Not going out to formal events because I genuinely can't fit appropriate clothes.

(76 Posts)
FlabbyFFF Sat 09-Nov-13 17:05:10

My DH has just told me I am ruining our social life and while I agree I genuinely cannot find dresses to fit me that are suitable.
I am desperately dieting after having 4 children in quick succession but my shape is alwful and am 3 sizes up from pre -pregnancies . I reckon about size 18 -20 because of stomach and arms need covering .
I have tried shopping so many times and it all ended in tears. It is the black tie, cocktail ball type things that I am so afraid of and it is his work crowd ( I am at home ) .
He doesn't get it at all and won't help shopping wise .

Is it that you can't find anything or just feel to self conscious to wear the dresses that fit you?

SparklyFucker Sat 09-Nov-13 17:07:36

He's an arse. Is he like this about other things in your marriage too? Criticising? Undermining? Ridiculing?

I know it is easy for me to say, but I am sure other people won't notice your size as much as you do.

What do you normally wear?

bimbabirba Sat 09-Nov-13 17:09:19

I was the same as you after 3 kids - previously a 10. I'm now down to a 14 after nearly 2 years and I still refuse to buy expensive or very smart clothes in size 14. I also feel very self conscious and prefer not to go to vey formal dos.
One day we'll get there. Have faith smile

gaggiagirl Sat 09-Nov-13 17:09:56

Bumping for you. I know exactly what your going through. For so many of us finding a dress is difficult no matter what our size.

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Sat 09-Nov-13 17:10:19

You poor thing! Your size is not the problem. Your lack of confidence and crushingly low self-esteem is.

You can look brilliant in the right style of dress, but yes you do need someone who knows about this stuff to come shopping with you and make trying things on fun and enjoyable. I speak as the recently converted overweight girl who has shied away from dressing rooms for years.


-Invest in some really good shapewear to smooth down lumps and bumps. Make sure you're wearing this when you go out shopping for dresses.
-Find something you DO like about your figure. I have pretty huge awesome boobs so I focus on them and go for dresses that draw attention away from my wobbly belly.
- Accessorise! If you feel self-conscious about clothes, go for something simple and flattering, then dress it up with a some gorgeous jewellery, shoes and handbag.
- When feeling low, shop for shoes. My mantra is you can never be too fat for shoes.

Chocotrekkie Sat 09-Nov-13 17:10:45

I am size 22 and have loads of lovely clothes from cocktail dresses to scruffy.

I shop mainly in tesco or asda or Evans (sale) or sometimes sainburys do 22 and new look does plus size in some shops or online.

My total favourite stuff is joe brown from simply be but it's quite expensive.

He sounds lovely btw hmm

ButEmilylovedhim Sat 09-Nov-13 17:12:05

I sympathise. I'm a size 22. I would love to be near a size 18 again but that's by the by. Have you tried online? Simply Be have a lot of posh dresses/outfits that might be just the thing. Sending a hug ((())). It's shit, isn't it?!

Waswondering Sat 09-Nov-13 17:12:17

Book a personal shopper at Debenhams or JL. Before you arrive, get a blow dry so you know your hair is as it might be on the night. If you have nice shoes with height, take them too.

Then enjoy being dressed up!

There will be a beautiful outfit for you out there ....

sleepdodger Sat 09-Nov-13 17:12:53

There re definitely appropriate clothes for you, the issue is you don't eel comfortable in them because its not the pre sized you... So...
Focus in the good- is there a part of you you like?
Grooming grooming grooming
Good blow dry, shellac nails, get someone (make up counter, good friend) to do your make up
Light dusting - I mean light- of fake tan, as everyone looks better with a hint if colour (sorry I've made assumption you're white, that might be incorrect)
Then, scaffold up so good well fitting bra- bravissimo etc
Pant which are comfy with support tights- more comfy and flattering than support undies
Shoes which you can walk in but perhaps More glam
Then a dress which fits but feminine so something like knee length black lace with lace arms etc- coverage, but not over showing!
Go fitted not floaty
And finally, lipstick and smile
You will look Great and soon will be a size you're happy with
Have fun and think about having a light off with dh rather than being out with work mate etc
Will look for frocks and post link later

