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What I Bought and What I Thought
It's that time of year.
That time of year when my skin is its palest, my dark circles so prominent, the veins in my eyelids so visible, my hair is driving me crazy, my skin is dry and dull and itchy.
That time of year when several holidays and short days and lots of good shows on streaming and lack of energy has changed my body and the clothes in my closet don't fit well.
That time of year where the clothes that still fit well I am so sick and tired of wearing. They're tired, they feel dated, like they belong to a different person, or at least a person I don't feel like being right now.
That time of year when I feel creaky and dusty and tired. And old. And dated. And I am most susceptible to marketing and social media and cutting bangs at 2 in the morning.
I cut my hair, and had it colored, and then colored again. I'm still trying out how to style it, what products, what methods. Some days it's super cute and some days like today it looks like a poorly cared for wig. I don't regret changing my hair though, because I knew I needed a change.
Because when I don't do a change I keep looking for little things to make me feel better. Target trips for one thing that end up costing almost $100. Drive-through frappuccinos at 3pm and bottles of nail polish even though I know I won't give myself a manicure. And orders of FARM Rio clothing dreaming I am both taller, less curvy, and heading on a tropical vacation.
It's like the retailer knows and sends me all their Instagram marketing on the coldest, grayest day of the month. And I succumbed, but at least I went to Nordstrom to get the items that caught my eye, so if they didn't work out I could easily return them.
And I totally was clouded by the cloudy day, knowing I neither needed these items nor would they work for me. But at the time I clicked “purchase” I envisioned myself taller, less curvy, and going to some tropical location where I'd swish swish swish around in these skirts.
I ordered this dress, knowing full well I had no business doing so. It was backless for goodness sake, and I am one who likes wearing a bra, does not like having it on display, and hates hacks and gimmicks to try to cover it up or hide it. But oh that print and those sleeves and that flowiness… maybe I could make it work.
No, gentle reader, I could not make it work. I couldn't even get up the delicate zipper over all the layers of fabric at the waistband without having my husband hold it up and taut as I carefully but forcefully pulled it. And I had my whole back on display and a good portion of my front. Essentially, this was a dress to showcase a bra.
There was no way to make this dress work, unless I bought a second one to have the fabric to fill in the back and the front which didn't have enough fabric for my breasts, let alone ones half my size. But the sleeves were pretty great, the dress was pretty flowy, and if I had no boobs I'd totally rock this dress sans bra and a pair of flat sandals and some oversized sunglasses just walking down the street pretending I was at a tropical resort.
I also ordered this dress because I felt it was more practical and somehow at that time felt that such a boxy fit of caftan would look great on my short curvy self. I think I had Tracee Ellis Ross in my head when I clicked buy, because she would look phenomenal in this. I did not.
I didn't look bad in it, but I looked badass score from the thrift store good in it, not $250 phenomenal in it. Again, these boobs could NOT be contained, and the elastic loops for the buttons at the placket strained with every breath. The fabric isn't stiff per se, but heavier than expected giving it a very boxy effect. Also the side ties to cinch the not quite empire not quite natural height waist were really weird and complicated.
So I boxed up those dresses and sent them back… and then ordered some other stuff being more realistic about who I am and what I'd actually wear.
Well, I actually ordered a third Farm Rio dress but it came later. I am not sure why I ordered a Large; I actually went back to see if they accidentally sent me a L instead of an XL but nope, I forgot about my boobs and went with L. And as you can see above I can't even review this dress because my boobs are too majestic for this frock. That being said, the print is super pretty!
For those who saw this post and then it disappeared and then reappeared… I forgot I scheduled this. I didn't finish the post this week and figured I just wouldn't have a Friday Shop but forgot to draft it. I think many can relate to having that kind of week, month, season! So I came back to link and feature the last dress mentioned and publish it again.
I have ordered a lot lately and will have reviews of them coming… stay tuned!
Deb Miller says
This post is the good stuff. I mean, the clothes didn’t work out but the situation is 100% relatable. This is me too: “ I envisioned myself taller, less curvy, and going to some tropical location where I’d swish swish swish around in these skirts. “ Thanks for keeping it real.
I had this same impulse and ordered new bathmats because I knew that there was no way a piece of clothing would do it.
Marsha Banks says
Wait, what? I’m not 5’9″ and going to the Caribbean for vacation? Oh, dang! My majestic boobs bid yours a very fond bonjour! This is the season of my discontent. I keep thinking, “Oh, I need to buy something to get me out of the doldrums.” Then, I walk into my closet filled with doldrums shopping. So far, so good. It might help to know we may possibly be downsizing in which case I lose my lovely walk in closet so I have to get rid not buy more!
