". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fashion Rant

What is the deal with fashion designers these days? Do they have a sadistic streak? Or are people really buying the stuff they put out?

My daughter needs a few new items of clothing. She is 12 years old, thin and tall for her age, placing her in that awkward zone between girls' and junior sizes. Size 16 pants are often too short, but junior and misses sizes are too full-figured (and often not suitable for a 12-year-old . . . heck, come to think of it, they're often not suitable for me). So it's hard to find a good fit.

Right now I am looking at dresses for her. I used to have some success buying them through Ebay, where it is still possible to find beautiful, girlish styles (at reasonable prices) with brand names like Bonnie Jean and Rare Editions. But now that my daughter is reaching the top of the girls' size range I hesitate to buy without first having her try something on (or having the option to return, which you usually don't get with secondhand stuff on Ebay). So I have been visiting the girls' and junior departments at a few of our local department stores. The problem is, I can't find anything I would want to buy for her, even if we could find the right fit. It's just all so yucky! (Sorry for the vocabulary lapse, but I honestly can't think of any word that better reflects my reaction.) Everything looks like it came from Goldie Hawn's closet on the old Laugh-In television show.

And the junior and misses departments are no better. Thank goodness I'm not in the market for a new dress for myself right now. I just hope my closet holds out until designers (and consumers) come to their senses and remember the definition of the word "pretty."


Kelly said...

My mom and I often go shopping together, and I can't tell you how many times we've walked through the department stores and said to each other, "It looks like the ugly truck made a BIG delivery here."

I've found a wonderful seamstress who has tailor made some articles of clothing for me from patterns or just from looking at a picture. The cost is either equal to or oftentimes less than retail. It might be worth looking into if mall shopping leaves you frustrated.

Kim said...

I'm surprised you got to this size before having this problem. A few years ago I realized I couldn't find appropriate dresses for dd so I taught myself how to sew. It's difficult to even find patterns for dresses that aren't inappropriate though. At the moment I've found a few patterns for regency era dresses that are tasteful. The woman who runs the site with these patterns also has a list of dressmakers for those who don't sew but want dresses made from the patterns. You can take a look at the different patterns available at sensibility.com.

elephantschild said...

And dear friend, why haven't you emailed me with requests? I'd love the chance to sew for your daughter. It would be a joy.

I'm no good at coming up with new designs, but I'm a pretty dab hand at morphing an existing pattern into something useful, modest and practical. :)

Cheryl said...

Thank you, Kelly and Kim, for the suggestions. And thank you, elephantschild, for the offer!

Kim, until now I have had more trouble finding casual clothes for my daughter (avoiding the low waistline with pants, for example) than dressy ones, because I have been able to buy nice dresses from Ebay (at a much more reasonable price than I think I could have them made). But now that she is outgrowing girls' sizes, it's not so easy. So I think some sewing may be in order. But at this point I think the sewing will have to be done by someone else (thus my glee at elephantschild's offer) because my skills are such that by the time I could make a decent dress my daughter will be married with children.

Dana said...

I so agree with you! If you go to high end places like Van Maur, you can find some cute things that aren't so...suggestive. And at Goodwill.

My hope is that with more modest styles coming into fashion at higher end places, they will eventually be available in my price range.

I don't mind spending a little more for nicer things, but it is difficult when you know they will be outgrown. Of course, there are still two more girls behind her to take on her hand-me-downs.

Principled Discovery

Marie N. said...

I have had some luck with Web Clothes dot com. I had a horrid time in the local stores trying to buy some slips for a then nine year old girl approaching 50 lbs. I also have bought a dress from the web store in the past.

Glenda said...

Had the same problem for oldest dd, Cheryl. We found casual clothes at "Once Upon A Child." I just purchased dresses for her from Lands' End, she is still in a 14. They look nice and appropriate. My sil told me to try Burlington Coat Factory and the higher end stores - Macy's, etc. But that means a trip to the cities, and I haven't had the chance to do that yet.

Maybe we can get Elephant's Child to start her own sewing business for appropriate girls clothing. Unlike all the sites you see when you google, "modest girl's clothing." :-)

Barb the Evil Genius said...

I wanna help Elephant's Child start that business.

elephantschild said...

Ooo... BTEG, I think you're onto something!

Let's keep in touch, ok? :)

I was thinking about this yesterday and I think I've got a few ideas for dresses that will accommodate a young body that's going to soon acquire hips and a bustline. I think the trick to the items looking "current" is going to be the colors & fabric prints.

(BTW, Cheryl, something IS up w/ Blogger because I haven't been getting the comments feed on this post, although I'm subscribed to it!)

Caitlin said...
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