Cursed

I am cursed. I actually have a shopping curse. It is 5 weeks until First Born’s barmitzvah and I have all the shopping to do. All the shopping. Let’s just enjoy that sentence and concept for a moment. 

Except that I can’t enjoy all the shopping because whatever I try to buy, I find the complete opposite. I have undertaken a world-wide hunt to find the most fabulous dress. And so far, I have not found one. What I have found is some incredible gowns. Gowns that would only really be appropriate for First Born’s wedding. It seems a bit premature to invest in one now. 

I am also going to be extraordinarily well dressed this summer because I have come across a multitude of fantastic summer day dresses. By the time I’d gone through all the dresses on The Outnet, I’d found nothing suitable as MOBB (mother of barmitzvah boy), and everything suitable as MOG (mother of groom), plus I had three more dresses in my shopping basket that would perfect for EDM (every day mother). But not for MOBB. 

Gown options for First Born’s wedding (in approximately 15 years time):


Every day dresses within my budget that I DON’T need that I came across while MOBB dress hunting:




I also had 5 dresses on my wish list which were perfect as MOBB but clocking in at over $2000, I am financially disabled from procurement. However as all good shoppers know, it’s always worth having them in your wish list because you NEVER know when you’ll receive that email from your favourite store to notify you that an item from your wish list is 75% off (a girl can dream). 

Expensive dresses that I cannot buy



Me trying on expensive Stella McCartney dress that I cannot afford:




Last Sunday, I took First Born shopping. He needs a suit, 2 shirts, pants, shoes and possibly a tie. And socks too, apparently. We discovered that somehow he only owns sports socks and school socks.

We went into Oxford. He tried on a suit. I came across some fantastic toe-less booties. I took him into Witchery Man, but not before I spied a fabulous resort dress (you know for all my resort hanging) on the women’s side. I took him into Zara Man…..where we did find a shirt but not before I’d mentally clocked two tops and a dress to follow up on later. We went back to Oxford to buy the suit. We came home with booties (in my defence they were practically free*). 

I went onto Alex and Alexa to find some special clothes for the other boys to wear to the barmitzvah. It is a kids’ website. I came across this:


My initials (Marc Jacobs had me in mind).  In my size. It turns out the 8 in year old in me is alive and well and still likes things with her name on them.

I even managed to buy shoes when I went to buy not-Baby N shoes (I can’t keep track of what he’s supposed to be called). I went into my favourite kids’ shoe shop in Sydney hoping to find not-Baby N barmitzvah worthy kicks and instead I found me fab new cracked black leather Ugg boots. Size 39. Last pair left so down to $50. 

But I can’t wear Ugg Boots to First Born’s barmitzvah, and so the saga continues……

* they were $50

XOXO Shopping Girl

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The Black Hole

First Born is growing. Like a fertilised weed. A very well fertilised weed. Working Boy and I cannot help but notice that every few weeks he has crept a few millimetres closer to that moment where he will be taller than his mother. It could be months away, it could be weeks away, it could be days away, but the moment is coming. They say a watched pot never boils but when your child starts encroaching on your superior height, you can practically see your power slipping away before your eyes. 

With such obvious growth, it somehow still always takes me by surprise when his clothes don’t fit from one year to the next. Or sometimes from one month to the next. As the weather cooled over the last school holidays, it became painfully obvious that First Born needed some new tops. And jumpers. And shirts. And pants. Even undies (Sorry First Born. There was a reason I never told you about my blog). 

First Born’s feet are now a 40. He is a size 16 in clothes. Let me tell you something about these sizes. They are literally the black hole of clothing. They do not exist. Most of the kids shoes finish around a 36. The men’s shoes start at a 41. I am not joking. We have had a good few years now of floating around blindly in shoe no man’s land. Cooking Child is just entering this unenviable phase, as First Born will finally make his entree into men’s shoes. Last year an excellent friend in the same predicament tipped me off that Windsor Smith has some styles starting in a 39. There’s a reason that these days my kids ONLY wear sneakers outside of school and it’s not their sporting prowess. Sneakers seem to be the only shoe form that bridges the gap. Until we emerge firmly in men’s shoes, my kids will live in Nikes. There are worse predicaments in life. 

As for the clothes, some of the brands have TRIED to target the situation, and for a while the gap was bridged – there’s FREE by Cotton On (for 9-14s), Seed Teen, and Pavement. These are my first points of call. But this season…..nothing. There are just so many boringly plain things, or stupidly sloganed. And only Pavement goes to a 16 which means that First Born has grown out of teen sizes but is still not quite ready for men’s.

I have ransacked DJs, where I can generally dress my entire family with ease……nothing fits the bill. Or the boy. I am not stingy when it comes to First Born’s clothing. There are 3 smaller bodies waiting to wear it, so I am more than happy to pay more for something that will last. But I can’t pay for something which does not exist.

I have been to Country Road and the gap between where the boys clothes finish and then Men’s clothes begin is Grand Canyon-esque. 

See that space in between man and child? That space is where all the clothes I need for First Born are hiding. Somewhere between child……and man. I can just see their teen range when it finally emerges (and I’m sure it will)…..County Road: Manchild

So what do I do and where do I go? How do I fill the black hole of shopping?

First, Zara. They opened their kids’ section in WBJ with so little fanfare that even I only realised it was there about 3 months after it opened. Shocking confession, I know. Last year, First Born wanted a white shirt. They had a size 14 shirt which was plain white enough to keep Working Boy happy, with a small twist to keep me happy. Their 13-14 is generously sized so this will keep Cooking Child clothed for a while, at least, though First Born is still in the wasteland. 

I went to Myer. I don’t love shopping at Myer, but their teen boys’ section is reasonably well stocked. I’ve had luck with Mossimo (ha! My autocorrect turned Mossimo into Missoni – who knew the phone had the complexity to make Freudian slips?) and Bauhaus, one of Myer’s in house brands. 

I’ve been trying the smallest size of menswear with mixed results. XXS t-shirt from TopMan? Success. Size 28 chinos from Cotton On? Success. I have bought t-shirts and shirts from Cotton On in size S which First Born tries on and says “It’s a dress”. Interestingly there appear to be size XS and XXS but these options are always blocked out online. I’m not sure if this is because they are not available or whether the more experienced gap mothers snap up all the XXS and XS the second they become available. I’m sure by the time Master T reaches “the gap” I’ll have worked it out. 

The other problem, apart from actual size, with trying to bridge “the gap” by shopping small sizes of menswear is that the styles are often too adult for a twelve year old. And the prices are also too adult (this is why Cotton On’s regular 30% off deals come in handy). 

Speaking of gaps, it occurs to be that one place I have not searched to fill the gap, is, in fact, The GAP. Wouldn’t it be ironic if The GAP actually filled the gap? 

In the meantime, the gap is alive and well, and living in my house. I’m open to suggestions.

XOXO Shopping Girl