I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, and immediately declined a shopping invitation from my Mam. Faith shoes are going in to liquidation and I was in no humour to watch her pick up arm fulls of beautiful, half price shoes. (If you haven’t popped over to them yet, you should. She brought me back a lovely pair of black star studded pumps, size 8 – picture below – for 15euro.) Saying I was a grumpy bum today is putting it lightly. The thoughts of going shopping send me in to an immediate anxious frenzy. Shopping has always been a very solitary act for me. What can I say, I get in and out as soon as I can, usually having sussed out the stock online beforehand. I don’t enjoy strolling around shops that don’t carry clothes in my size, or shoes for that matter. Mental torture. Pretty logical, yes?
While this blog is still in it’s infancy, after only a couple of days, I’m already feeling so much more positive about myself and my fashion dilemmas. It’s such a warm feeling knowing you are becoming part of a community of girls who think exactly like you and battle the same problems day in, day out. It makes me feel better. Simple as that.
Over the last few days, lots of my little shopping/clothes habits have become very apparent. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of them before, but having read about other plus sizers and their shopping experiences, they’ve become so obvious. It was only today, after reading this Messy Carla post on rude sales assistants that the penny dropped for me. I dread dealing with sales assistants. I’m anal about knowing what I want before I get there so as to minimise my interaction with them. Of course, Carla’s post notes how rude retail workers can be, and from the comments we can see the both sides of the counter. My issue isn’t the manner of sales assistants or how they interact with me, it’s literally just their presence. I feel embaressed buying something in Evans from a nippy, size 12 girl. My blood boils when she tries to make conversation with me about how nice the shape of a top is, or how well a dress is selling. I fill with rage as she chats to another worker about what she’s wearing on a night out. I know it’s borderline pathetic, but the only thing running through my head is “How would you know? You are too small to shop in here”. (Please note I’m not a skinny girl hater. We come in all shapes and sizes and that’s probably the nicest thing about being human. No one is exactly the same. It’s purely when when it comes to departments, or stores, specifically stocking clothes size 18+ that I turn in to a mentalist. I’m working on it!)
It got me thinking about my last trip to Evans, which was last weekend, and all of the sales assistants are relatively small. Speaking from a purely fashion sense, they would be plus size – they’re not size 6-8 and they’re not models in the traditional sense. But when it comes to fashion retailing, for me, anything starting at a size 18 would be presented as part of a plus size or extended size range. I know, from personal experience, working in a retail environment is hard. Working somewhere that doesn’t stock your size is harder. I spent six months working in Miss Selfridges in Carlow and it was, to put it lightly, depressing. I had to choose my uniform from another Arcadia store, Dorothy Perkins, because the 16 in Miss Selfridges wouldn’t fit me. At one point there was talk of an Evans opening in Carlow and my manager suggested I go for an internal transfer. At the time I was mortally offended, but in hindsight she was right. Working somewhere with clothes that fit me would have made me feel better, would have made me a better employee because of my personal knowledge and most importantly would have meant my discount didn’t go to waste!
I suppose the point of this post is that sales assistants are employees, not experts in their field. Some will know more than others, but generally, I avoid them when they are half my size because unless they look like they have to sift through rails to find the only 18 in the whole shop, I don’t want to know what they think.