Monday, 13 July 2015

Sub-Categories of Comfortable Casual

Closet Content Analysis: What kind of comfortable casual?

Choices: Fitness to Business

This business of categorization is a work in progress. Over the next while, I'll be refining, adapting, substituting, combining and rearranging the organization of these categories, but here's the beginning of my attempt at creating the Comfortable Casual sub-categories. 

If you are a Comfortable Casual dresser, which one of the labels suits your closet?  


Photo Source: Aliexpress
Finess Casual: It started innocently enough, you didn't change after going to the gym one day and now you don't bother dressing differently for most of your social or even work activities. You probably don't have any pants other than the yoga variety except for a couple of pairs of blue jeans. Your mother or mother-in-law wants to say to you, "Cropped leggings are not pants". All the tops you own have been purchased in a sports running store or for your more formal outfits at Lululemon. If you do buy any clothing in a regular clothing store, you mix and match within the category of "Athleisure", a term used in Europe, to describe a mix of fitness and regular clothes. Even when you have to buy a dress or skirt you opt for various weights of "sweatshirt" fabric or something synthetic that washes up and doesn't need ironing.

For the guys: Muscle shirts and baggy sports shorts, those that belong primarily in the gym, have become your summer choices. "Sweats" make up your winter wardrobe. You have a couple of pairs of Dockers, for dress-up, and of course, jeans.

Photo Source: MailOnline
Sport (Team) Casual: If Rihanna is doing it . . . Your look includes hooded sweatshirts, brand-insignia t-shirts, and university gift shop sweatpants but when you want to get dressed up, you wear blue jeans. For the most part everything is oversized in the "tops" category of clothing. The shoulder seams hang halfway down your arm. You've stopped buying t-shirts in the women's department and are buying men's large even though you're probably a women's medium. You probably have also collected oversize workout wear, sports gear and jerseys from ex-boyfriends or male family members who were all tall and broad and you are trim and under 5' 3". Colour choices range in those of your favourite sports team or university town. Green and orange are not always the most becoming colours. And you truly believe those little football or baseball bat earrings are adorable.

For the guys: The only t-shirts you own, other than your favourite sports team jerseys, are promotional t-shirts primarily from beer companies.


Fitness Chic/Active Chic/Sporty Chic: You don't work out, for the most part, but you buy high end Stella McCartney for Adidas articles that will never see the gym. You wear these clothes to the office as well since most things you own are more upscale than fitness casual. This category reminds me of a poster I saw that read, "none of my yoga pants have ever been to yoga". When the trend dictates, spangles, sequins and embroidery embellishes what would be ordinary workout wear. You have a variety of "gym-style" shoes that never get worn out because you don't actually run or workout in them. You wear North Face proudly and well you should even though the only side of a mountain you have ever seen is from your hotel window.

For the guys: You don't golf, but you can compete with the pros when it comes to your perfectly poised golf attire. In the summer it's shorts and golf shirts, in the winter its long pants and golf shirts.


Photo Source: WhoWhatWear
Business Casual: You don't dress much differently for work or play but everything fits perfectly. Cotton, silk and linen are your choices. You cringe at anything polyester. Put a blazer on with your jeans and t-shirt and you are "dressed up" for the evening. Put a blazer on with a pair of pants and a t-shirt and you can go to work without feeling underdressed. The blazer, unstructured or fitted, is your go-to item of clothing and keeps you within bounds when the occasion is a tad more upscale or lets you remove it when everyone else is in shorts and t-shirts. The choice of footwear is what takes your outfits to the next level.

For the guys: A t-shirt with a suit or blue jeans, a t-shirt and a blazer is the basic formula for business casual. It's always a crew neck or v-neck t-shirt. Everything fits impeccably.

Casual Chic: Even though there isn't a blazer in your closet, you always look good in the well fitted casual clothing you have collected. Everything fits well in the shoulders and on the hips but most of your clothes are built to hang loosely over the body. Ellen Tracy represents most of what you choose to wear. 

