I need a shopping date with the fabulous Dawn French. I think she’s beautiful, talented and talks sense. She is my inspiration. And I just love her style. Watching her in the TV series Delicious recently, I so wanted the credits to reveal where the clothes her character Gina wore came from. Dawn’s similar to me in age, height and size, although I’m sure that she’s slimmer than me these days. I reckon that she’d take no nonsense from me, and made sure I’d not come home empty-handed.


Those that know me well, know that I am an utter nightmare when it comes to buying clothes. It’s not because I’m just too picky (well, maybe I am  a little) it’s because I’m just the most awkward shape going and nothing sits well even if it’s supposed to be my size which fluctuates between two scary big numbers. I know that it shouldn’t bother me if someone suggests trying on a bigger size, but actually it bothers me big time, and it bothers me more so if a lot of the clothes I like I can’t even try on because they aren’t made in that size! Take for example, White Stuff, I absolutely love their clothes, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that only a small percentage of their range went beyond a 16 and even now they only go up to an 18, meaning that I can look, want, but sadly not buy. Please, White Stuff, don’t fob me off that there isn’t the demand for your clothes in bigger sizes because I think that’s just not true. My other favourite shop, Seasalt has wised up to the fact that its customers come in all shape and sizes and has extended a selection of its range to fit up to size 26 but sadly not in its range of trousers. So, there’s a bit of an issue there if I want to buy something for my top half, but need to go elsewhere in search of trousers, which is always a monumental headache, as they aren’t easy to come by, especially if you don’t want anything made of jersey with an elesticated waist !

frump 1

This is how I feel!


Another issue I have is that I’m not only round, but I’m short too. Given that I have far from tiny frame, I can’t fall into the category of being petite, which is a huge shame, because petite clothes are cut to fit a shorter figure, but as clothing manufactures don’t seem to understand that women can be short vertically AND big width wise, I’m prevented from buying the clothes that would fit my narrow shoulders and short limbs and waist.

Of course, there is a simple solution that would allow me buy from a petite range, and that of course is to lose weight. Yes, yes, yes I know all that and it’s always the elephant in my room, but I don’t want to bore you rigid with my weight loss woes. Not today anyway!

So, finding something to fit is the biggest problem, but the other is that I feel as though I should be frumpy. Nooooo, I can hear you shout, but for some reason that I really can’t explain, I don’t think I’d suit looking fabulous in, as my mum would put it, trendy clothes. Maybe, and don’t get me wrong as I love my mum dearly, she is partially to blame! You see, mum believes that you are old as soon as you hit 50 and often reminds me that I’m almost an OAP! She’d have me dressed head to toe in M&S classics given the chance in shades of lilac, peach and beige! Although she didn’t say anything, I could sense her disapproval when I opted for a wedding dress when I remarried at 52 rather than opting for a floaty chiffon two piece from Jaques-Vert. To be honest I hated my wedding dress, but then again beggers can’t be choosers when you are a five foot nothing barrel shaped bride!

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I chose a wedding dress that fitted rather than one I loved!

Another factor, and yes there are more, is that spending money on myself seems wasteful. I’m by no means frugal, I spend more than the average person on my weekly food shop, and would happily go on holiday every other week, but I view buying clothes as something you do with your birthday money! It pains me to spend money on cloth for me. The stupid thing is that I encourage Mr R to buy lovely clothes for himself. I buy bargain five pairs of socks for a fiver for me, and Paul Smith socks for him!

I have no idea how to get out of this clothing rut. I like the person within me, but less so the person you see from outside. I worry that I’m stuck with the frumpy looking me, when I yearn to be an adventurous, confident and a colourful me. I want to wear jeans, leather, red, glitter, ponchos, wrap dresses, layers, short sleeves, ethnic prints and posh socks! I want to throw away my three-way stretch trousers, my tops bought in a supermarket around ten years ago and my sensible, rather drab underwear!


If the lovely Felicity Kendall in her 60’s can wear jeans, then why can’t I? OK, so she’s a real petite and I’m only half of one, but a few sessions at the gym and a life long ban on cake should sort that out!!!

How can I be brave and where is Dawn French when you need her!