Wednesday, October 05, 2005

why i love france (this week)

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I bought a couple of pairs of pants last week. Turns out there's an accompanying story after all.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I am, in fact, quite short. At 5'2" (157.5 cm), and having inherited child-bearing hips from my mother's side of the family and a very short waist from my father's side of the family, I have always had difficulty finding clothes that fit. Because of my height, I have been relegated to the "petite" section of clothing stores, which in later years has become a cosmic joke, as I am petite in height only. Thanks to the aforementioned hips, I have never been truly petite, but even when I was closer to that ideal, I found clothes shopping a bitter and frustrating exercise.

Now in France, I have been relegated to those shops that offer "grandes tailles," or plus sizes (of which I can think of three, off the top of my head, in Troyes). Part of me thinks I should be outraged, but the vast majority of me agrees that it does wonders to spur me into doing something about that. The truth is, I had decided not to buy any clothes at all until I can go to more than those three shops, which if I put my mind to it, shouldn't take long at all. But in the end, I really needed the pants, as I have one pair of jeans (that fit, heh), and the rest of my pants are a bit too dressy for just walking around the corner to get groceries, know what I mean?

So, last week, I bought some pants. Since I have yet to find a "petite" section of any clothing store, it should be no surprise that there were (seemingly) yards of fabric billowing around my ankles, but otherwise they fit very well. So I bought them and went home, thinking I could bribe one of my sisters-in-law to help me hem them up.

But, I'd forgotten that I had another option.

It turns out that in the vast majority of clothes stores, there is a seamstress on hand, in case your clothes are too long. If you try something on, and you want to buy it, but it's a bit long, you step out of your cubicle in the trying-on area, the seamstress marks the hem with a couple of straight pins, and she gives you a ticket. When you pay for the clothes, you leave the ticket and the clothes at the register and pick them up in a few days. Depending on the store, there may be a small fee, and maybe not.

In my defense, I should say that when I bought them last week, the seamstress must of been at lunch, since I think I was there between 1:00 and 2:00, so even if I remembered to have them altered, I would have had to come back.

So, instead of butchering the hem on my own, I learned that I could take back the pants to have them altered as long as I still had the receipt. If they had been from the new collection, it would have been free to have them altered, but since they were on sale (20 euros each!) I would have to pay seven euros for each pair, which is still a bargain. I took them back this morning and they'll be ready on Friday.

Who ever imagined I would have a positive shopping experience in France, of all places?

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