I love summer. I’m a summer girl through and through – give me a BBQ and a “I’m-way-too-hot-I’m-putting-my-hair-up” top knot over DVD’s and blankets any day. Harry Potter marathon in PJs with a mountainous hot chocolate? Psh, I’d rather have an afternoon of hobbling together a ‘cocktail’ out of cupboard rejects and lazing in the garden. You’d also think that, given I count updating my ASOS Saved Items as one of my hobbies, I’d be pretty excited about the new summer wear collections. Truth is, however, as soon as the temperatures start creeping up alongside hemlines, I start to feel “the fear”.
If you’ve ever purchased chaffing gel before, you’ll know what I mean. “The fear” is that creeping and ominous knowledge that inevitably, I will find it difficult to find well-fitting and comfortable pieces now it’s warmer. Take one glance in Topshop, and all you will see is hot pants, strappy vests and crop tops. Everything gets smaller, shorter and tighter.
This is all well and good if you’re a total babe with a gym body to match, but if you’re, well, a little on the chubbier side like me, this makes summer dressing a lot more difficult (as I say in every single one of my posts that tackles body image in some way or another, I am never bashing any body type or shape. Those who work hard for a fit bod deserve to look as enviable as they do, and more power to them!).
I’m all for dressing for your taste, rather than your shape. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – fuck Trinny and Susannah. That mentality is incredibly damaging, and your first thought when picking out an item should always be ‘ooh, I love the look of this!’ rather than ‘hmm, not sure this is going to be flattering on my shape’. That being said, however, I’m also realistic. I want to be comfortable, and squeezing my thighs that clap when I run up the stairs into a pair of Daisy Duke hot pants is never going to end well.
More than that, teeny tiny denim shorts wreak havoc in terms of chub rub. For those who don’t know what chub rub is, it’s the result of your skin rubbing against itself when it’s sweaty and sticky, and causing a friction which is painful and irritating to the skin. It can happen wherever on your body, but for me, it’s always been the thighs. This can be avoided with jeans, trousers, culottes etc. as the pesky blighters are covered up, but when it comes around to shorts season, I’m always wondering in the back of my mind if shorts will have a low enough hemline to protect me.
And then there’s the simple issue of being able to cover parts of my body that I don’t like. The tops of my arms, for example, are a real problem area for me, and yet as soon as summer rolls around, everything is strapless or sleeveless or somewhere in-between. And if the sleeves aren’t chopped off, then the v-neck is deep enough to accommodate for the extra skin. What I would give for a wrap top with short sleeves and a neckline that doesn’t drop down to my belly button.
I understand that complaining about the lack of well-fitting clothes is relatively useless. We all want different things when it comes to cut and style, and there’s no way that retailers can fully accommodate for everyone. I’m not calling for a ban on all denim shorts – these Mom shorts from ASOS are evidence enough that a good pair can be found, given enough searching – I’m just asking for a little more variety. Why can I find 1000 skin tight midi dresses, but barely any looser, belted shorts that aren’t shorter than my attention span?
And don’t get me started on the warmer weather petite offerings. Someone along the line has associated ‘petite’ with ‘pretty’, and all I can ever seem to find in the shorter sections are poofy prom skirts, florals and unicorns. Where is the soft tailoring? The statement shapes? The *god*damn*variety*?
I also find working with brands more difficult. Where, in the autumn and winter seasons, I could opt for knitwear and denim pieces, I’m now confronted by the same series of problems I have when shopping for myself online. Brands understandably want to push their summer ranges, but I find myself presented with a range of hero pieces that would each look awful on me in varying degrees. From bikini tops and skirt combos to body con dresses with cut-out detailing and, of course, sleeveless finishing, my job as a clothes-horse-come-over-sharer becomes measurably more difficult.
And this is what happens each summer, on repeat. The sun starts to shine, and I instantly feel “the fear” creeping in. On the other hand, the silver lining is that the pieces I do pick up tend to stay with me; I have a loose fitting denim playsuit from Monki that is now seeing me through my third summer, and another Primark playsuit that I’ve now had for about 6 years. When you experience “the fear”, a good fitting find is a long-lasting find.
If you too suffer from “the fear”, let me know if you have any top tips for beating the hours of online searching and what pieces have lived with you for years, and come and share your stories with me over on social @chloeplumstead on Twitter and Instagram.
Until next time lovelies x