SkinnybitchWannabe Sat 09-Nov-13 17:13:22

Could you get some hold in undies? Ive seen some amazing results when friends and fellow mums wear them.
Have you got a family member or friend you could take with you shopping? If not Im sure a nice sales person would happily help you. I know I would!
Being at home with 4 dc means you probably dont get alot of time to yourself..can you get the afternoon of the party child free so you could get your hair and make up done?
You sound like your stuck in a rut and need a glam night out.
I feel exactly the same, Ive lost 4st but still have heaps to lose (I wish I was a 18/20 grin ) and have a eorks party coming up..havent a clue what to wear.

bakingaddict Sat 09-Nov-13 17:14:40

I'm that size I find Monsoon good for cocktail and fancy occasion dresses. I tend to either buy dresses with a 3/4 sleeve or buy a sparkly bolero type shrug to hide the batwings. Nothing much you can do about the stomach when you are this size just buy something that skims over the belly rather than being tight across it is my tip. I'm quite tall 5''9 with slim legs for my size and this helps me quite a bit

gaggiagirl Sat 09-Nov-13 17:14:45

I agree with over there are probably plenty of dresses you would look great in. Its the anxiety and dread and feeling crap that is holding you back.

Caitlin17 Sat 09-Nov-13 17:16:07

Could you insist he pays for a dressmaker to make you something suitable if it's so important to him?

Although to be honest I'm not sure why it should be so difficult to find off the peg black tie dresses for an 18-20. The attendees come in all shapes and sizes.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 09-Nov-13 17:17:17

OP you need Spanx and a sleeved dress. That's it. It's not difficult. But I, like Over am wondering if it is really that you can't find a frock or if you are using this as an excuse not to go out.sad

gaggiagirl Sat 09-Nov-13 17:19:58

Ooops cross post with many others.

LIZS Sat 09-Nov-13 17:19:58

Don't assume you need to wear skimpy for that sort of occasion . Layer up a dress with a sheer blouse over the top or sparky wrap if you don't want to feel too exposed. Choose something with detail to detract attention away from your least comfortable parts and invest in accessories. Take a good friend along or book a personal shopper.

TigerFeet Sat 09-Nov-13 17:20:22

We could probably help you find a dress but I think your problem runs deeper than that tbh. Do you only ever go to black tie dos? What would you wear to, for eg, a meal out? How is your self esteem generally? Sounds on the floor to me. Is your dh usually so blunt?

Plenty of people your size and bigger scrub up well, I'm bigger than you and despite not being drop dead fabulous I can make myself look presentable.

Sorry for the list of questions but you sound really miserable and like you're reaching out for help about more than just finding a frock.

Moxiegirl Sat 09-Nov-13 17:20:29

Simply be and yours clothing do some nice larger going out stuff. I'm a size 22/24 and although I want to be slimmer I manage to socialise!

Moxiegirl Sat 09-Nov-13 17:21:10

Your dh needs to be more supportive angry

Caitlin17 Sat 09-Nov-13 17:24:55

If this is within budget these are what Nigella wears. They go to 18.

Good foundation wear (aka a proper corset as worn by all women in 50s) works wonders.

Caitlin17 Sat 09-Nov-13 17:26:21

Sorry meant as in the decade the 50s

missmargot Sat 09-Nov-13 17:28:16

My suggestion would be to stop going shopping and start ordering online, or at least buying in store but bringing things home to try. I have put on weight over the years and am currently seven months pregnant trying to dress for some black tie events. Hot, crowded shop changing rooms with unflattering lighting do not help my self esteem. I find that bringing things home and trying them on with proper lighting and my own mirror make a huge difference.

