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New Year Growing Pains

Carrie Maclennan

Posted on January 06 2016

I originally posted this to my old Carrie Not The Kind of Girl You'd Marry blog on 13th January 2013. I can confirm I have kept this particular resolution. Ok, so I did, at the last minute, haul the denim dress back out of the charity bag and it's still hanging on my clothes rail but part from that, I have TOTALLY kept this particular resolution. 

“You’ll grow into it”, my mum would say with a slightly forced chirpiness as she pressed the jumper she’d just finished making against my back. I could feel her eyeballing the (mis)fit of it, pulling and hauling at the shoulders and underarms while she assessed just how too big it was. “Put it on.  Let me see”. On the jumper would go, over my clothes or jammies or whatever I happened to be wearing at the time. Tugging roughly at the bunched up cuffs and baggy waistband, it seemed a fair amount of growing would need to occur before I’d be wearing my new jumper. Months and months of boring growing, probably. The clothes my mother knit for me usually fit perfectly but, like most little girls (and I suspect, a fair few big girls too), the ones I couldn’t get my hands on right away were the ones I wanted most.

Between 1979 and 1993, I spent a lot of time waiting, impatiently, to ‘grow into’ things. My big sisters’ clothes, mainly – but also boys, certificate 15 movies, earrings, Campari soda and make-up. Gigs, pubs, clubs, swear words, hair dye, Prisoner Cell Block H, LadyShave...

Funnel neck corduroy jackets, rara skirts, seersucker peg leg trousers, crop tops, Pineapple slouch-wear, lace leggings, bras and lycra mini-dresses - all permitted in the dressing up box but never to be worn outdoors. 

It’s funny.  I spent the first fifteen or sixteen years of my life growing into things – and I’ve spent the last fifteen or sixteen growing out of them.  As part of my monster list of 2013 resolutions, I have made a promise to myself.  A promise to stop buying/hoarding items of clothing that are too wee and a promise to let go of the unrealistic expectation that I'll miraculously shrink into them. Believe me when I say there is no worse way to start the day than trapped, arms aloft, in a dress that simply will not budge over boobs and back fat. 

I may not have kickstarted many of my resolutions (I haven’t joined trampolining club, I haven’t bought a flask, I haven’t hung my work planner or created my special post-it note wall. I’ve yet to attend swing dance class, I still say more negative things than positive things during the course of a day and I haven’t sewn cushion covers – or curtains) but I have started work on this. See?


Photo by Garry Maclennan of Carrie and her bingo wings

Bingo! Not seams of dress sleeves cut/ripped to accommodate excess upper arm flab/bingo wing. BIN.


Photo by Garry Maclennan of Carrie in her denim dress

Pop! I looked hot to trot in this… twelve years ago.  BIN.


Squeeze! The time comes in every gal’s life when she must admit the days of the denim hipster hot pant are over, regardless of what size her ass is.  I’ve been squishing myself in for 9 years. I reckon I’ve enjoyed all the good times in these I’m ever gonna.  BIN.


Not only have I vowed to get rid of those items I’m never likely to button up/bend down in again, but that bundle of oversized shirts I planned to synch?  Those skirts I planned to shorten?  Those jumpers I planned to felt then sew into mittens with strings attached to thread through my coat sleeves?  BIN. Bin, bin, bin.

It sounds a bit daft, but it was quite painful to part with some things. I thought about all the nice times I'd spent in them, all the fun places I'd been in them. I thought about my lovely little size 10 arse and the days when noubt but a satin push-up bra would do. I noticed the ways my tastes have shifted over time (and surveyed how bits of my body have shifted with them). As necklines crept up, skirt lengths had dropped down. And there was no ignoring the two pairs of leggings that had sneaked in to my trouser drawer, but I think we're verging into a different kind of story now. 

If noubt else, 2013 will be the year of improved upper arm circulation. Happy new year! 


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