Clothing choices

I just loved this sentence (from the NYTimes article on Forth & Towne, the Gap’s new chain for "grown-ups")?

"Even though women of the baby boom, now age 41 to 59, accounted for 39 percent of women’s apparel purchases last year, shoppers who are much younger, 11 to 30, enjoy nearly five times the retail options, according to industry figures."

And women ages 31-40 apparently don’t exist.  Too young to be boomers, we’re children of the "baby bust" and demographically invisible.

Lord knows, I could certainly use some help finding new clothes.   Between two pregnancies, breastfeeding, and hoping to lose baby weight, I’ve hardly bought anything to wear in the past 5 years. (Ok, I bought maternity clothes, but I gave them away as fast as I could.)  I’m cheap, and I hate clothes shopping in any case — no one designs clothes for short women with large ribcages — and so have just rotated through my wardrobe endlessly.  But it’s starting to get pretty shabby.

In particular, I really need some new shorts.  But I can’t seem to find anything that isn’t cut for either teenagers who don’t mind their pupik showing or for matronly ladies who are hiding their varicose veins.  Any suggestions?

14 Responses to “Clothing choices”

  1. Anne Says:

    It’s hard to find shorts this time of year, even on Maui, which is really annoying ’cause it’s so darn hot. I got my current crop of shorts at Old Navy and have been pleased. They offer them in multiple lengths from very short to medium-short (that’s how I like them) to not-so-short. They’re not matronly at all but they also cover up the parts that need covering. Cheap too. You might be able to find them online if not in the stores.
    That said, I’m sweltering in my jeans today. I’m so sick of shorts all the time. Shorts just aren’t that attractive on me but usually comfort wins out over looking good.
    The Wall Street Journal did an article this week on women wearing yoga clothes outside of yoga class. I think that’s a good idea and am thinking about trying it for Maui’s version of wintertime (hot, with a little rain).

  2. Cynical Mom Says:

    Speaking as another short woman with a large ribcage (thank you pregnancy), I actually find GAP does a pretty good job clothing me. I’m slightly under the 31-40 range but I expect to continue wearing a fair amount of GAP clothes for the next 5 or so years. I think that’s more about how they provide a lot of ‘generics’ – solid color yummy feeling t-shirts, jeans that don’t suck, etc. Then every once in a while I’ll get a funky top or two from gap or old navy but for the most part i’m a t-shirt-and-jeans girl. For dresses, I’ve found Express has some great cheap ones that are super flexible, but you have to look year-round because sometimes they seem to be targeting the 17 year olds with their styles and prints. But although I am cheap, I do confess to enjoying clothes shopping so finding the clothes isn’t drudgery for me.
    I’ve actually had good luck with Eddie Bauer on shorts. GAP doesn’t help me out there but I’ve got a couple of EB pairs (bought right before I got pregnant, doh) that I was really enjoying. I rarely wear shorts though.. but there hasn’t been a summer in a few years that I was at a weight I liked, so that could have something to do with it.

  3. Laura Says:

    I’d also recommend someplace like Dick’s Sporting Goods or REI. They have comfortable shorts that aren’t too short or too long. They can be kind of pricey but I bet they’re on sale right now.

  4. landismom Says:

    J Jill (although they’re kind of pricey) seems to have a good variety, and decent fit.

  5. Jody Says:

    I have some pouchy issues on top of the overweight issues, so I’ve been buying cheap shorts from Target. Yes, they are cropped, but that’s not such a bad thing for me (what with the pouch and the fat stomach underneath it) and for $11.99, before clearance, I can afford not to be 100% thrilled. Although actually, I’ve been mostly happy with this year’s few purchases.
    I wear Old Navy the rest of the time.

  6. Cecily Says:

    I had some success with Old Navy on-line for shorts. They are low waisted but they actually fit and I’m VERY plus-sized.
    Even harder than short women with large rib cages? Short-waisted short women. My bra line is about an inch above my waist. Fun!

  7. Jenny M Says:

    I just wear the good ol’ cut off shorts. Like Daisy Dukes only about 8 or 9 inches longer longer and rolled up for a hem. They look great on the booty and that takes care of the jeans I’m wearing out anyway. I end up with Ralph Lauren shorts that aren’t sold anywere and a great excuse to buy new jeans this fall.

  8. Karen Says:

    As one of the boomers in the age 41 to 59 camp, I have had good luck getting clothes (including shorts) at Eddie Bauer, Lands End, J. Jill, and L.L. Bean. But if you listen to the advice of the “What Not to Wear” people, no woman is supposed to wear shorts or capris ever again. (HAH! Try that in the metro DC August heat!)

  9. liz Says:

    Short-waisted, large-ribcaged, short woman here. I found some wearable shorts at JC Penney. And skorts and skirts. And amazingly, dresses. Wow. Their petites department (particularly on-line) is fabulous.
    My sister has had success at TJ Maxx

  10. Annie Says:

    I’ve got NO suggestions, but at least wanted to chip in and say that I’m pretty sure the clothes that are in most stores don’t fit ANYBODY. Save maybe those few high school girls who still have bodies like little boys.

  11. Melanie Lynne Hauser Says:

    I’m actually looking forward to the new Gap concept (they’re opening 4 stores in the Chicago area, as a test market). And even though I am 42, when I was 35 I had the same clothing issues – I want to look stylish, yet I don’t have an anorexic teenaged girl body. And I don’t want to have to buy my clothes on QVC.
    Personally I’ve had success, at different times, at J.Jill, Anne Taylor Loft, Old Navy, and Eddie Bauer. I love a clothing line called INC., which Macy’s carries. And I just bought a bunch of new clothes at a store called Janeville, which is owned by Gymboree and seems to be the same concept as that new Gap store.

  12. Kate Dino Says:

    Consider this summer’s plus-sized skort offerings from Target. They give you the feminine grace of a skirt sans thigh-chafing. The skirt conceals the fact that the inner legs of the shorts are bunching up between your legs. I wish I could buy an entire business wardrobe of them — they are made so that it really looks like a skirt.

  13. Phantom Scribbler Says:

    I’m with Cecily on the shortwaisted short woman problem. I don’t even think there’s an inch between waist and boobs. God forbid I should ever have to get a real job and tuck in my shirts… not a pretty look.
    I’m a huge fan of yoga pants, though I have never done any yoga. They’re very cute and comfortable, even if I feel like a poser in them.

  14. Online Clothing Browser Says:

    I have some pouchy issues on top of the overweight issues, so I’ve been buying cheap shorts from Target. Yes, they are cropped, but that’s not such a bad thing for me (what with the pouch and the fat stomach underneath it) and for $11.99

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