If you just want to wear something that looks good and is comfortable, have a look at these new skirts designed by me, Susanne Moore. I have designed clothes for the Changing Women after becoming fed up with the choice of clothes for women whose body shape has changed over the years. Sick of being uncomfortable so that you are in fashion and look good? I observed that no matter how fit I was, or how much exercise I did – I had to accept that my body shape had changed and I no longer had the straight, no fat body shape of a model. I have noticed that this can also happen to women whose body has changed due to pregnancy, menopause or aging and I am sure other life changing events as well. Although body shape can be helped by a good diet and exercise, the body changes I am talking about are more than being thin or too fat. You can also change your body shape somewhat just through exercise, but there are definite times in your life where your body changes no matter what you do.
Here are a couple of examples that I have noticed from my experience:
You find that your hips have expanded, your belly is softer and fuller than usual and your breasts have enlarged. The more children you have and the older you are when you have them has a result on your ability to “get back to” your original shape. The media paints this picture that “we can all do it” all we need to do is to follow the latest celebrity diet. Sure, when I had my first child at 24, I bounced back to a tiny 50 kilo’s, then after my second eight years later, I bounced back to 55 kilo’s. It was the last child at 39 that stacked on the kilo’s to 65 kilo’s and by then my body shape had changed so I was never going back!
In reality, the chances are as you become older, your shoulders will broaden and your hips will keep more fat on them, meaning that not only are you heavier, but your real body shape has changed. You might then find that you have to go up a size in your shirts to accommodate your broadened back, but many times this means that your sleeves are too long or you look like you have a shapeless bag on! So, if you are like me – you are most likely uncomfortable across the shoulders in a shirt as they pull when you try to do something like bending and lifting. Yet we all continue to believe that “it is us”, that “we have stacked on the weight”, that “we haven’t done enough” – we often listen too much to what the media says instead of embracing where we are in our life and seeing the beauty in ourselves.
DURING AND AFTER MENOPAUSE
During menopause, your body seems like it is changing every week! No matter how much you exercise or how little you eat, you just seem to put on more and more weight! Your clothes become tight and uncomfortable, particularly around the waist and stomach. Your shoulders broaden again – you look like you are training to become a footballer. Where once you had a really straight neck which flowed gently down to your straight back, there is now a bulge where your neck meets your backbone causing your shirts to ruffle across your back. Worse still, you start to look like the hunchback of Notre Dame! Many women start wearing high collars or growing their hair to cover this. But still we all wear the same types of clothes! What is the alternative? At the moment the alternative that most of us turn to is track pants and sweatshirts, or shapeless bag style clothes that hide your body from the world. At least this way you are comfortable – right?
Well, I am saying that “Enough is enough!” – so I decided to do something about how we see ourselves and force a shift in the design formula for women. Are you still wearing a shirt and skirt with the same type of design that you did when you were twenty? Chances are – you are – because even though you can get something that is larger, or looser, it will still be based on the same design. A collar with buttons down the front, yoke at the back, sleeves, cuffs and maybe some pleats in the standard places. You only have to look at dressmakers dummies to know that they can expand in size, but their body shape stays the same. ie: whether the dummy is a size 10 or a size 16 the shape of the dummy stays the same.
One thing that has always driven me mad is shirts. I have always had smaller shoulders than my bust size. In order to get a shirt to fit my bust, I need to go up a size which results in the sleeves being too long and worse, the buttons gape at the front, leaving my bra in full view from the side.
Why do we all put up with buttons errr!that gape at the front of our shirts? I have had so many shop assistants tell me to just put a “press dud” or “safety-pin” there to hold the material together! You are joking, after paying $120 for a shirt – it should come so that it fits a real in the flesh women! Or we put up with trousers that almost cut you in half when you sit down because there is no room for your soft belly flesh to go so it sits on top of the waistband! The typical fashion design solution for this is the make the crutch to front waist measurement larger, so that when you stand it is bearable – but comes over your belly button – but when you sit….well it looks like a balloon has been inflated on your lap! Hardly good style.
I say “embrace your shape” and wear clothes that show who you are – yes – I mean show that soft belly that carried children, don’t deny it. After all, what you have given to the world is the gift that only you can give so be yourself and others will embrace you as well.
In some cultures, like in India you see older women looking so beautiful with their soft bellies showing under their sari’s. You know by looking at them that they have lived, and hopefully they embrace the experiences that have given them their body shape.
Help me to change the paradigm for women’s clothes design by taking part in the Changing Women’s Forum on Facebook go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Changing-Women/150474491692457. You can also order your skirt on the forum page.
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