This is a post that has been planned and pre-written/experienced before lockdown, don’t worry, I am keeping safe and haven’t left the house in a month. I wanted to talk about what it’s like to go clothes shopping on the high street as a midsize disabled person… coz the facilities are pretty minimal in most shops, it can be really difficult to do.
I have different levels of shopping, I always start with window shopping/browsing. I take a lot of photos of items I like and their labels so I can find them when I have more time/energy. Before lockdown I used this as a mode of exercise when I needed to be in town for my Chiropractor or a massage, I’m quite an anxious person and end up being somewhere really early. (Well, you never know, I might struggle to find parking where I usually park and have to find somewhere else in the annoying one-way system and I’d rather be too early than LATE) So, I often have something like a spare 20 minutes before appointments and some time after (coz my ticket is usually up to 2 hours parking) and I find I can walk more when my brain is distracted by stuff.
I saw a few pairs of trousers that I like and all looked very similar. The difference? Apparently only colour even though on is ‘Lift and Shape’ but the other is ‘Tori’? I’ll let you know now, I didn’t go with Tori, just like in every election I’ve ever voted in.
I also really liked these t-shirts, but only the one on the left came in my size, or anything CLOSE to my size. Seems like the biggest most clothes go in NewLook is a 12. I took photos though, in case I ever came back in or wanted to find something similar elsewhere. Sadly not yet. I ended up buying the light blue top but recently decided it’s not really me and is too similar to the colour of my jeans so will be selling it on depop. I really wanted the yellow top, I’ve fallen in love with mustard yellows.
I decided on this trip (A different one, and this is the next stage of shopping) that I would try on some of the clothes that caught my eye and see which I liked on me more. I can’t trust high street sizing, even in men’s sections. It’ll say 34 waist and be too big, but pick up a pair of 34 waist shorts? Can’t do them up! But that’s a lesson I’ve learned so I have to try things on, especially if they’re a big purchase. This first pair of trousers looked nice on the hanger, but the material resembled something cheap and thin I would purchase off Blue Banana in 2010 as a teenage emo. They were dreadful and looked horrendous on. Clung to all the worst places. These were a quick no.
I struggle in changing rooms coz I need to get a decent distance from a mirror to see if I like the item I’m trying, so I tend to go down the end and not use a disabled cubicle even though I am entitled to it. A lot of these non-disabled stalls don’t even have a bench to sit on inbetween item or to help you pull things off or on. On this trip, this store doesn’t have seating anywhere in the changing room except right at the entrance for those waiting on someone, or in the disabled stall. Standing for too long, I get quite dizzy and sick. Plus, changing rooms can get quite stuffy and the lights are so industrial… It’s just not a good place to be sat on the floor wondering if staff could get you water or let you use a toilet. Oh, also I can’t really tell the difference in these photos which jeans are which!
I realised that I’d picked up a pair of trousers with short leg, and though I liked the look, I like the idea of flexibility so I got them in the Regular length so they at least grazed my ankles. After trying on three pairs of trousers and nearly passing out/being sick on the floor, I had to pile back on my usual clothes including a coat coz it was chilly that day and go home… I think I went and got some food and a drink first so I would stop feeling so dizzy. I took pictures so I could look at them later when I regained some brain function and make a decision. I had to come back at a later date to actually make the purchase. I bought them in a size 16 because size doesn’t mean a damn thing, I wanted to be comfortable, and the cashier confirmed that NewLook clothes run small so bare that in mind when you go shopping there.
This isn’t supposed to be some super hard hitting piece about how HARD it is being disabled, it’s just a commentary pointing out how weirdly inaccessible shopping for clothes is which is why many buy online. I never find clothes that fit me online unless I’m going oversized so this is the best I have, but like… can we turn down the intensity of the lights please? They don’t flatter anyone and I’m gonna get a migraine.
Check out this article on Huffington Post by Wendy Lu about the inaccessibility of the acting industry and education systems and how grossly ableist they are!
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