Here's the problem with the all inclusive category of Comfortable Casual generally - it allows us to get sloppy and that's when it just isn't comfortable. It's all about the fit, no matter what kind of casual you are. 

Check out what I have written before on this topic:
Comfortable Casual or Business Attire
Summer Office Wear - What is Too Casual?
What is "Comfortable Casual"?
Knee-Length Shorts at Work and Play
Defining Casual Clothing
What Kind of Comfortable?

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

London Bombing Miss

On the morning of Thursday, 7 July 2005, four male Islamists separately detonated three bombs in quick succession aboard London Underground trains across the city and later, a fourth on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty-two civilians were killed and over 700 more were injured . . . wikipedia

What a difference two hours made ten years ago. My husband and I arrived at Heathrow, on the overnight flight from Canada, and proceeded through London on our way to Wales on the morning of July 7th, 2005. We were in the underground on the Piccadilly line between Kings Cross and Russel Square, one of the three bombing locations, prior to the 8:50 A.M. detonations. 

I had wanted to stay at the airport and shower, have breakfast and take my time getting to Wales. My husband, on the other hand, wanted to get to Bridgend before lunch and he insisted we go directly to the trains and make our way through London. We did. Two hours later we were in Wales and heard about the bombings. The details about the one at Russel Square were particularly poignant for us.

The images we saw on television that evening while we sat with our friend Pat in her home in Bridgend were surreal. "We were there," we kept repeating to ourselves as if somehow we needed to affirm that we were safe and alive.

I can only shrug and affirm that "my number" was not yet up. 

Read more on History.

Sandals - the Gladiator Style - Masculine or Feminine?

Closet Content Analysis: Sandals

Choices: Gladiator Battles



Isabeli Fontana. Photo Source: Patrick Demarchelier, Vogue, September, 2008.
What varieties of footwear are referred to as "gladiator"? For me, it is a simple sandal that essentially laces or buckles up the leg to the knee. That describes the ones that gods, goddesses and gladiators wear in the movies or the likes of Isabeli Fontana wear for fashion shoots.

Vogue writer Laird Borrelli-Persson outlined a short history of the gladiator sandal in her 2015 spring trend piece

My question is: Is the "caged" sandal that reaches the ankle and stops there, also referred to as gladiator? "Google images" confirms that all sandals, whether ending at the ankle or knee are known as "gladiator" sandals.

BrianD relates what happened in 2007 when he saw a post online about gladiator sandals. 

Photo Source: Brian Davis
"Oddly enough it was from a guy and he was sharing pictures of his Nine West Jobilyn gladiator sandals . . . I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I started seeking a pair for myself. The funny thing is I went to the same Nine West store where I bought my first pair of Nine West flats and it was the same sales girl that sold me this pair of gladiator sandals. Unlike regular sandals, gladiator sandals have that "caged" feeling because they are buckled up around your ankles . . . I was soooo excited when I bought those Nine West Jobilyn gladiator sandals.  They were really "in fashion" for women. Although they were pretty feminine they still had a unisex feel to them. I guess you could say I was happy how they looked on me.  The double buckle strap ensured they didn't slip off my feet (and) . . . gave them a nice look but was somewhat difficult to buckle and unbuckle . . . A lot of years had passed between getting my first pair of Glads and my first pair of Tory sandals . . . I didn't buy another pair of women's sandals till April last year. YUP, you guessed it, my Tory Burch Millers . . . Now that I am a complete Tory diehard customer I'd have to say I like my Tory sandals better than my Nine West gladiators. First, the soles are rubber or rubber like material and they have great traction and they are very thin and therefore don't look so "clunky" like most men's sandals. They are easy to slip on and off. I have the TB Millers in lots of fun colours. And lastly they have the iconic Tory logo over the top of your foot. So while the gladiators look more masculine or unisex, it is the TB Miller (or any TB sandals) that I now prefer.

Photo by Brian Davis
 When Brian wrote, "I didn't buy another pair of women's sandals till April last year", I have always thought the gladiator sandals were gender-less. I tended to avoid them because they look too bulky to be worn on my feet. As Brian has shared, he likes the thinner sole on women's shoes. Men's sandals do not need to have a heavy sole for most purposes either so the Nine West Jobilyn gladiator sandals look as "uni-sex" as any shoe I have ever studied and as far as gladiators go, these are a winner. Similar to Brian, I do prefer the TB Miller's insofar as sandals go.

