Are You A ‘Claire’?

I can’t count the times I’ve set off for the high street in search of sensible, flattering clothes and returned home empty-handed, with the suspicion that there was something wrong with me.

How else could it be that, with all that bountiful array on parade in all the shop windows, I couldn’t find anything suitable?

Shops wouldn’t stock clothes that people wouldn’t buy, so everyone else must be buying and wearing them. The problem must be me.

Maybe I was:

  1. Too short (extremely likely)
  2. Too stingy (likely)
  3. Too picky (maybe)
  4. Too prudish (really?)
  5. The only one

I’m very used to being different from the people around me so I accepted yet one more oddity and went on with my life in my tattered and worn clothes. Then I read this article

https://www.the-pool.com/fashion/fashion-honestly/2017/21/where-to-find-grown-up-clothes-on-the-high-street

and this one

https://www.the-pool.com/fashion/fashion-honestly/2017/20/sali-hughes-on-the-british-high-street-dressing-women-over-35)

It was an angels-singing-in-heaven moment. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t ‘wrong’. I was just one of the ‘Claires’. I followed Claire around the shops with my imagination, and then I followed her home. I pictured her life, the challenges she faced, her worries and her dreams. So, here, meet Claire:

Claire is an ordinary woman in her later thirties or forties. She has a family and, likely, she has a job, but it’s not one that takes her jet-setting or demands the purchase of evening wear. It’s likely a job that doesn’t excite her and it’s been the fruit of her choosing family over career when the kids were younger.

She’s the family workhorse and this means that she’s got very little time for herself or for her husband/partner (if she’s got one). She wants to be a good mother but all that she’s read and heard has convinced that she’s doing a shoddy job at it and will never be able to rise to the challenge.

She’s saddled with so much guilt about being an imperfect mother, an imperfect wife/partner and an imperfect employee that she doesn’t indulge in treats for herself. She views dinners with friends, girls’ holidays or spa’s ladies’ trips like extravagant luxuries that she, always running against the clock, cannot afford (no time) and, possibly, doesn’t deserve.

Even finding time to go shopping for her own clothes is a struggle, which means that she only goes when she’s desperate. With a long list of ‘must finds’, her shopping trip is a gargantuan task rather than a pleasant pastime. Returning home with an empty boot and an unchecked list is a personal failure.

But finding clothes that Claire will wear is difficult: she’s borne children and does not want to show her wobbly midriff. She won’t part with her bra for the sake of a backless dress, and she feel much more comfortable with her shoulders covered rather than exposed (her tan only goes up to the sleeve mark). She doesn’t have time to take garments to the dry cleaners, nor to hand-wash them and lay them flat to dry. In summer, she doesn’t care for clothes which are suitable for a Majorcan holiday, because it’s the British weather she needs to face 95% of the time.

In the end, she returns home with a multipack of school shirts for her kids (these were also on the list), and goes online to buy again her high waist jeans, her favourite pair which she has unfortunately outgrown in the last ten years. Only to be incensed at the discovery that they’re out of production.

I think you’ve got the picture. I can recognise many Claires around me and, in most aspects, I’m one too.

Do you know any Claires?

Do you see yourself in her?

Are you so busy looking after others, absolving your duties, that you never make time for yourself?

Have you got a word of advice (or sympathy) for Claire?

[I’m so fond of Claire that I cannot leave her shopping misadventures without a happy ending. So here it is:

Claire’s teen daughter walks into the rooms. Peeks into Claire’s laptop (parents don’t deserve privacy).

‘Are you getting yourself new jeans?’

‘I wish. I can’t find anything.’

‘I’ve got a pair I don’t want anymore. Try it.’

Claire is desperate enough to try her daughter’s low-rise jeans.

‘They look really good on you, Mum!’

‘I guess, with a long top…’]

 

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19 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi, I’ve nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award. Check it out when you get a chance! Thanks. Lorelle 🙂
    https://amindfultravellerblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/07/mystery-blogger-award/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lorelle, I’m really chuffed that you’ve chosen me. I’ve decided not to do any more awards, though, but I really appreciate your thought. Thank you! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not a problem, I know these awards take up a fair bit of time. You have a great blog which inspires me and hopefully many more. X

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your words have made my day!
          You’ve given me a smile that will help me survive the unpacking-kids-bags-from-school-camp ordeal this afternoon 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Lol. Too funny. Good luck with that. I remember those fun times 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Pamela Harbutt says:

    I recognise some of this. I cringe to admit that I used to allow my husband ( a designer, very visually aware!) to pick my ‘to be seen on public occasions’ clothes! Now I have the confidence – and the time – to choose the occasional really nice thing myself, but I often find comfortable, worn in, everyday wear in charity shops!
    I especially love the ending. I also admit to wearing about 4 pairs of offcast jeans from a daughter who’s lost a lot of weight!
    Have patience, Claire, your time will come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think you need to cringe to admit it: if my husband was a designer and was willing to go shopping with me, I would snap up his offer!
      Thank you for your very encouraging and wise words. 🙂

      Like

  3. Megala says:

    Yes, I do see myself in her most of the times! But I just ignore and appreciate myself being so matured & keep moving!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s the right attitude! Thank you for your wise words 🙂

    Like

  5. Elena says:

    Great post! And this is exactly why I make my own clothes. My shopping trips usually go like this: 1) make a list – I’m looking for a business suit and blouse for an interview; 2) spend 5 hours in all available high street shops, get totally frustrated, exhausted and find nothing; 3) spend an hour in the local big fabric shop filled with rubbish – nothing; 4) shops are about to close! Have a coffee and either buy fabric online if there’s time, or buy expensive but nice fabric at John Lewis – they always have something suitable. Go home and make the suit. Mind you, it doesn’t work if you need something for tomorrow. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is what I call power! You’ve got the power to actually create what you want to wear. I take my (imaginary) hat off to you.(and a thumbs up emoji here)

      Like

  6. Tami says:

    “Raising my hand” – I have been Claire on and off in my life. I’m so happy you made a happy ending for her!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sowhatnow768 says:

    I… am a Claire…. except my daughters teeny jeans would never fit my generous bahookie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a very good point. You’ve found a floor in the plot! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. sowhatnow768 says:

        We share shoes though 😂

        Liked by 1 person

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