I love your voice (literally and figuratively), Alison! I actually love that print of the first dress on you. If you hadn’t sent it back, I was going to suggest taking it to your tailor and having it hemmed and using the left over to fill in the back or the sides.
Ah, well! Thanks for a wonderful post!
Killer post Alison. I am kind of an expert on wearing Farm Rio with giant boobs. I have multiple pieces from them that I love and wear all the time, but many don’t work. Look for their pieces in stretchy fabrics or feel free to hit me up because i quite possibly have tried it already lol.
I am reading this but your voice is Lady Whistledown from Bridgerton.it’s a good match, gentle writer 🙂
Stephani Miller says
I’m definitely having the same March blahs and dreaming of a new me, while making a few dumb purchases. Happily I have followed those up with what I hope turn out to be GREAT purchases. I’m eagerly awaiting my package from everbyx after resisting for a few months. I saw the dress here and on a few other curvy folks I follow and just fell in love. So fingers xed! I also just bought 2 Chicos belts off Poshmark (including that awesome hook belt) that I’m planning to wear with the everbyx dresses. And Universal Standard has been saving me a lot of effort in getting dressed for my three office days per week lately. And you are the reason I’ve tried/am trying these brands. So thank you for reviewing them and sharing your styling! I try to limit my clothes shopping, especially since I sew as well. But some things are just too good not to try!
At times like this, repeat “it’s not me, it’s the dress” over and over and over!
Thank you for so eloquently describing that late-winter blah feeling. Yes, yes, yes! I also get sick of my summer clothes by late August. Thanks for always telling it like it is.
“No, gentle reader, I could not make it work.” Thank you for making me laugh and keeping it real. I am having a case of “this time of year,” too. I’m filling online carts and most times abandoning them but sometimes hitting BUY thinking the items might work for me.
Lol. Majestic boobs: ruining fashion fantasies since Eve. (Probably).
Farm Rio is out of my wheel house but their sizing is like Alice & Olivia, a colorful brand. I like, but cannot wear. Their XL bust is = to a size 14 and is 40”. FORTY INCHES IS NOT MAJESTIC!
Thanks for keepin’ it real! The striped socks with the dresses take it over the top *chef’s kiss* — I did a spit-take laughing.
Glad you were able to return it all! This time of year is so hard – spring fever has hit, but the stores are full of “dregs.”
You had me laughing so damn hard, my husband asked, “What are you reading that’s so funny??” And, the mascara that I so diligently applied to go into the office today has now run and looks a mess!!! 😀 Thank you so much for your honest Friday reviews.
Thank you. All other words fail me, except to say, this. Yes. This. 🙂
Yes, yes, yes! I also succumb to buying close for my imaginary, taller, thinner self. It’s a shame that first Farm Rio dress didn’t have the necessary coverage, because I think you could rock it. With regard to the backless portion, when I participate in brand surveys, I always note that real women wear bras, and we do not want to fool with strapless, backless, racerback, etc. for everyday wear, and that clothes should be designed with that in mind. Anyway, sometimes there is value just in imagining our parallel universe selves, even if just until a try-on session culminates in a returned purchase.
Karen O. says
I so enjoyed reading this! I feel better knowing I’m not the only one that does these things.
There’s currently a really lovely dress on the Zuri Kenya website which has a similar print vibe, Kabloom. The cut is very different but I find them quite size inclusive.
You are gorgeous and so are the dresses. Both can be true at the same time! And at some point, they’ll wake up and choose to dress women like you in all your full majesty. Until then? Thank goodness for Nordstrom’s return policies 🙂 Had a similar purchase that just went back to Nordy’s. My mistake? Buying a stretchy jersey dress with cutouts!! The dress was great … and not for me. Love the post and thank you for sharing.
That explains all the recent charges to Anthropologie!!! They were made because I somehow resisted all the Farm Rio dresses (I have several in carts across the internet though, some of the same ones you tried on) and instead purchased six dozen equally unwearable for me items from Anthropologie because I had a birthday coupon so it seemed more sane. It’s nice to know that we are not alone in these thoughts as we try to emerge into Spring, shedding our winter cocoons like butterflies, but yet our wings are not dry yet so we still kind of still look like an awkward bug clinging to our winter cover waiting for the sun to come out and dry our wings.