Strapless styles suit me best but I don't like my upper arms so have a few little shrugs to cover up the bits I don't think. Use jewellery to draw the eye away from the areas you don't like and don't forget some decent Spanx or similar supportive underwear.

Greenfircone Sat 09-Nov-13 17:28:18

Order stuff on his credit card from a catalogue them you don't have to traipse around shops getting depressed. You can try it all on at home and send back what you don't want.

I'm sure you'll find something. I've seen many glamorous women in your size.

SofaKing Sat 09-Nov-13 17:29:04

I feel your pain. DH invited me to a magazine party full of movers and shakers when I had been out of hospital for a month and was on steroids which made me balloon. I was a size 20 and felt very worried about it and struggled to find anything to wear.

I eventually got a beautiful dress from Roman Originals and did go and feel good, many of the movers and shakers were actually aspiring movers and therefore much less threatening.

I think your DH saying you are ruining both of your social lives is cruel and unnecessary though, I think you have to tell him how hurtful and unhelpful he is being.

ICameOnTheJitney Sat 09-Nov-13 17:29:44

OP that link from Caitlin is full of lovely things...

timidviper Sat 09-Nov-13 17:39:26

This is more about how you feel than how you look.

Try a session with a personal shopper (I have done this at Debenhams and it is worthwhile) Even if you don't buy from them it will help you see what suits you.

I remember us being invited to a 'do' when our DCs were young and I was very conscious that I was in a size 20 and much larger than the other women there. I found an outfit I loved and felt nice in (if I recall it was a black skirt and a cream lacy fitted top) and blingy jewellery to match.
Your DH needs to be more supportive. Mine told me that evening that I was the most beautiful woman there blush

FlabbyFFF Sat 09-Nov-13 17:42:12

Ladies you are right, It's more than a dress it's the of being fat ,old and mumsy too .We are also living abroad for his work and shopping for plus sizes is more than a bit limited.
I should have stocked up when in the UK in summer but thought I would be back in my old stuff by now

It's a first from my DH he generally says nothing like it . I feel quite bad for him as he married a size 12 with tons of clothes and confidence .
I look shit in the daytime too and always wear things that are really big everywhere else just to hide my tummy.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 09-Nov-13 17:45:21

He didn't marry a "size 12" OP. He married you and sounds as though he would love to go out with you, regardless of your size.

maryannmarie Sat 09-Nov-13 17:48:41

OP, don't feel bad for your husband. I doubt you'd be giving him a hard time if it was him who'd been through 4 pregnancies.

You could google some fatshion blogs for ideas. They're great.

redexpat Sat 09-Nov-13 17:55:41

Well a lot of internet stores do overseas delivery for not very much - and returns are usually free, or just the price of postage.

Are there not dress makers where you are? Not being able to find stuff I like in my size is one of the reasons I've taken up sewing.

A top tip from the house of colour is to buy clothes in the size that you are. Not the size you were, not the size you want to be, but what actually fits. Although totally understand that you get flustered and depressed when trying on lots of things and finding nothing. Is there anyone there you could take with you?

Strumpetron Sat 09-Nov-13 17:58:45

Oh your name makes me so sad sad it's obvious you're lacking confidence and your DH is being a nob and not helping at all.

Some of the other posters have given really good advice, you can be a larger woman and dress nicely so don't give up. It's not all about clothes either, having your hair done and nice makeup on can make you feel better too.

And regardless of all that, you're still a person and deserve to be happy.

TSSDNCOP Sat 09-Nov-13 18:00:37

Where are you in the world OP. Typically there's a MNer everywhere that can help.

Come on, lets see if we can't sort you out with some nice basics.

FlabbyFFF Sat 09-Nov-13 18:10:05

Thanks for all your suggestions . I think I need to plan ahead and get a few options before the short notice invitations appear .
shopping for myself does fill me with absolute dread I always steer into the kids department.

Coupon Sat 09-Nov-13 18:14:36

Sounds like you need a couple of really fantastic dresses that you can jazz up with accessories. I'm sure the gurus in the "Style and Beauty" section here would be helpful?

