RECORD OF RAGE – why I couldn’t give a toss what size a shop mannequin was

I’m writing this rant because I have been in a terrible mood all day for no reason whatsoever. This ridiculous article has tipped me over the edge to total rage but has, at least, given me a reason for my previously irrational anger.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/07/size-16-mannequin-flat-stomach-debenhams?CMP=twt_gu

For those too lazy to read it, it basically implies that Debenhams’ recent decision to introduce size 16 mannequins in their stores as well as size 6 ones is just as “harmful” to how women feel about their bodies as the stick-thin ones.

Now, I have as many body hang-ups as the next woman – I will never have a flat stomach; my knees are knobbly; my hips don’t lie. However, the reasons for these “quirks” are a combination of genetics, primarily, coupled with downright laziness on my part – I eat too much crispy duck and pancakes, I am a fond of a glass or ten of Prosecco, and, save, for running for the bus, I don’t do any exercise either. I only have myself to blame for the latter part of this and I accept this wholeheartedly.

Don’t get me wrong. Don’t for a second imagine that I wander around in a smug self-satisified haze because I am happy with my body, flaws and all. I’m not hugely happy with every aspect of my body by any stretch of the imagination. I shy away from body-con and mini dresses, because I know they will not suit my figure. I had a whinge last Friday night because I looked like a burst sausage in the dress I was going to wear. Similarly, I wish I could motivate myself to do some bloody exercise – I know my lifestyle is detrimental to my health. However, I can safely say that I have never walked into a shop and been influenced by the mannequins in my midst. Equally, whilst I may admire the majority of supermodels’ figures, I know that clothes will look just a tad different to them than they do on me, because that’s life, and because if everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other, to paraphrase Groove Armada.

‘What they [the size 16 mannequins] represent is even more harmful, in fact, because they’re pushed on us as something “real”.’ writes Harriet Walker, the author of this tripe. Errr…sorry to break it to you, but some women are a size 16 and have flat stomachs, and therefore this body shape is real. One contributor to the comment section states that “a tall woman with an athletic build can easily be size 16 without fat rolls.” Quite. It might not be a commonplace occurrence, but such people are in existence, and equally some people featuring the dimensions of the usual mannequins in use i.e tall, size 6 and flat-stomached walk this planet too. I’m size 12 on top and a size 14 on bottom. I’m not represented in mannequin form anywhere. BOO-FRICKIN’-HOO.

My issue is with people like Kate Moss coming out with crap like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” That’s damaging. My issue is with impressionable young girls witnessing the likes of Miley Cyrus morphing from the clean-cut wholesome Hannah Montana of old to a sex-crazed semi-naked maniac. That’s damaging. My issue is with the likes of ASOS employing a number of models that look like they are about to keel over due to malnutrition. That’s damaging.

My issue is with nonsensical articles, such as the one that inspired this diatribe, patronising women into thinking that any of us give a toss whether a mannequin in a shop has got a flat stomach or not. If a woman is truly influenced by the vital statistics of a shop model or a photo of Abbey Clancey’s stomach in Heat magazine, to the point that she feels bad about herself, then I’d hazard a guess that there are far deeper-rooted psychological issues that need to be addressed.

Instead of highlighting how unhappy all women supposedly are because they don’t fit into the body beautiful ideal, can we not focus on promoting healthy body image, and educating young girls that, as long as they’re healthy and happy, it doesn’t matter what size you are?

RANT OVER. (For now.)

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FOREVER 21 IS BOSS

The city of Liverpool has only been waiting around a gazillion years for this gem to open. Dubbed as an American Primark, Forever 21 opened its doors at the weekend to hordes of eager Scouse birds (and boys.) I could barely contain my excitement when I read a few damning reviews of its wares on Facebook – “cheap” and “like St John’s” [dubious Scouse shopping precinct, full to the brim of nasty garments made of highly flammable material] were the most commonly bandied about.

So I was almost disappointed when I found the stock to be pretty decent. Cheap basics and accessories, cosy knitwear and some lovely ankle boots are available in abundance. Naturally, writing about the above would result in a boring blog, so I’m being entirely tongue-in-cheek and concentrating on the crap instead.

First up, there’s plenty of graphic and neon print leggings about. These ones were particularly eye-watering.

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Rave safe kids

There also seemed to be an unhealthy obsession with garments emblazoned with cats, with these sinister kitties catching my eye.

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Meeoow!

Next, a rather fetching double denim combination. I look like Jimmy Corkhill dipped in acid.

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Fit.

Finally, and my particular favourites, a pair of crushed velvet suspender leggings, which actually made me laugh out loud when I tried them on.

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I have no words

The only people that I would allow to get away with wearing these, sans excuses, would be the blind and the criminally insane. Comedy gold.

P.s apologies to the changing room assistant, who quite obviously knew I was being facetious and had no time for my antics. Sorry.

A FOOTWEAR-RELATED CRY FOR HELP

As mentioned recently, our Maria is getting married next month. I’m one of the bridesmaids. The dress is sorted. The hair and make-up is booked. All that remains to purchase is a pair of nude heels to complete the outfit. Sounds simple enough, oui?

NON.