I have never kept any Farm Rio purchase that i have ever made. I also love the prints, but the petite curvy gals must avoid this brand! Even the T-shirts – I received one with gigantic shoulder pads from Farm Rio – what? What decade is this? I looked like a mini NFL enthusiast. Maybe this would all work on a tall, slender, elegant, long-limbed person, but I must just say no forevermore.
I’ve so been there, envisioning a “me” that doesn’t match with reality. This is a great reminder to control those impulses. The Farm Rio dresses are beautiful, but there is no moment in my life that I will be doing something they would work with.
I so needed this post today. Like you I’ve been getting excited for spring and wanting new things and new weather and all of it. Wanting to dress for a life that is not mine, shoes that would require an entire new set of clothes to make them work, clothes for the life and body of a different person. Hopefully it’s just the March blues and soon we can all unpack the nice spring/summer things we already own and it will feel like Christmas morning.
As always, I appreciate your candor and vulnerability and today, I laughed. You share out loud what so many of us struggle with and sister, it is a complete joy and comfort. Thank you.
You made my day with this post! It’s good to know that we all have the same struggles with clothing.
You can now add comedienne and mind reader to your resume. You crack me up and gave me my first laugh of the day. So relatable. Why do we push the buy button and know we will be sorry! Keep up your spirit!
Thank you for sharing the fails too, sounds like a lot of us are in the same place right now. I’ve been eyeing some fun fabrics on eshakti for this same reason. Never bought from them but really want some new spring dresses for work because I’m sick of wearing the same ones with tights.
>>I can’t even review this dress because my boobs are too majestic for this frock.
LOL! And a good reminder that it’s the clothing, not you.
Put on your gorgeous eShakti dress and enjoy a similar style that’s perfect on you.
Oh yes, the $100 Target trip…*sigh* Thank you for this dose of realness!
Time for a trip to Rio!I was there for a wedding and shopped at Farm.Better prices there and they are some of my favorite clothes.
I feel your pain (except for the boob part—maybe I should try Farm Rio!). But yeah—clothes not fitting, tired of the ones that do. But spring is coming, and I’m wearing a lighter-weight pair of pants and sweater that feel new to me.
Yep yep and yep to everything you are feeling! I am like you that I will only order online to places I can return it to due to the sizing and my body shape! I love the colors you picked!
Bless you! I literally went to the Farm Rio site yesterday for the exact same reasons and I was definitely circling that order button… Maybe the fun patterned Wildfang pants I did order will work???
I’ve been on the same ride! Can’t tell you how many things I buy and send back because they are just not good on me or who I am. Two very important thoughts in this post that really hit home: “ Because when I don’t do a change I keep looking for little things to make me feel better.” And “ But at the time I clicked “purchase” I envisioned myself taller, less curvy, and going to some tropical location where I’d swish swish swish around in these skirts.” Thank you for this post!
Wendell Welder says
Omg I love you so much!! Yes!! The boobs that won’t be contained! Dying to travel so ordering flowy dresses…my weak spot is Mille. And yes the xl barely covers an xl human ❤️❤️❤️
Wow! As the comments note we’ve all been there. I love colorful, bright prints but I’m short and can’t pull it off.
Thanks for keeping it real! Loved the post.
Why can’t they make these adorable prints in a flowy top that’s not backless or cropped?!? I would buy them all! Love Farm Rio.
I put this kind of purchase into the aspirational shopping category.
You long for relaxed warm days with high spirits, you order a dress that makes you feel that way.
Your aspiration meets reality.
Ask me why my basement is full of cans of spray paint and materials for projects that I”ve never even started!
Did you read the size guide? I just clicked on one for the dress and they’re showing a size 16 – XL, but looking at the measurements that go with, it’s a trim size 16 with a 40 inch bust and a 32 inch waist. Sizes are different across brands, but I consider a 32 inch waist to be a 14.
I hope your orders include something from Boden. I think their sizing is more in line with general American retailers.
Elaine N says
I was seduced by the same Farm Rio marketing and had the same sad, frustrating experience. They can do better but don’t and now I have to waste resources sending them back. The best part is how they keep sending me emails to let me know I don’t have to take a refund – I can keep shopping on the site with a credit! A credit to spend on more clothes marked XL but which do not actually fit an XL human.
Alison, I just love this post! I think you must be channeling me, except I order shoes! You made me laugh out loud this morning! Thank you!
One of your best posts!! Such a great description of what kind of “thinking” goes into my buying, too. Thanks, as always, Alison, for being so honest. [beautiful dresses, tho]