"I am no longer ashamed to say that I shop in the children's section" - but shopping trauma is real

Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

I've never been very girly or fashion-forward, so shopping has always been a hassle for me.  Almost traumatic.

Add to that the fact that I have a very small frame and I hardly ever find jeans in the correct size, so I often opt for the children's section. It's a nightmare. You'd think that shops would've mastered the art of having clothes that fit everyone the way they're supposed to, but women still have trouble shopping for clothes and finding those items that fit their body shape.

There's a lot to consider when shopping for your specific body frame and weight, like the length of the jeans versus how snug it fits around your hips - it's, unfortunately, not always as easy as walking in and picking whatever the mannequin has on.

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Here are a few women's struggles when it comes to clothes shopping:

I always find it hard to find pretty plus size clothes that don’t make me look like a whale. It’s always difficult when you see something that looks really nice on the hanger or on a mannequin and you almost certainly know that it’s not going to look good on you because for some reason they just don’t make plus size clothing look good on plus size people. I have to sort through a lot of stuff to find something I actually like and looks good. Then there’s also the price. Some places charge more for bigger sizes as well. Also, I’m a big girl with a small chest so it’s sometimes really hard to find things that fit everywhere and don’t billow around my chest.
Because I’m so short, I constantly struggle to find a pair of jeans that fits properly first time around. I have to buy and shorten it in order to get it to fit. On the flipside, if I want to actually buy a pair of trousers that fit without me having to make adjustments to it, then it has to be a three-quarter pants, which is also the worst because that means in order for me to have a mid-length jeans, I’d actually have to buy a long pair of shorts. The #shortlegstruggle is real.
Buying tops for me can be a nightmare. I have rather small boobs that when I want to get certain types of tops - a V-neck for instance - I can’t because it will look ridiculously weird. Sometimes it works when the top is a size smaller but in most cases it will look like a borrowed clothes and that is a sad look to have.
Having a full cup (and a half) means struggling to find bikini tops. With bras, I’m usually okay. But I always need to buy my bikini tops and bottoms separately as my bum is not the same size as my breasts. This often results in a very mismatched, instead of matchy-matchy look. Problem is also, very few stores sell separates. I often only find this option in boutique swimwear shops, which are often more pricey.

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For some, finding the perfect pair of jeans is much like finding 'the one': completely unattainable. Too cynical? 

Okay, lets back-up and find some solutions: 

Know what you're working with

Sometimes we shop without knowing what our body frame needs and what best suits us. It's important to know what kind of body type you have so that you know what sort of clothes will look good on you.

Instead of copying a particular style and buying clothes that look good on someone else, try to figure out what your personal style is and work on adapting it to your unique frame. Buying clothes should be like buying a bra: it needs to be exactly right for you. 

Know exactly what you're looking for

Whenever I go shopping, I realise that half of the time I don't quite know what I'm looking for. "I'll know when I see it" is what I always tell myself, but then I spend hours shop-hopping for this mystery item. Before you leave the house, have an idea of what you want and need in your wardrobe (say, if you always feel like a denim jacket would work with your outfits, but don't have one, get one) so that you know exactly where to look for it, and do your research about where you could find what you need.

Explore, and not just at the mall

I am no longer ashamed to say that I shop in the children's section sometimes, because that's where I find proper jeans. That's where I go when the struggle gets real. If you do some research and explore different places, you'll find certain spots for whatever you're looking for. Instead of relying on the usual stores, find a place or a designer that caters for your needs. 

Be creative with what you find

My friend's struggle with jeans is that they either fit her perfectly but are too short, or they are the right length but don't fit her well. So, what she does is she compromises on the length and cuffs her perfectly-fitting jeans as part of her style. When you find something that's missing just one thing, try and be creative about making it work. 

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Everyone has shopping struggles, but they don't have to keep you from living your best fashionista life. Just be patient and creative, and remember that confidence is always a necessary accessory for whatever you find - it might just be the only thing that always fits perfectly. 

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