Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Ol' Snap & Exchange

I seem to have quite good luck when it comes to shopping. I find that I am often in the right place at the right time. Some unseen force must see to it that I am in close enough proximity for the right clothes to find me. I also have very good luck when it comes to online shopping- especially when it comes to sizing. You may be thinking "Well that's not very hard... all you need to know is your measurements". I am not one of those people. I have absolutely no idea in fact. I work around a basic sizing premise - but essentially I am just very lucky that 99% of what I buy sight unseen fits me perfectly.

One might assume that with such good luck getting the sizing right based on photographs on the internet- then surely I must be quite good at picking my own size when I can see the clothing in person.  This is such a logical assumption that even I thought I could do it. Right up until a few days ago that is...

It was a sunny late November Saturday morning. The birds were chirping. The coffee sweet and black. It was a definitive start of Summer kind of day- and 1/2 of Auckland was heading to the 2011 Grey Lynn Festival. As my previous experiences have taught me I knew the markets would be epic- so I mentally prepared myself for a good rummage. I had a good feeling that I would find a good frock or 2 but also knew that there was a good chance I would find something amazing that I wasn't strictly looking for- but would know I needed it in my life once I saw it. It's just that kind of market. (and lets face it... I am just that kind of shopper too!)

I will sidestep in my story ever so briefly to tell you that there is a store in Auckland city that has been doing "Reworked Vintage" for quite a while now. Essentially someone with a very good eye purchases vintage dresses based on their potential rather than their current incarnation. A quick snip here. A tuck here. Raise the hem. Add some buttons or some other form of detailing and they are good to go! Still technically a vintage dress -but with a whole new lease on life. I have been trawling the racks of this store for months now. Unable to commit to just the right reworked masterpiece. They are reasonably priced for the work that has gone into them- but at $80.00 a frock it is a little bit more than I would usually spend on a dress. Hence the additional trouble committing to just the one...

As luck would have it - this store had a stall in the markets with rack after rack of beautiful frocks for me to trawl through. The cherry on my sundae at this point was that they were all half price. That's right dear reader. 50%.  All previous hesitation was now out the window completely and I set my mind on the mission ahead like a woman possessed. Time to commit to taking one of these bad boys home with me! I weaved through  the hoards of other women lining the racks. I got in the hunting zone while still using all the polite market etiquette I could muster. (Read as I didn't actually knock anyone over to get to any racks - but a few more ladies in that small space and things may have been more aggressive!) I fought off the impending sensory overload from looking at so many different colours and patterns and then I saw it. The dress that was to follow me home.

 70's geometric printed fabric. Strapless with a fabric belt. Good shape, good length and one outright amazing colour scheme for unlimited options for future cardis, shoes, hair flowers and any other accessory I wanted to throw that way. My pair of fluro orange rave gladiator platform jandals might even finally get some wear time with this one...  Seriously it had it all.

( I will ever so quickly point out it is very difficult to take photos of your own feet... I could not get a good angle that also sufficiently show cases the fantastic 5" platform foam sole with the faux wood finish)

I did a quick once more through the stall in case I had missed anything. (It was more in case something had been put back a rack after I had already trawled it the first time....) I took my time in carefully looking through all the "possibles" I had in my hand and was finally ready to commit. My shopping logic kicked in and I quickly came to the conclusion that if they were all half price I had better buy 2 of them.  Obviously.

(Even though here would be the ideal place to explain frock number 2 for the continuing flow of the story- it is going to get it's own post later so you will just have to wait.)

There was a distinct lack of changing rooms in this stall but that sure wasn't stopping some women from stripping off in the middle of the racks to try things on. I mentally applauded their dedication to the cause and briefly considered doing the same thing. The realisation that my choice of underwear wasn't conducive to getting it out in public coupled with the fact that the only actual wall in the tent was transparent plastic left me relying on the most basic of size guesswork. To their credit all the dresses had an estimated size on them. This certainly helped. A quick hold up to my front later- and I was confident I was good to go.

A few hours later and I was home. Time to try on my new frocks in the comfort of my own wardroom! I could feel the excitement rising as I pulled out what could have easily been my new favourite Summer dress. The moment of truth was upon me. As I lifted it over my head something felt wrong. My arms seemed to be very close together at this point and were unable to move any further apart....

Excitement turned swiftly to a kind of panic as I realised that the elasticated waist on my newly purchased treasure was much too small. So much in fact that I could not even get the dress over my shoulders. Part of me could see that this was an insurmountable design flaw. Another part of me was in no way ready to admit defeat so I tried another tact. I tried to put it on by stepping into it. Never in my life has the "start from the bottom up" approach been the way to go for my body shape. Quite the contrary in fact. Yet for some reason I held onto a distant hope that basic mathematics and measurements could still pull through for me. Sure I can't get both shoulders in the damn thing- but  I am almost certain I can get it on over my arse! Positive thinking did me no good sadly and I was thrown back into a cruel reality that left me with a fantastic dress that wasn't ever going to be worn by me. A truly devastating twist of events.

(Thankfully I cushioned said devastation with frock number 2 fitting perfectly even though it seemed to be the smaller of the 2... WIN!)

Here is where this chapter seemingly slides towards its conclusion... but the story hasn't ended yet. I have since called the store that ran the market and explained my predicament. (In much less words than I have to you readers obviously....) Not only have they given me the go ahead to pop by and exchange it for one that fits- they have also let me know that there is a bumper crop of 300 new dresses debuting in store this weekend! I get the feeling that this story will get its happy ending after all...

I figured that while it may not have been destined for my wearing pleasure this dress was still worth documenting. I had my mannequin all set up and ready to model it when I discovered something very interesting. It wouldn't fit over my "smaller than my own body type" mannequins shoulders either! While this new information doesn't help me in that I still can't wear the damn thing- it does make me think it is in fact a design flaw and not just that I am a heffalump.

So I now present to you a very different kind of Frockstar Foto. It wouldn't fit on me. It wouldn't fit on my mannequin. It does however fit on a coat hanger- so that's the view you will just have to live with!

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Blogger Amber Parkin said...

It must be tiny! Seriously, I suspect that it wouldn't even fit over my wrist. Looking forward to seeing the new one :)

November 23, 2011 at 3:02 AM  

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