The problem here, and the problem I have every time I need to seek out a pair of heels, is this – I HATE WEARING HEELS. I CANNOT WALK IN THEM. I AM A DISASTER AREA OF A FEMALE. I look like Bambi on ice when wearing heels and inevitably start the event with good intentions to persevere with them, only to end the night with no shoes on and glass in the soles of my feet.

I have looked at so many pair of shoes I am seeing them in my sleep. The heels I am drawn to (i.e ones that seem vaguely comfortable) look, if I’m brutally honest with myself, vaguely orthopaedic, similar to corrective footwear. Obviously this isn’t the best look. I also found a pair the other day which I decided were “the ones”, only to realise a bit later on, horror-stricken, that they had the look of a (whisper it now) kitten heel about them. I now feel a.) ashamed of myself and b.) less Scouse as a result of this.

PLEASE FIND ME A PAIR OF SHOES THAT ARE COMFORTABLE YET NOT FRUMPY AND ALSO DON’T COST THE EARTH. Oh, and they’ve got to be nude.

Thanking y’all in advance.

Autumn is coming; so too are nice clothes

I know it to be true that autumn is upon us because I could see my breath this morning on my way to work. Therefore, I am able to confirm that summer is officially over.

I’ve mixed feelings about this. This summer wasn’t too shabby, after an admittedly shaky start. I don’t quite feel ready to say goodbye to warm weather and say hi to dark mornings and cold commutes instead. The only thing that’s keeping me going is the prospect of beautiful autumn clothes which, as a woman who is scared of bodycon and is pasty of limb, appeals to me way more than any of the summer styles. (Sidenote: never referred to myself as a woman before. Not sure how I feel about it. As Britney once warbled, I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.)

I basically need EVERYTHING off ASOS – paisley prints, floral playsuits and chunky knits galore. SWOON.

Clockwise from top left - swing playsuit in floral print; double-breasted coatigan; swing dress in paisley floral; jumper in Aztec eye pattern.

Clockwise from top left – swing playsuit in floral print; double-breasted coatigan; swing dress in paisley floral; jumper in Aztec eye pattern.

My obsession with cut-out ankle boots shows no signs of abating; I fear I may have to go to rehab for some help with this.

From top - ASOS; River Island

From top – ASOS; River Island

If my summer comprised of many a pair of questionable trousers, then I pray that my winter features plenty of dubious bobble hats. I must point out at this point that I do not suit hats. They only serve to accentuate my podgy face and yet I am unable to resist them – the louder the print, the better.

Clockwise from top left - Top Shop; New Look; Forever 21; Accessorize

Clockwise from top left – Top Shop; New Look; Forever 21; Accessorize

However, my favourite part of the autumn/winter season by far is selecting a winter coat. Every year I promise myself that I’ll invest in a “proper” (read: “expensive”) coat, and every year I end up buying about four cheap and cheerful ones from Primarni instead. But the list-making is half the fun anyway – here’s four of my favourites so far:

Clockwise from top left - Zara, Warehouse, Top Shop, Oasis

Clockwise from top left – Zara, Warehouse, Top Shop, Oasis

Now all that needs to happen is for me to win the lottery, so I can actually purchase all of the above. Otherwise I’ll just have to layer my summer clothes and hope it doesn’t snow.

Questionable trousers

I have many weaknesses, with my love for a good pair of questionable trousers being near the top of the list. I bought myself some new ones the other day in order to help me get over my Glastonbury blues. £7, H&M, truly hideous print similar to 1970s wallpaper. I ADORE them.

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Boss, non?

They’ve had mixed reviews. I asked our Helen if she’d seen them hanging up in my room and she said “yes, and I don’t want to see them anymore.” A lad out in town screamed at me “‘KINELL GIRL YOUR TROUSERS ARE MAD.” But my mate Razzrin likes them. And so do I, which is the main thing.

P.s definitely got caught taking that selfie in Bar Bodega toilets. The shaaaame.

Another High Street hunt for a wedding outfit

And another trip that proved to be fruitless.

Obviously I am going to share with you, dear blog readers, my findings.

Town is awash with the following:

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I’m not sure who decided dungarees were back in, but it definitely wasn’t someone with a shelf-like bosom.

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Dresses that are far too short. It’s a church wedding! I need to show some respect to Baby Cheeses!

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Frankly terrifying neon cut-out dresses. Seriously, who would wear this?* The stringy bit around the midriff made me look like a piece of gammon.

I loved the following two, but tragically they’re unjustifiably expensive.  SADFACE.

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Champagne taste, Lambrini budget. Such is life.

Back to the drawing board.

* If you would actually wear this garment, and are fuming about me skitting it, then a. I’m very sorry and b. send me a message and I’ll send the fashion police round.

Today I am wearing…

…the highly fashionable combination of a sloth bag, questionable trousers and Jesus sandals.

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A strong look, I’m sure you’ll agree. Don’t y’all be jeal now.

On another note, can someone hide these trousers from me after today? I’ve worn them three weekends in a row and it’s getting silly now.

Just off to a birthday party of a workmate, complete with bouncy castle. Say a prayer for us all that we make it into work on Monday with all limbs intact.

Enjoy the sun you gorgeous readers!