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 

Shopping News #1 – The Hall

Too many late nights staying up late blogging is playing havoc with my face. Namely bags. Bags can be a great thing. After all they hold the shopping. But when the ones under your eyes become big enough to hold the shopping themselves, it’s time to blog first thing and get to bed earlier.

In Shopping News today, the Cotton On Group has just launched “The Hall” – a homewards division of their ever expanding empire. I love Cotton On. I love the boys’ skinny jeans at Cotton On Kids. I love the oversize bibs from Cotton On Baby. I love that they launched Cotton On Free, the 9-14 division, just as my oldest son had grown out of all the brands he had previously worn. I LOVE my lounge pants from Cotton On Body (which I picked up recently for $10 in grey leopard print) – seriously divine to wear to bed and around the house (if I wore pants I would wear them out). And as for Typo – love does not even begin describe my feelings for this boutique-ish stationary emporium.

Now they have added homewares to the list, and I am excited. It’s not a massive collection, but if precedent is anything to go by, I am predicting growth. I’ll be waiting around for the 30% off sitewide email (you know with the Cotton On group that it will come) before making my purchases, but for now here are my top picks:

20140619-092234.jpg

The Deluxe Candy Jar. I love the idea of having a jar of gorgeously wrapped sweets permanently on the (yet to be purchased) coffee table of our lounge. I even love the idea of the boys having memories of how good a swiped mint tasted when they were feeling rebellious. Might need to wait until Baby N is a bit older, though.

20140619-092913.jpg
Black arrow cushion. I am going for a fairly monochromatic look in our living room. Black, white, grey, with a touch of copper / rose gold (yes, yes, I also read that copper is sooooo 2013 and it’s all about brass now) but my home ware taste does not update so frequently. This cushion is perfect for my vision, and at $24.95 (or $40 for 2) I’m not going to be precious about it when Baby N mistakes it for food or the big boys turn it into a floating island in one of their imaginary games.

20140619-093459.jpg
Square Rope Clock. I am not a nautical person. But there is something I adore about rope on decor and clothing. Likewise I am not an equine person either, but brown leather straps are fabulous on most things (even if they do make me think “horse”). We currently have no clocks in our lounge and living rooms. I think it’s time. Ha ha.

XOXO Shopping Girl.