Some of the online stores do international delivery, e.g.

Dress from Yours with international delivery option

Maxi Dress from Asda with international delivery option

Blue dress from Asda, with international delivery

Strumpetron Sat 09-Nov-13 18:33:53

Tis a shame you're not around my parts (area, not my bits wink ) I'd come shopping with you! Sometimes a shopping partner is all the help you need.

OP i went shopping for an awards ceremony dress last week and I cried my heart out in the dressing room because it's the first time I'd seen myself in a full length mirror, from all angles, naked, since I've piled weight on. I couldn't recognise my body. As soon as that happened, it shattered my confidence and not one dress I tried on looked nice on me (or so I thought)

I plumped for one and got loads of compliments on the night which raised my ego quite a lot!

I think you'd benefit from someone shopping with you, they'd be able to tell you what looks nice instead of you automatically writing it off because you think you look bad when secretly I bet you look lovely

Phineyj Sat 09-Nov-13 18:44:21

You might like these:

(sorry, I can't work out how to link to the Spirito 'occasion' dresses as a category).

Your DH is not very nice though! 4 DC, presumably whom you have to take shopping with you - as if shopping for formalwear wasn't stressful enough! Do you actually enjoy the black tie events, by the way?

Phineyj Sat 09-Nov-13 18:48:18

Their website says they can deliver to Europe in about a week and elsewhere by arrangement. I have found their stuff super flattering in the past, especially the ruched jersey dresses.

happyyonisleepyyoni Sat 09-Nov-13 18:51:23

You are not that big, honestly. What shops are you trying? The problem may be that you are still looking at styles that would suit your pre baby shape, but you need a complete change of style to suit your current shape. I would definitely look for styles which flatter your cleavage and can be worn with a bolero or wrap. Second the recommendation of a personal shopper .
Make sure your hair, nails and underwear (bravissimo) are the best they can be.

FlabbyFFF Sat 09-Nov-13 18:55:49

Not at all Phineyj 1) I either get really drunk to cover my anxiety
2) leave asap without DH because I am anxious and ashamed of my size.

I always try to sit down ASAP and never dance because I am wearing something maternity /uncomfortable / hideous I don't want to be seen in.

lljkk Sat 09-Nov-13 18:58:50

OP has 4 children but energy & time & money & opportunity to attend "formal" events.
(Mind boggles)

RandomMess Sat 09-Nov-13 19:01:46

Can you get anyone to look after the dc so you and dh could go shopping together, or a friend who will help you spend the time you need to really try and stuff and find what makes the best of your current shape & size.

I'm not "large" but am a few sizes larger than pre-children and never had waist even then and now it's just a wobbly mass and if I don't wear a push up bra than my tummy sticks out more than my boobs! Anyway I despise my body and upsets me and I never feel good anymore. However I have learnt to dress my current shape and know it's me who has the issue IYSWIM.

Phineyj Sat 09-Nov-13 19:02:51

Oh no I am sorry to hear that! I would hate to have to spend money and not even enjoy it sad sad

Calloh Sat 09-Nov-13 19:14:43

Right. You can do this! Absolutely!

First of all you are still you - definitely. You've had children but everything that your DH loved about you is still there. Probably very personal but when I'm feeling shit about the way I look I need more sex. I don't know I need it but that makes me feel massively better - that might be worth a try to make you feel more gorgeous.

Secondly can you order things to a friends house and have them send it out if they don't deliver to your country? I know customs can be a total pain with these things but it might be worth a try?

Caitlin's link is amazing.

Your body has given you four children and allows you to do everything you want to do - it's a fabulous body. And while you might decide you want to lose weight and consider it a work in progress you should still love yourself.

I really hope you find te killer dress

Szeli Sat 09-Nov-13 19:15:25
Donkeyok Sat 09-Nov-13 19:15:36

Do try to go.

Some lovely things on Caitlins link especially in the sale.

