various drawers, shelves, and cupboards where I have stashed things over the past few years and came up with a veritable mountain of possibilities.

While a pile of 30-odd bras might seem excessively large, in my defense, I have had two children in the last few years. With the first, I had to buy larger sizes about 3 months into the pregnancy, and then still bigger once I was nursing. With the second, the first pregnancy's "larger" fit was laughably too small about 8 days past conception, and so I had to buy even bigger bigger bras. Two band sizes AND two cup sizes bigger. Big enough that when I try them on now, I could fit a whole child's head into each side. In addition to what is supposed to go there. Did you know that you can buy strapless bras in black, in sizes large enough to wear when you are seven months pregnant and are in a wedding in a black (maternity) cocktail dress? And did you further know that such an item will resemble a bowling-ball case when you come across it a few years later? It is somewhat shocking to realize that my own self was actually that big. And don't even get me started on the gargantuan nursing models...

So I went through every single item in the stack and sorted them into piles: nursing ones, giant ones, medium ones, ones that fit, and ones that no longer deserve to be worn by humans due to the excessive age of their no-longer-elastic curves. I discovered that items that had once been stored away as hilariously too small suddenly fit. It turns out I didn't need to go shopping; I just needed to get organized.

Another thing I have learned is that bosoms of a certain age place more demands on their undergarments. Underwire is a requirement, not an option. The thin layer of spongy lining that creates a smooth and shapely silhouette is an absolute must for breasts exhausted by years of nursing and the grow-shrink-grown-shrink of multiple pregnancies. Basically, I remembered what I learned when Son was about a year old but somehow forgot in the interim: if you want to look nice in your clothes, you have to dress the twins properly.

I'm adding a resolution to my list for the year: no more unseemly underthings. Hello trashcan? Meet castoffs.

Having rediscovered a stash of precisely the style I needed, NOT sized large enough to transport cauliflowers, I look forward to being a new woman in my new clothes.

Now, if only I could find a way to repurpose the rest into reusable, environmentally friendly produce bags...


supertiff said...

the underwire has been a requirement for me since i was 14.

LceeL said...

Underwire? Under what?

Heather of the EO said...

reusable bags! Ha!

lattemommy said...

Yay for the fun shopping trip! I soooooo need one of those. I love the produce bags idea - you should open a shop on Etsy. ;)

Kim said...

You had me day dreaming at child free shopping would feel like.. lucky girl..

Fawn said...

SOMEWHERE in my blog reading, I once saw a picture of a handbag made out of a bra. However, that sort of thing does kind of depend on a pretty sassy bra to start with, and, I don't know about you, but most of my pregnancy / nursing bras don't make THAT cut.

Daisy said...

I'm a busty woman, so underwire has never worked for me. I have a new collection (in my ahem, advanced age) of large and busty sports bras. They give the best support for my melon-choly babies!

Red Flashlight said...

There's a sculpture you might be interested in ... http://www.braball.com/
Happy new year!

Jaina said...

I hate bra shopping. Such a pain. Love Victoria's, hate their prices. But their's are the only ones that really seem to work for me. Luckily they last a looooong time.


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