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  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

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The Goldfish

One thing I have seen is a programme offered by some on-line shops where you type in your measurements, colouring and so on and they create a virtual model for trying on clothes. But even then, they want you to buy stuff, so the clothes always fit in a flattering way on the picture, even if the picture is at least more representative of your actually size and shape.

The happiest compromise I can think of is to have a variety of sizes and shapes of models and put the models in the most flattering clothes for their particular shape.

I have a large bra size, and the shop where I buy my undies has been pioneering in the use of naturally large-chested models to advertise bras for larger cup sizes. The models are still beautiful, slim and lovely, but the bras fit their bosoms like they would fit mine - I wouldn't look nearly so great in my underwear, but it does help me make a judgement on issues like shape, support, coverage, what neck-line I could get away with etc..

Ultimately, they can't satisfy everybody; I spend most of my time sat down, which can completely change the appearance and shape of clothes. But I do think that marketing is very often driven by convention; they stick to what works, but this doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't another way which might work better if they were prepared to take a risk.


Ugh, the virtual models are absolutely terrible. Since, for some reason, they can't ask the same number of questions a tailor measures, the person who ends up being created to look like you simply doesn't.

I don't actually want a carbon copy of myself. And again, I'm not even sure I would buy clothes if they were modeled on people who really did look like me and seemed really to live like me, e.g., iron-free. (I know we have an iron. And an ironing board. I just couldn't tell you where we put it when we moved in. I don't think my boyfriend could, either.) But I suddenly realized in the haze of this cold I had until yesterday that I will probably never find out, and it made me sad in a hot, dizzy, stuffy-nosed kind of way.

I'm also disappointed in myself for ever picturing myself like the person in the photo and suffering the jar I described. I know these pictures are irrelevant to my reality and that I look just fine anyway; I do. But apparently I don't, not completely. And that's a little freaky. And I wonder how many other people are wandering around with similar if partial delusions, and how many others would dare to make this side-by-side comparison and hold it up for everyone to see. I think I know why most people won't, and that makes me sad.

There's a woman with a blog called "NakedJen" which I only learned about because of NaBloPoMo and the dedicated readers reviewing all the blogs. Jen posts a picture of herself naked or at least topless almost every day. I think this is a goofy thing to do, and maybe a little dangerous, but I still can't help but think it might be healthier than being afraid to show other people pictures of ourselves because we think we might be perceived as ugly in them. I'm not judging anyone a weakling; I am very nutty about how few pictures I allow other people to take of me. But I am sad that we worry so much about this. I think it steals a little of our lives.


I know this is an old post, but what the heck.

1. I used to get a clothing catalog from some woman-owned, feminist, etc. company that used regular employees as models. I don't remember the name of it, though, but the clothes actually looked normal on them.

2. Don't feel too bad about returning stuff to LL Bean. Back when I was younger and poorer, I lived in a town with an Eddie Bauer distribution center. I had practically an entire wardrobe of Eddie Bauer returns. Heck, I still wear some of them (10 years later). I'm guessing LL Bean has a similar secret store. Flaws that seem huge when you pay $40 for something seem to disappear when you've paid $2.

3. On the topic of a different post: I love that my local grocery chain tells me where my produce is from, and especially notes the locally- and regionally-grown stuff. Yes, they import stuff to keep the shelves stocked out of season, but the apples were wonderful and the more prosaic veggies were good, too.


Hey, Miz Geek, thanks for visiting.

1. If you ever remember the name of that company, tell me! That sounds great. I am also really interested in seeing clothes modeled more frequently as though they are really being worn, not posed. It's true that I'm not likely to buy a T-shirt with a coffee stain all over it (though any that I do buy will surely each have at least one of its own someday). However, I want to know how a T-shirt looks on a big-chested woman who raises her arms over her head, for example, or how pants look when you bend over in them, and after you sit down in them, not just how they will look for the first five minutes after a skinny model puts them on. I'm very interested in seeing examples anyone can show me of this kind of marketing. I don't think I've ever seen it, or seen it enough.

2. We will not discuss Eddie Bauer. I have been angry with Eddie Bauer since approximately 1990 when I experienced some of the worst service I've ever received in my life. And while I'm really glad you've had good luck with your fabulous outlet finds, my experience of their overall product quality after approximately 1985 has been strictly negative.

It's also better for my blood pressure if we don't discuss how the quality of L. L. Bean's products seems to be going the way of Eddie Bauer increasingly as the company grows and spreads. I have it in my head that once upon a time -- like, maybe even as recently as 1994 -- all or most of L. L. Bean's clothing was union-made in the USA. Now almost none of it is, and it shows in the quality. Grrr. Still, even with the number of returns I have made to L. L. Bean regarding this kind of disappointment, and even with the returns I don't want to make in spite of that kind of disappointment which I am having to take into my own hands to remediate, I still think Bean's clothes are among the best made in the marketplace. Also, they get further praise from me because in the sporting goods and practical clothes marketplace, not that many manufacturers even offer high-performance or halfway well-made everyday clothing in my size. Bean, however, has been gradually increasing its own size range. It still offers "cute" clothes that are only available in "cute" sizes, but these are usually not Bean's own label. I applaud its understanding that big girls hike, too. Now if it could just realize that this includes buxom women and offer all its tops (including knits) in breadths that stay buttoned (where applicable) and ungapped even with arms in second position and in lengths that will accommodate raising arms in, say, tree pose without the wearer having to flash her belly, its size range will be perfect.

As for outlets, you surmise correctly. L. L. Bean has two outlet stores of which I am aware, one in Portland, ME, and one just north of Nashua, NH. Not secret at all! And even stuff you buy there is subject to the 100% lifetime satisfaction guarantee.

3. Yes. I like that, too. It's educational, too, besides being increasingly effective marketing. It gives you a sense of your place as a consumer in the world, if that makes sense.

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