Some red lippy, groomed hair will give you both the confidence to do something together - more adult

Don't have more than 2 alcoholic drinks.
Enjoy shopping for new things and beauty treatments.

You sound like you need to invest more time as a couple
I think its great that he wants you by his side

Goatmint Sat 09-Nov-13 19:19:08

OP are you booby?

If so, take a look at Pepperberry because their clothes are cut and sized for boobs. I am normally an 18 but am a 16 or even sometimes a 14 in their sizes, and the clothes fit me better across the back etc.

They do have dresses that flatter the tum, and by dressing for your boobs it diminishes tum as well.

Calloh Sat 09-Nov-13 19:20:52

Curvety also have good things. I felt like this (and have still not lost the weight) but I bought myself some second hand Joe Brown's clothes and other things from eBay, scrapped jeans entirely - they never fitted in every place, and bought some great bras.

Even though I am still working on getting back to how I want to look I at least feel prettier and better-dressed then before.

Go FFF (I can't say flabby - you shouldn't think of yourself like that!)

Mylovelyboy Sat 09-Nov-13 19:31:29

I dont agree with ordering stuff on line. You will be spending your life sending stuff back. And i think that can be with all sizes unless you use one particular shop and know whats right for you. Spanx is excellent. Also dont do strapless or thin straps. Cover arms and no low necks. I think covering up more is much more classy. And im sure you are that. Personal shopper at Debenhams/House of Fraser or even M&S. I think you may have lost your confidence because of dh. Feel for you I really do. When you do go shopping make sure your hair and make up are done. Makes you feel better. Wishing you all the very best. Im sure you are beautiful as you are . Take no notice of him smile

PasswordProtected Sat 09-Nov-13 20:01:19

Don't buy, hire!
Think 3/4 length sleeved top & wide pleated trousers in crepe or similar.

bimbabirba Sat 09-Nov-13 20:04:49

Boden ship everywhere and they go up to large sizes

hamdangle Sat 09-Nov-13 20:46:43

I absolutely swear by the pretty dress company. Their dresses are made of this really stiff stretch material that hold everything in and makes you look and feel like a million dollars. They look like they might be unforgiving but they seem to mask everything especially if you get one of the floral ones

I swear that they are worth every single penny!

Caitlin17 Sat 09-Nov-13 20:56:15

hamdangle very nice, I hadn't heard of them.

OMG I am sorry if this has already been said but I don't think the problem here is your dress size, it's your DH. If he loved and complimented you you'd feel more confident for a start.

I am a 22, my DH married me at a 16. He often tells me I look nice (he's Mr Descriptive, what can I say) even when I feel shite. Any negativity has me spiralling for the biccies.

Now, lots of places ship and ebay could be your friend as could a local seamstress. Get ordering! So long as he is paying.

To be helpful, these dresses are amazing:

I cannot normal wear dresses as I look awful in them but I have 4 of these little puppies. Bang on some heels and bling and bingo off you go - comfy, flattering and sassy.

VikingLady Sat 09-Nov-13 23:02:57

What exactly has his body gone through in giving you 4 children? Exactly. He's not really entitles to express a negative opinion. And a 14 isn't big - it's less than the UK average! Are you somewhere full of very thin people? I had a friend move the Malaysia for a year and she said it was incredibly depressing to go into shop after shop and find they stocked nothing over a 10.....

Practically, empire line (seam under the bust). It skims the tummy and you can't tell if there is an overhang. Patterns or beading/lace help disguise any underwear/shapewear lines.

Good luck grin

VikingLady Sat 09-Nov-13 23:05:49

Sorry - mis-read, 18 not 14. Still only the average though.

