I am one of those people who are vertically challenged – 5’2″ tall with no waist. Being comfortably built in the upper regions, I need to buy clothes that will fit my girth, but somehow the designers think that XL means you are also tall with arms that are longer than average. I cannot imagine who the models are. If the shirt fits, the cuffs cover my hands. If the jeans fit, I need to take in a 6-inch hem. Three-quarter pants reach my ankles. Skinny jeans are too tight around the calves and too loose around the hips. When I look in the mirror, I am reasonably proportioned, but when the clothes are on I look a little like Tweedledum or even Tweedledee. And don’t even mention the puffy jackets that are standard winter warmers worldwide – hardly flattering to the fuller figure. It’s all rather disheartening.
I have spent my adult life wishing I could be flat-chested and so fit into the pretty little dresses and blouses that hang on the rails in designer boutiques. Voluminous, shapeless tops do little but accentuate the curves. The problem is, of course, that I am just unable to embrace my shape! I know many fabulous ladies who are extremely curvaceous and carry it off with aplomb in bright colours and bold designs that hug their outlines – they have no issues with their bodies. I thought when I reached 40 I would care less. I did, but not enough. At 50 I loosened up a little, but I also lost a lot of weight and so could suddenly fit into the clothes I had yearned for, until Chinese imports once again turned the clothing world upside down. It was no longer possible to pick your size and expect it to fit. At 60 I cared even less what people thought, but still it niggled in the back of my mind – I was still looking for clothes that suited my shape without needing alteration. And just when I altered my shape to suit the clothes, all standards of clothing manufacturing dropped through the floor, taking my dreams with them.
I bought two long-sleeved T-shirts off the shelf yesterday, fitting them across my body with a slight stretch and feeling confident of the fit. At home, they reach nearly to my knees and over my hand, but the body would fit Twiggy. (That’s showing my age.)
I took out my sewing machine the other day. I used to make my own clothes back in the 70s. It may be time to thread that needle.