Over the past year or two I have taken photos of sandals and shoes at the markets I have visited here in the south-west. This collage demonstrates a smattering of gladiators and you can decide who wins or loses the battle. They are definitely unisex since we cannot discern which are female or male feet and that is the biggest plus for the gladiator sandal.


Photos by JoyD. This collage was made using http://PhotoCollage.net











Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dressing for the Weather


Closet Content Analysis: Weather Appropriate

Choices: Hot Weather Nice


My French friends and neighbours always ask me what I wear when it is minus 40 on the Canadian prairies. My husband and I have gotten into this odd routine of returning to Canada in the winter. I first attempt to deflate the amount of time it is actually minus 40 and then describe our outerwear and the concept of layering. First, they just don't have the minus-double-digit type of outerwear that we do in Canada. However, the tables have turned as we move into a week of plus 38 here in the South-West of France. What do you wear when it's plus 40?

Our neighbours, Danielle and Abel came over to gift us with some wine from a "fete" we were unable to attend. Of course, we invited them in for "apero". I then told her that we would be staying inside because of the heat. I attempted, in my limited French to explain that when it is minus 40 in Canada we stay warm as we hide in our house and when it is plus 40 in the south-west of France we stay cool as we hide in our house. Some things truly are universal.

We can layer and dress appropriately for the weather in a cold climate but what in fact do you wear when it is this hot? The first thing to do is analyze what is worn in climates that experience this type of heat on a consistent basis . . .

Fibre Content: linen, cotton, silk - never ever polyesters. Think of wrapping yourself in plastic - this does not need explanation.

Design and Structure: Loose fitting, draping rather than clinging to the body, draw-string (no elastic waist bands or heavy zippers), protection from the sun's rays - meaning long pants and long sleeves; believe it or not.

Colour: white, beige, pale blues or other pale colours

Accessories: Hats, sandal style footwear.

The tendency in western countries is to put on a polyester bathing suit and sit in the sun or water whereupon sunburn and heat stroke take their toll. Yes, I understand the breeze across the water might add a bit of coolness but if you are dashing in and out of the water and sitting in the hot sun to dry off, the only thing you accomplish is burning your skin because of the reflection off the water.


Nice: This is my absolute favourite hot weather outfit.



Linen Pants and Top Purchased in Sorrento.
Photo by JoyD.
I bought this linen top and pants in Sorrento, Italy. It's a loose-weave fabric with shell buttons and the pants have a draw-string. I have had it for years and it has weathered many trips to Europe. When it finally wears out, I will have another made exactly like it. Of all the clothes I own, this outfit has served me well in plus 30 heat.






Hot Weather Favourites. This collage created by JoyD with  http://PhotoCollage.net




Wednesday, 24 June 2015

PRIDE "Ballet Flats" Tribute

Thank you Brian for giving a Ballet Flats Tribute to PRIDE or GAY PRIDE month celebrating sexual preferences and gender variations for th LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender Queer) community. June is PRIDE month in Canada. Whether our preferences are personally or sociologically significant or simply superficial (as in clothing variations) it is important to acknowledge and salute those differences wherever they lie on the contimuum. And so . . . let's take pride in all our preferences and variations as we strive for non-judgemental attitudes! What better way on a clothing blog than with shoes . . . thanks again Brian!





June PRIDE "Ballet Flats" Tribute. Photo Source: Brian Davis
Take a look at the other posts Brian and I have collaborated on about ballet flats:

Ballet Flats: Genderless
In a Man's Closet: Ballet Flats
Ballet Flats Favourites: 13 Pairs in 2013
For Love of Reva and Eddie

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sandals

Closet Content Analysis: Summer Shoes

Nice Choices: Sandals - Light and Airy



Tory Burch Sandals purchased in Scottsdale. Photo Source: Brian Davis
Last month Brian Davis sent me a photo of a new pair of Tory Burch sandals that he bought in Scottsdale, Arizona. He's my go-to guy when it comes to any questions I have about ballet flats or Tory Burch. These are close to what I am looking for but a tad too heavy of a cross strap on the instep. I may have to buy online since I don't know where to go for Tory Burch anywhere near to where I am in France. I'm off to Bordeaux for an appointment at the immigration office this week and will do some shopping while there.

