Today I went shopping for some simple basics: black sweatpants and plain long-sleeve t-shirts.
I was quickly reminded why I have hated shopping for clothes ever since I turned 13. I'm sort of a freak of nature, but I always forget until I try to find clothes that fit.
I am still IN BETWEEN the girls' sizes and the women's sizes, believe it or not. Since the super-sizing of America, I swear women's "Small" sizes have increased every year. Clothes my size simply do not exist in most stores. The "petite" sizes are great for my pre-teen-length legs, but actual petites are few and far between, and if I find them at all they scream "grandma" or "reject from 8 seasons ago". The women's "XS" shirts are the only ones with a neckline that doesn't plunge below my nipple line, but at the same time their sleeves hang down to my knees. Who actually fits in these clothes? The women's sweatpants don't exist in XS, but the "S" sizes (smallest available) extend 3 inches past my heels. Since they are a cotton/poly blend, I don't think my old trick of washing them in hot water and blasting them in the dryer to shrink them will work.
So I head to the girls' section, since the largest girls' clothes occasionally fit, sort of. The advantage is, sometimes they are cheaper. The disadvantage: most girls' clothes are NOT appropriate for 40+ professional women. Sometimes the legs are short enough; most often they are too short. There isn't much hip or bust room, even though I've not got much of either. The "L" sizes are too tight and the "XL" sizes have legs that are too short combined with waists that are too big.
I felt fortunate to find ONE women's petite pair of black yoga/stretch pants, which were exactly the right length and cost 3 times as much as any of the regular women's or girls' pants. They were the only petite clothing item I saw in the entire store. I bought them.
It's one thing to be a teenager in this awkward in-between stage and eventually outgrow it. It's another to be permanently stuck there. My mom is still there too - at least I know I'm not the only one. And someday, maybe I'll be a grandma and all those grandma clothes will be perfect!