Friday, February 22, 2008

Colds are not good for the soul

I have a cold. Everyone else in Edinburgh either has it, has just had it, or (I'd guess) is incubating it.

Mine is mostly sitting in my sinuses, throbbing quietly.

There will be no triumphant tales of exercise exploits this week, because I am just too tired. Normally I'm a night owl, but I've been in bed well before 10pm twice this week, and am about to go there now.



Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New clothes

The whole biking thing must be causing me to gain some muscle, because although the number on the scales is resolutely remaining in the 180s, my jeans are falling down. I have two pairs of jeans in regular rotation: the black ones, which are soft and comfy if a bit faded, and the blue ones, which are annoying.

Whoever it is that designs women's jeans did not have me in mind. The ubiquity of low-rise styles in recent years is a particular problem; I am high-rise. Even if the jeans aren't very low-rise, they are going to fall off me. I have a relatively small waist and a large bottom, so I need jeans to come higher than my hipbones if decency is to be maintained.

The only answer to this has been to buy boys' jeans, which works better than you might think. I feel there is something wrong when boys' jeans accommodate curves better than women's, but there we are. The only snag is that they're not as roomy in the thighs, which is why the blue jeans are annoying. Mostly, when you buy jeans, they stretch after you've washed them, right? I bought the blue jeans slightly tight for this reason, and they've stubbornly remained slightly tight ever since. Not unwearably so. Just enough to be annoying.*

However, they've become noticeably less annoying over the last month or so. The black jeans, on the other hand, have started to require a belt, and also started to unzip themselves every so often... It's good that they're loose; the auto-unzip isn't quite so good.

So I've bought some new black jeans. And somehow managed to acquire two new black tops. Because owning upwards of twenty black tops isn't enough, obviously.

Dietgirl posted recently about how she feels she hasn't yet learned to dress for the way her body is now, and hasn't learned to enjoy putting outfits together. That prompted me to think about my own attitudes to clothes over the time I've been doing this.

I've always liked clothes, but I used to be very, very conscious of the things I could and couldn't wear, particularly when I was in my late teens. I needed to have the right clothes for every situation, and I also needed them to be impeccably modest and body-disguising. But mostly I needed them to be Really Good Clothes, because if my clothes were perfect then maybe nobody would notice the body underneath them. Times when I couldn't control what I'd have to wear, such as school gym classes, were real ordeals. I can remember it perfectly well, but I have difficulty remembering why I felt so strongly about it.

All over the place I've read posts about how you should be able to look great (and find the clothes that you want in order to achieve this) whatever size you are, and I agree with that completely. But I can also see the attraction in not trying quite so hard. I always used to envy the skinny girls, because they seemed not to have to worry whether something suited them; it would look good anyway. What looked carefree and informal on them looked frumpy on me. (Of course, all thin girls don't have an effortless ability to look good whatever they're wearing. It just seemed so at the time.)

These days I don't try nearly so hard. Probably it's partly because I've grown up, and I know what suits me by now; also I don't care so much. When I'm not at work, I wear the same jeans and T-shirts a lot of the time, and it doesn't particularly matter to me whether they suit me. (I make slightly more effort when I am at work, but that doesn't extend to wearing makeup, or buying a proper suit.) I suppose as I get older, it matters less to me that people think I'm pretty or stylish. In my interactions with most people,that couldn't be less relevant (and J thinks I'm pretty, and tells me so, even if I'm in my jeans and T-shirt with my hair scraped back). I'm not nearly so worried about concealing my flaws, even though they're still there, just slightly smaller than they were. There are still things I wouldn't wear in public - shorts come to mind, and I don't think I'll ever do strapless - but I don't agonise over it.

I wonder what would happen if I ever managed to achieve "thin"? Would I go out in sleeveless tops and shorts at last? Or would I retreat further into scruffiness, content in the knowledge that I can now Wear Anything?

*What they haven't done is wear out between the thighs. When I was younger, my jeans always used to rip at the knees when they wore out (and sometimes I kept wearing them like that. It was the 90s.) But when I was at my heaviest, they inevitably ripped at the inner thigh first, which I found really mortifying. I'd be doing well if I had jeans last a year without ripping there. While my thighs are still far from lean, I've now had jeans last more than two years without this happening. It's an odd achievement, but it makes me happy.