I love shopping, but not necessarily online. For those who are tactile and love to touch and view from a variety of angles and enjoy the experience of trying on before buying, online shopping just doesn't cut it. Call me old school, chastise me for not being "with it", and admonish my old fashioned ways but shopping is not shopping unless you are physically in a retail space surrounded by options that are able to be touched and tried on. How else will you learn the feel of silk . . . of good quality linen . . . of crisp cotton? I suppose you can put your faith in the marketing descriptors but until you feel it and see how it sits or drapes upon your body, you just don't know. If anything, online shopping is delusional - a potential buyer views articles of clothing on one-dimensional figures and the imagination plays its part with skewed results. So this post is supposed to be about sandals . . . I digressed.

We all have our favourite and least favourite pairs of sandals - bien sur. 


Photo by JoyD taken in the Ste. Foy La Grande market
No Thanks: While in the Saturday market in Ste. Foy La Grande in Gironde, I took some photos of what sandals are being wornI am not a fan of sandals that rise up to the ankle. When you have legs that are thick, as hers appear, this particular look is not the best choice. She would have been much better off with an open instep with a crisscross of two or three straps just above the toes. The proportion that you see accentuates the heaviness and that's not what sandals are about.

Photo by JoyD.
Nice and Need: These are a friend's feet under a table at a restaurant in Langon (Gironde), France. The photo was taken about three years ago but these are exactly the sandals I want. The straps are not as thick as the Tory Burch pair and lightness is what I like in a summer sandal. I'm sure I will find something in Galleries Lafayette or one of the shoe shops in Bordeaux.


Sandals that have served me well. Photo by JoyD.
Note-Worthy: These specimens are showing the wear and tear of too many marvellous summers here in the south-west of France. The beige pair on the top rung made their way to the trash bin last summer. The pair that you see below are the pair I bought to replace them. They felt fine for the first month or two but now the leather straps have stretched so that they feel sloppy. 


Photo by JoyD.










Sunday, 21 June 2015

Clips for Zenka Frames

Colour Clips for Zenka Frames. Photo by JoyD, June, 2015.
It was the beginning of July, 2014, when I bought my Zenka frames  and I told you then that I would take a few photos of the clips that I ordered. I never did update that post; so it's about time that I show you the clips that I have purchased over the past year. I now have  ten of them in three shades of blue, two shades of purple, and one each in white, red, black, grey and pale pink. 

In the same way that some women buy a pair of earrings, shoes or a scarf to match or to update an outfit, I am now in the habit of ordering a new coloured clip for my eyeglass frames.

Anthony, who owns Opticiens Martin in Ste. Foy La Grande (Gironde), is a true gentleman and it is easy to leave my money in his shop. 

He has a relative, either a brother or cousin (I'm not sure), who is the founder and designer of Parasite frames. I still look at the Parasite brand displayed in Anthony's store and wish that I had more disposable income and was a tad more eccentric - with those two attributes, I know I would be wearing them.


Photo Source: Parasite

For now, the Zenka frames offer me as much eccentricity as I can handle and are more economic than buying a whole new set of lenses and frames. 

What colour is next? I suppose it depends on the next scarf or the shoes that I buy. For now I have an adequate supply.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Quasi-Academic Debate: Comfortable Casual or Business Attire at Work



Closet Content Analysis: Casual or Business

NOTE-WORTHY

The summer inspires us to be more casual in all that we do and most transparently in what we choose to wear. This can create conflict for employees and employers especially when the business calls for a certain degree of formality. I think of banking, insurance, government agencies, medicine/pharmacy and any corporate enterprise that deals with either my well-being or my financial situation. In other words if you are selling me health insurance, you had better not be in flip flops and shorts, even on "casual Friday". I could say, "but that's just me"; however, if I am saying it, there must be others who feel the same way.

