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My son gets married in 9 days.  I’m thrilled to bits and can’t wait to see him marry the love of his life.  I had huge plans that I was going to lose some weight and look stunning on the day.  Well, the best laid plans of mice and men… you know how it goes.  So, I need to buy an outfit that covers my lumpy bits and still looks nice.  THAT is where my trouble started.

It shouldn’t be quite so difficult to buy an outfit suitable for a mother of the groom.  I’m certainly a bigger girl but I’m not Gilbert Grape’s mother.  For some strange reason, the buyers in shops seem to think that bigger women should dress in sacks and not be seen.  Of course, the younger shops that cater for bigger girls, provide stunning dresses that are strapless and armless.  Not really suitable for those of us with big boobs and saggy upper arms that wave like flags in the wind. As for the material selection: why would someone with more curves than the norm want to wear clothes that are made out of material that clings to every bulge?  Every dress I tried on was made out of clingy fabric that accentuated the lumps and bumps instead of flowing smoothly over them which is actually flattering.  Who actually chooses these clothes?  Do these shops ever think of maybe hiring a larger woman who just may know what to look for when buying for a major company.

I know exactly what I want to wear.  So why is it so difficult to find?  I went shopping last week in Penrith Plaza.  They have a good range of shops that cater for bigger sizes so I thought I was just going to breeze in, grab what I needed and head home again.  Alas, it wasn’t quite so straight forward.  Most of the shops have very casual clothes or ultra formal dresses with floor length hems and diamantes dripping off them.   I want something in between.  I walked into one shop and got completely ignored.  Now I am still recovering from a broken ankle and a bad virus so maybe I wasn’t looking as well groomed as I would have liked but surely my money is as good as anyone else’s.  The sales assistants kept talking amongst themselves with only a quick glance in my direction that said lots about what they thought of me.  I so wanted to find something in another shop and do a Julia Roberts.. Remember in Pretty Woman when the sales assistant wouldn’t serve her and she came back with lots of bags of expensive things and told the sales girl.. “You work on commision right?  Big mistake.. Big.. Huge!” But it is a shop I will never go back into.

Today I went to Parramatta.  Westfield in Parramatta is the fourth largest shopping centre in Australia according to Wikipedia.  It has 498 shops, which spread over 5 levels.  It also boasts 9 levels of parking and the centre takes up 5 city blocks.  43 of the shops are women’s fashion stores. This place, like the sales assistants mistake is HUGE!  So when I looked at familiar names that cater for larger ladies, I was shocked to see only one other than David Jones and Myer.  I trudged my way around to see what I could find, only to find dresses that could only be described as horrendous.  The color selection, if you are over a size 14, is black, black or patterns that look like someone has swallowed a neon rainbow and vomited it back up again.  There were some nicer block colors in the section where my Grandmother would have shopped.   I’m not trying to be mutton dresses as lamb but I don’t want to dress like an 80 year old either.

So tonight, I resorted to more online shopping, something I don’t like to do with clothes as we have no sizing standards in Australia and it’s just too hard to know if something is going to fit.  Imagine my surprise when I looked at a website which says it caters for the 16+ size range,  to find their clothes being worn by size 8 – 10 models. Ummm.. they could look good in anything.  What is the point in them modelling clothes designed for a larger lady? I wouldn’t care if they were size 12-14 models but 8-10s?  I then went over to another website where real plus size models were being used thankfully.  I would be the first to agree that the size 8 -10’s were aesthetically more pleasing because we have been brainwashed to believe that curves are unhealthy and ugly,  but I’m also a realist and I know I’m NEVER going to look like that in those clothes.  Please do not insult my intelligence by trying to dupe me into buying your clothes on the pretext that I’m going to look like that.  I may be overweight but I’m not stupid.

I want to look at a dress and know that it is going to fall the right way over boobs and hips that have blown out to a 12 hourglass instead of the 1 hourglass of my youth.  Don’t put a model with non existent curves in replicas of these clothes and sell them as larger ladies clothes.  It’s just wrong.  No wonder so much of society has a poor self image.  We’re being bombarded with lies about our bodies every time we turn around.  Buy this bra and it’ll lift your saggy boobs up to just under your chin and you’ll find it so comfortable, you’ll forget you even have breasts.  Buy this pair of undies and it’ll suck your stomach in so much, even Kate Moss will be envious of your flat tummy.  Buy this dress and your size 20 frame will suddenly look like a size 10…. NO IT WON’T!!!!!  I’m still going to look like a size 20 in that dress that your tiny model who you are trying to palm off to us as plus size, was wearing.  Those undies would have to be made out of steel to suck my tummy in to appear flat.  And the days of my boobs being under my chin have well and truly passed and your bra that supposedly fits everyone, doesn’t!

I’m not trying to look like a size 10.  I’m not trying to look like I’m 21 all over again.  I’m trying to look like a 52 year old, proud as punch mother of the groom.  I know what suits me and what is complementary to my body shape.  So why don’t the buyers of Myer, David Jones, Target and all the other major chain stores know this?  Isn’t that their job?  Hey guys, here’s a suggestion! Hire me.  I’m not saying for one moment that I should be the buyer for the smaller size fashions but for the larger ladies, I could do a better job than your current buyers, with my eyes closed.  The larger ladies of Australia would be falling at your feet to thank you for finally getting clothes in that don’t look like they should be on display in Ray’s Tent City.

While I’m on a roll, here’s a shout out to the government bodies that allow imports into this country.  We want a sizing standard which is uniform across the board. I don’t care where clothes come from, if I buy a size 18, I want it to be a STANDARD size 18.  If I buy a pair of size 9 shoes, I want them to be the same size as my other 10 pair of size 9 shoes.  If I buy an 18DD bra (just a suggestion… I’m not telling you my size) I want to know it will fit me the same as the others in my drawer.  If people are going to sell clothes, shoes, accessories, lingerie…. ANYTHING in this country, it must be labelled to our standards and be exactly the size that the standard says it must be.  I’m fed up with buying a garment which is labelled the same size as all the others in my wardrobe, only to find it is either 2 sizes too small or 2 sizes too big.

In one of the cheaper $2 style shops a while ago, I found a pair of tummy tucker undies which said XXXL.  On reading the fine print, it turned out that the XXXL was actually designed to fit a size 12 to 14. I repeat…is it any wonder people have serious body issues when you are considered 3 times larger than large at a size 12 – 14?  In this age of internet buying, it is ludicrous that this hasn’t already been put into place.  Whichever government is in power after Saturday’s election, I hope someone has the fortitude to make changes to the standards we now have.  In fact, if you feel the same as I do, write to your local MP and tell them you want across the board sizing and labelling standards for everything sold  in Australia.

Okay, I’m going to get off my soap box now and see if I can find ANYTHING that looks remotely suitable for the wedding.  I’m getting to the desperate stage where I might have to buy a pattern and material and get the old Janome out.  I really don’t want to but it’s looking like a necessity.  Whatever size you are, remember you are beautiful.  Be your own kind of beautiful.  It’s the only way to be.

Happy being beautiful… Livvy 🙂

crop1My friend Annie (left) and me being our own kind of beautiful.  🙂