Category Archives: Fashion

Bag Lady

There are certain things that maketh a classy woman. All French women and Sandtonian Kugels will tell you this.

One example are shoes. You may be dressed like a hobo but if you have Jimmy Choos or at the very least Ninth Avenue West, it is not the same as a no name brand off your local factory outlet stocking out of China run by random Indian guy.

So the other day I convinced myself what I really needed was a large size buttercup yellow le Pliage handbag from Longchamp. This range is insanely popular in the square mile in London and among overseas Chinese. I also spotted it on a chair in the leafy suburbs of Johannesburg in February. The reasons we sell  ourselves these bags are brilliant are they are super light, strong, easy to clean and waterproof. They origami down so the press stud that clips over the top of the bag also keeps it neatly packed when it is folded like a little love letter, never mind that you almost never fold it down. Made up of Italian leather straps, gold zippers and thick lined synthetic materials for the actual bag part, it is not exactly the cheapest nylon bag on the market. The bags come in multiple colours and sizes and are the ‘affordable’ end of the Longchamp label which pitches at the lower end of the true luxury brands or the highest end of the medium priced ranges depending on who you speak to. (When more than the handles become leather, the price shoots up quite dramatically.) The proven popularity of this bag was when I saw someone using a small brown one for the main handbag and a large black one for a gym bag, a slightly ridiculous move because the different colours and same style just looked like she couldn’t get her act together.

In comparison you have discount stores dealing in look alike bags where the zips slide off if you pull too hard. Or they look fashionable for a few months then the ends start fraying and the colour rubs off. Charity shops sell the ubiquitous canvas A4 print bags that just about take your knitting or a notebook but not much else, with no way to close them, the thin fabric threatening to explode under weight. The middle of the range shops deal in a pot luck of trendy over comfort and longevity options, perfect for a year or so before fashions change or the bag develops an issue that causes you to lose your love affair with it in the same manner you discover that your boyfriend was not all you thought he was.

Nevertheless, I was absurdly proud of my purchase. Partly because of the very vibrant yellow because I really am the worst person when it comes to fondness of colour. The bag was large and roomy and would serve for so much practically and I bought it on sale I told myself.

I walked home with it a few days later. And saw a woman with a blue bag almost exactly the same size as mine. Hers did not zip shut so she was in danger of being pickpocketed. Her bag though was just as strong and light as mine and doing the job just as well. It was an Ikea* bag, bought for 50p probably, when she went off to buy flat pack furniture which was meant to take random household.

(Ikea* – Swedish brand known for rock bottom prices for massive warehouses of furniture and household goods, very cheap, sometimes of dubious quality as a result, NOT what super trendy people admit to owning)

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Sizing Woes

I was in a shop the other day which has strong links to the United States. Okay, I’m not going to lie, it was Gap.

Gap is a cause unto its own and has scared me off ever going on a shopping trip to the States. I basically like Gap jeans because they come in a variety of cuts and moreover have very little detailing on them. No rhinestones on the pockets. No big fancy label stuck on the back advertising what size my waist is and the length of my leg (which is irrelevant as I am so stunted I generally have to cut the bottom off my jeans anyways. Moreover the jeans come in standard dark blues with no urban cool fading, precreased creases or strategically placed wear holes. I don’t want used looking jeans when I buy them, I want neutral ones that could almost pass as dark coloured pants if I want to wear them to work.

What does irk me about Gap though is their sizing. The Americans begin women’s sizing at 0. Oprah once had a huge uproar on her show when she claimed US manufacturers had moved the sizes down two spaces to make people feel thinner without actually getting thinner. This is possible but it does get a bit silly because some people are actually going to be a 00 or something. Which is like saying if 0 is nothing you have actually gone beyond nothing into the negative count.

The issue is Gap tells me smugly I need to look on the label and they give UK/US sizing conversions. These damned conversions do NOT work.

I try the size I think I am in the UK but it turns out to be too big. So maybe I am meant to be the UK size but as a US size? I try a size down from what I think is my size and it is still too big in one style but fits in another. I try one size down again in the style that was still too big. It turns out I have a retarded body. I am now two sizes too small according to the fittings guide but it is too loose on my hips and I feel like a sausage around the legs. There is nothing ‘skinny’ about skinny jeans – or rather the jeans may be skinny but if you are not also like a beanpole around the legs, good luck to you.

Of course, the problem may not be Gap. It may just be that I have short stumpy legs. I choose to believe it is the former not the latter. A girl has to at least TRY work on her self esteem.

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