In debate protocol, we must start with defining or at least having a basic understanding of what it is we are debating - that is comfortable casual vrs. business attire.

Business is easier to define and so I shall start there. Business for men and women suggests the "suit" although a broader perspective includes blazers and trousers or skirts. Ties for men might be optional but then that crosses the line to "business casual" in the same way as a t-shirt with a blazer rather than a button down shirt would be considered "business casual" but still there remains, the blazer or jacket. Shoes then range from Oxfords to loafers for men and a variety of heel-heights for women. Flats for women are always considered more casual but one's height and activity at work usually determine a woman's choice of footwear.

Comfortable casual is less than business casual. In some cases very much less. It is all relative. In fact an anthropological term, cultural relativism might fit this analysis. In this case, basically what you wear is determined by the values of the culture in which you are wearing it. Therefore if it is normally worn and accepted within a particular culture then it is what it is and should not be considered good or bad by those outside of the particular culture. Sigh. This can get complicated because we are not talking about a particular ethnic or national group but rather sub-cultures/sub-groups within a "business" culture that transcends nationality. 

We need a different analytical term. What comes to mind immediately is appropriateness so therefore "cultural appropriateness" sounds like it might work in analysis. How about, "sub-cultural dress appropriateness in an economic setting"? This then indicates that we are concerned about the acceptability, that which will not offend either administration, co-workers or clients, of clothing worn by members of a particular sub-culture; and sub-culture indicates the group within a larger culture that is specifically economically driven. Another sigh.

Now that the term covers what we want to study, we can get back to debating what is appropriate. "Appropriate" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "right or suited for some purpose or situation". Now, what is "right" and there is where "cultural relativism" comes to bite us again. If it is considered "right" within the group, it may not be considered "right" by those outside the group. So if bank employees all vote, thereby considering it "right" within the group, to wear short shorts, flip flops and bikini tops or muscle shirts on Wednesdays, then our opinion as clients doesn't matter. Ah, but this is where economics comes in. If I choose not to bank at that particular institution then it does affect the economic drive of the company. It is a conundrum but there are social scientists and anthropologists out there who have spent more time studying such things. 

From this blogger's point of view, the best strategy is to look at what the administration is wearing and follow "suit". As an employee you can probably tone it down to more casual attire if the head person is wearing formal business wear; but only a tad. So now, I should define "tad" - never mind. This advice means nothing if the boss comes in blue jeans and a t-shirt but because his or her employees are on the front line, he/she expects more business attire from the staff.

Follow your heart and if all else fails, just ask your boss what the summer standard for sub-cultural dress appropriateness in your particular economic setting is. That'll do it!

Check out what I have written before on this topic:
Summer Office Wear - What is Too Casual?
What is "Comfortable Casual"?
Knee-Length Shorts at Work and Play
Defining Casual Clothing
What Kind of Comfortable?



Saturday, 6 June 2015

Re-Using or is it Re-cycling Clothing?

NO THANKS          NOTE-WORTHY

The "recycleterie" in Pessac (department Gironde, France) has reorganized their product sales areas. At one time, clothing was placed in an alcove off the main go-round of the floorspace that included recyclable possibilities from housewares to furniture and a lot of garden and outdoor stuff. Initially I imagine the commune looked at everything people were throwing out and decided that with the help of volunteers, they could make a few dollars. Over the years the "recycleterie" has become more popular and now I imagine it is bringing in a tidy sum. After all, inventory costs them nothing.  

Electronics once attracted those who first walked through the main doors but that is getting to be a tricky business. The reorganization suggests that clothing manifests a good turnover. As soon as you walk in through the main doors you have the opportunity to browse through the men's, women's and children's clothing. Most items are pretty shabby but this is no ordinary "recycleterie" any more. Now there is a rack that indicates "marques" and so you do not have to sift through the nondescript articles to find the treasures. Levis are no longer grouped with all the no-name-of-consequence jeans selling for two Euros a pair; they are now in the designated area of "marques" and being sold for considerably more.


