Hello my lovely, lovely followers. I am happy to say that today I passed my first true milestone of living in the UK. And no unfortunately it has nothing to do with using the phrase “sixes and sevens” properly
I officially braved and succeeded in my first true UK shopping haul!!!!
This pilgrimage of apparel came courtesy of the UK retailer Debenhams (IMO kind of like the British Nordstrom).
Oh, it was magical! I hadn’t been shopping in so long, both here and in the States, that I didn’t realize how much I had missed it. I’m usually not the typical, shopaholic-type girl, but every now and again my estrogen rears its ugly, hormonal head, and the only thing that can satisfy it is SHOES!!
(Warning: it’s about to get REALLY GIRLY from this point on. Proceed at your own risk!)
In this case, I first started with refreshing my supply of Clarins skin-care products, specifically the Multi-Active Night Cream. When it comes to skin-care, I stick to a basic few, and do not experiment with other brands. I’ve been using Clarins for a few years now, and it truly is the best product out there. Through my teens, I tried all manner of lotions and oils, but my skin was always dry and would break out.
Finally, I found my epidermal messiah in the form of Clarins (HALLELUJAH). Their products are on the more expensive side, but you use so few and so little at a time that it really is worth the money.
My regime consists simply of the Gentle Foaming Cleanser (Normal/Combination Skin), the Multi-Active Day Cream, and the Multi-Active Night Cream. Plus, whenever you buy something they usually give you TONS of free samples to try. All in all, it is definitely worth the extra cost because unlike other pricey brands, you really are getting quality for your investment.
Okay, next I proceeded upstairs to Women’s Apparel. Now as most of you know or can probably guess from previous posts, I am most definitely not a size 2 (Meghan Trainor rules!). I love how I look, and I love buying clothes. Granted, I wasn’t always this confident.
Being “curvaceous” or really anything but skinny, you get plenty of messages from the world about how much you need to change. I went through what most girls of my body-type did as a kid and young adult: I hated myself, I thought I needed to change, I put myself through crazy diets and even experimented with eating disorders.
Then, I’ll never forget this one night when I was about 14, I randomly just took off all my clothes and stared at myself in my bathroom mirror. It had been so long since I’d seen myself completely naked (you avoid mirrors like the bloody plague when you hate yourself as much as I did back then). I just stood there for what seemed like hours until finally I had this epiphany: I had no problem with how I looked.
Such a simple truth that took so long to dawn on me. I didn’t hate myself, I had never really hated myself. It was only when the outside world told me that I should feel that way that I started to. But here, now, standing before that mirror, I knew for the very first time how I truly felt.
And as far as I was concerned, the world could go fuck itself. Really, there aren’t bigger problems/issues in the world that you have to concern yourself with my jeans size?!?
I am who I am, and I don’t want to change. I look exactly like myself: big, over-the-top, and contrary to the norm.
There are many fat stereotypes that drive me crazy, but none so much as the assumption that all big people secretly hate themselves, are unhappy, and want to change. And for so long, I ascribed to this stereotype. It’s so hard sometimes to separate what it is you think from what the world tells you you should think. But on that night, at 14 years old, I finally did it. And I will never apologize for how I look again.
And for those of you who claim that you are simply criticizing an unhealthy lifestyle, eat a dick (as long as it’s not too high in cholesterol). First of all, my health or anyone else’s is none of your business. We all lead our lives how we want, and if you have a problem with that, it’s your problem not ours.
Secondly, the whole “health concern” is a bullshit smokescreen. You don’t criticize big people because you care about them or are concerned; you do it because it feels good. You think it’s funny. It’s what society tells you is permissible. And most of all, it’s an easy distraction from whatever sucks in your own life. Plain and simple.
Here is my bottom line: if you are legitimately unhappy with how you look, skinny, fat, and everything in between, then fine, you do whatever you feel like you need to do to look like yourself. But please, let it be your decision and yours alone.
Trust me, nothing will make you more unhappy in this life than trying to please the world in any manner of speaking.
And, with this newly adopted, revolutionary mentality of self-love, I moved forward. It wasn’t easy or without doubt and occasional setbacks, but I did it. Now, more than 10 years later, here I am, in a department store in Oxford, getting ready to plow through another unsuspecting selection of clothing.
I was immediately surprised, and pleasantly so, not only at the selection of clothing but how it was laid out. In my experience, shopping is both fun and torturous. Your senses are overwhelmed by all of these beautiful clothes, but then the realization that most of them probably aren’t going to be in your size hits you, and it kinda sucks.
However, this was most definitely not the case in Debenhams. There was no pitiful, plus-size (a term which annoys the crap out of me by the way) section pushed off to sartorial Siberia. Everything was just together! This is going to sound silly, but I honestly felt a bit like a renegade when I first saw this.
For the first time, I didn’t have to go search for “my section”. Everything was my section. Sure they had separate departments for Petites and Juniors, but Women’s Wear was just that: for all women.
After regaining control of my senses, I suddenly figured out that I had exchanged one set of complications for another. I now had way more to choose from than I am used to!
Trust me this was a lovely problem to have; however, as a student, I’m probably going to need to eat or buy toilet paper again at some point. Thus, I tried not to go too crazy.
It was truly liberating. Walking up to pretty much any rack I wanted, knowing that, unless they were sold out, I could try everything on in my size!
I’m not sure exactly how much I tried on that day, but at one point I did break one of the hooks in the fitting room off the wall because it had so much stuff on it (sorry Debenhams, yes that was me!!).
The final haul came out as follows:
Spectacular Green Coat: Honestly if this coat were a person, I’d stalk them until the end of time!!
Cute Jumper: It’s rare that I find a sweater I really like, but in this case, how could I resist?!?
Sweet Little Blouse: I immediately found this top adorable without being too adorable (trust me it’s a chick thing).
Professional/Fun Jacket: After seeing how this looked on me, I immediately took back everything bad I ever said about corduroy
Bad-Bitch Boots: Okay these boots speak for themselves. And if they could actually speak they’d just tell you to “Fuck Off”.
After this soul-changing shopping expedition, I found out that Debenhams also has a restaurant inside it and decided this was a perfect time for a late lunch. And when I say restaurant, I mean legit restaurant. You can order anything from a Panini, soups and salads, fish and chips, to a complete roast dinner!
I settled on a ham and cheddar Panini with a packet of crisps (bag of chips, I’m learning!!), and a bottle of Raspberry-Apple Juice. I’m really digging how the UK has a lot of raspberry-mix juices. I’m kind of addicted.
I sat at this little table that was off in its own nook, complete with a window that offered a spectacular view of the city. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but it was literally one of the best lunches I’ve ever had
Afterwards, I decided to call it a day and trek back home. However, it dawned on me that I was going to have to lug all of my lovely new vestments the 35-40 walk back. Ugh! So I figured I’d already gone way overboard with how much I spent, so what’s another £10 for a taxi (lazy!).
All in all it was a pretty successful shopping day in the UK But I may edit this out later once I receive my bank statement :-/