I also noted that there were a number of "supermarket-brand" t-shirts, all brand new with the original markdown prices that obviously even the store could not get. You would think that the "recycleterie" would have priced them at that amount or less, but in fact, they priced them for more than the supermarket's last sale price. I suppose it must be a matter of what the market will bear.


I guess I can't blame them. Re-sellers were coming through, buying for pennies and then selling at the brocantes and "vides greniers" for 300+% markups. That had to be disconcerting for the staff and so I can imagine that they were thinking, "if re-sellers can buy here and make money, we can sell for a higher price and cut out the middle man". The "recycleterie" reminds me a little of the North American reality show, Storage Wars. In fact, Storage Wars is on TV here in France. I propose a reality tv show situated in France featuring re-sellers who scavenge the vides greniers, brocantes and recyclerteries finding treasures that they sell for a profit.


The foreigners who have retired, settled or perhaps just summered here, like anyone else, love a bargain and there will always be the stack of plates for a Euro or two. It is the perfect place to outfit a summer kitchen if not yourself. 
You could buy a set of dishes for what the paper version would cost. I can imagine someone buying at the "recycleterie" and then donating everything back at the end of the summer. Now that is truly a "recycleterie".


NO THANKS: If you do decide to buy clothing at any "recycleterie", keep the following in mind . . .

. . . Check for odd smells and don't buy if there is any "old" or mildewy odor; it will be almost impossible to get out. Actually this is also good advice for any cloth, wooden or rattan items or furniture. There are many suggestions for removing odors from natural fibers but they seldom work well. It becomes a constant and never-ending battle.

. . . Check for stains and marks. Stained clothing is another "no-no"! You have no idea what it could be or how the original wearer may have tried to remove it. It may be embedded and there is nothing that will remove it. Better not to buy if something is stained.

. . . Check for tiny rips or holes and do not buy. 

. . . Check again and walk away. 

NOTE-WORTHY: However consider the buttons on something that you may reject. You never know, the buttons may be unique and salvageable and you may be able to re-use them on something else. A woman told me about her greatest second-hand-treasure, a Chanel jacket that was moth-eaten and beyond repair but the buttons were still beautiful - definitely a recyclable lotto win.


Saturday, 30 May 2015

What I Actually Packed for 4 Days in Spain

Closet Content Analysis: Items for a 4-Day Trip  

Choices: Things I Didn't Need


NICE          NECESSARY          NEED

We left Spain on Friday, after four days of Rioja wine tours, tastings, long lunches and pinchos/tapas for dinner. It was cooler than we had hoped for. Checking the weather is very important for short trips and limited baggage space.

I wrote about my planning and packing in a previous post. This is what I actually packed and the "bullets" suggest that I either didn't wear it or it could have been optional for this particular trip:

travel clothes to Spain: skinny blue jeans, white cotton sweater, black loafers 
black North Face "Summit Series" hooded jacket 
black skinny jeans
• black knee-length walking shorts
• beige/camel linen wide leg pants 
black v-neck short-sleeved t-shirt
white v-neck short-sleeved t-shirt
• 2 striped Armor-Lux tops 
black blazer
• black sleeveless sheath dress 
cashmere shawl
pyjamas
• cotton jacket-length bathrobe
black loafers
• black sandals
beige loafers
underwear
return travel clothes: black shorts, striped Armor-Lux top, black loafers

I didn't wear the black sleeveless sheath dress because we never went to any upscale restaurants. Perhaps if it was warmer I could have worn it when we went for "pinchos" (AKA tapas) one night but that might have been considered overdressed. I didn't need the two striped tops, even though I did wear them both, one would have been fine. I did wear but really it wasn't necessary to have my shorts, but that was because there was definitely a spring coolness to the breeze when the sun went behind the clouds. I never did wear my sandals. I only wore the beige pants once because after the first wearing the olive oil couldn't be camouflaged and so I probably won't bother with them for such a short trip.

NICE: I was glad I took a blazer, it made me feel comfortable in the higher end bodegas. However I would take a patterned or coloured blazer next time because I had too many black pieces.


Photo Source: North Face
NECESSARY: I definitely needed my North Face jacket and my shawl. Mine is in classic black and I wear it in the spring, summer and fall and layered in the winter. This is one of the best purchases I have ever made.

NEED: Because I had so much black, I definitely needed some scarves for colour. Next time . . . 

Packing and Wearing Travel Tips:  

1. If you take white or beige pants, plan to wear them on the last days of your stay. I wore mine the first day and for our pinchos tasting in the evening. By the time I arrived back at the apartment, I had two moderate splotches of olive oil on both knees. Obviously the tiny paper wipes (you can't even call them serviettes) did not serve me well while eating pinchos.

2. For those who are a tad squeamish, wear closed in shoes when you go for pinchos in the evening. The slips of paper wipes end up on the floor around the area where people are standing, eating and drinking (that's right - no containers for garbage). As I noted the debris up against the bar, I did think of an acquaintance who probably would not have been very comfortable with the prospect of a stranger's serviette being tossed upon her manicured toes. Everybody's "grunge tolerance" is different.

3. If you are traveling by car or train between places, choose dark clothing that is easy to wash as your travel clothes and use them only for that purpose. It depends on your number-of-wears-comfort-zone but at least this way you will know that you will have a set of relatively clean clothes for your travel days.




Friday, 22 May 2015

The Perfect Fit

Last year while in France I gained 6 kg in 6 months. Mon dieu - OMG - but when I returned to Canada, I embarked upon a previous regime that served me well and while in Canada for five months, I lost it. Now I'm back in France for 9 months this time. I will not do that again. I can not do that again. 

One of the first things we did this time was join a gym. It proved to be a bit of a shock. We paid more for two people for 6 months than both our memberships cost for an entire year in Canada. And the gym in Ste. Foy La Grande is adequate but comparatively speaking, mediocre. It's not open civic holidays or Sundays and closes at two in the afternoon on Saturdays. With North American gyms open from early morning to late at night or 24/7, it took some rethinking on our part to accept these very French hours of operation.

It's not so much that I want to lose any weight at this time but I certainly don't want to gain and I want to eat foie gras, rillettes de canard and creme everything! I want to have apero and enjoy the white wine and the red wine and the rosé. I also want to eat baguette and cheese after I have already had two courses . . . and then there's dessert. But of course, there's pain au chocolate for breakfast; how could I forget? So you see, the gym membership is worth every penny. There's also a scale there and I can weigh myself once a week so that I can keep on top of it. Last year I just kept eating and squeezing into my clothing claiming that if I could get a particular item on, then I was OK. Wrong! I did not account for the stretch factor nor did I pay attention to how tight everything became. I could still zip it up or pull it on, even though I feared that seams would burst while I was shopping for camembert made from lait cru (raw milk).

That's the ticket - the fit. When something fits perfectly, you look good and feel good. Even at 6 kilos later, I was able to zip up my pants, but I did have waistband imprints for the rest of the day after half an hour of wearing them. But you see, I could still zip them up so I rationalized saying, "well of course, a pound or two will do that". No! Ten pounds or so will do that!

Very often I have heard women say that "nothing fits right" when they are out shopping for new clothing. The problem is, of course, that these women are trying on clothing that is simply too small. It probably was the size they last bought, and instead of going into a larger size, they just give up and say that nothing is fitting properly. Forget the numbers is probably the best advice to follow. So if you were a six and now a ten, suck it up (maybe don't suck it up, I tried that) and wear clothing that fits at the size ten that you actually are. In that way you will feel beautiful and comfortable and not like a stuffed sausage. You will look better, feel better and enjoy everything you do rather than looking as if you squeezed yourself into a size or two smaller, are barely able to bend over, and thereby feeling every bit of the excess weight. 

It is quite remarkable how much better you feel and look if your clothing fits properly. In the meantime, I don't plan to go shopping for awhile, instead I will remain in my easy-to-put-on clothing and maintain the comfort of the size in my present closet.