I am WAY bigger than you OP and I can find clothes - try Holy Clothing here- they ship from India even though they're a US company so delivery to Europe tends to be pretty fast, and their things are all cotton so if you're somewhere warm they would be ideal.
Try palazzo pants instead of skirts or dresses too - I find them much nicer and more comfy to wear, especially when it is warm my fat legs chafe in skirts sad I got several pairs from eBay this summer, including a pair of posh Evans "Praslin" ones and they were much cheaper than in the shops and again, mail order so no faffing about trailing round the shops and searching for things grin
I love online shopping grin

Charlesroi Sat 09-Nov-13 23:13:33

If you've got the money go somewhere that does personal shoppers. They'll find you an outfit or two you'll look fab in.

duckyfuzz Sat 09-Nov-13 23:22:58

House of Fraser have some fab stuff in at the mo, like this

manicinsomniac Sat 09-Nov-13 23:38:38

I can understand how you feel. It isn't necessarily about your size though. As others have said it's a confidence thing. I've stayed in and missed through feeling fat while actually being very underweight in the past - actually weight and size was irrelevant, it was the feeling. Not feeling comfortable in your own skin is a horrible feeling and I really sympathise.

I also sympathise with your husband though. If you don't get those crushing feelings of self consciousness and loathing about what you look like in certain clothing it's hard to empathise with those who do. And it's gutting to miss out on a social event you are looking forward to (as someone who has never been in a relationship I'd say he could go alone but understand most couples prefer to go to places together). I can easily imagine accusing someone else of 'ruining my social life' in the heat of the moment.

Have you spoken to him about how you feel?

DifferenceEngine Sat 09-Nov-13 23:48:23

Your problem is absolutely NOT your dress size.

I am a skinny runt, and frankly as far as evening wear is concerned I think the bigger sizes win hands down. You lot seem to have proper boobs and bum to put in a dress where as I just seem to look like a pipe cleaner person. ( hate my boobless pigeon chest)

I feel so .... Well, ..... Insignificant next to a well turned out curvy woman

It seems that ther is a confidence issue, partly in your head and partly dependent on finding something that suits. but trust me.

Once you find that outfit, you will ROCK! And I think the wise mnetters will sort the outfit out for you.

Another thing I just randomly thought of grin (and have no idea if anyone else has already said it) - could you invest in some really good underwear? Like Rigby and Peller or somewhere - get it fitted (or ask here on MN for the "Bra Intervention Ladies" to do their thing) and get some really good "support pants" or whatever they're called. Not because there is anything at ALL wrong with how you look, but because with the right underwear for a dress/outfit, it will look even better and you can have confidence in your appearance. Like others have said, when you know you look good, and you feel good, you will look amazing - confidence shows through, and if you are comfortable, and just know you look good, it will carry you through and you will be fine.

How are you, OP - overwhelmed?!

Flossyfloof Sun 10-Nov-13 13:06:58

Ooh Pombear, that is a nice site! Flabs, I can just see you in some of those things. Proper undies first though and I think maybe you should change your username.

Financeprincess Sun 10-Nov-13 14:26:20

Sorry to hear that your confidence is low, OP. 18-20 is really not that big. You can look gorgeous if you follow some of the other posters' suggestions. Try not to be too hard on your DH; he probably wishes that you and he could go out together more and thinks that you look just fine! Your post didn't suggest that he'd said that your size was ruining your social life, rather that he was sad that you didn't want to go to any formal parties.

And, like Difference Engine, I can only dream of having a knockout cleavage that would look gorgeous in an evening dress. Make the most of yours!!

pointyfangs Sun 10-Nov-13 15:29:48

I really love that site, Pom - I just wish they're do lengths up to 60" so that us tall and curvy people can benefit too. This is the problem I nearly always have, people assume that if you're tall (I'm 5'11'') you must therefore not be big. Very annoying as I love proper maxi dresses and find them very hard to come by. Long Tall Sally just doesn't do the sort of styles and fabrics I like.

OP, this is really about your confidence - 18/20 isn't that big at all, head out online and you will find something fabulous.

KnitFastDieWarm Sun 10-Nov-13 15:56:35

I also think this goes deeper than just one dress. it's about the cognitive dissonance we feel when we lose or gain weight.
i could stand to lose a few stone (and am in the process of doing so) and I know the feeling of trying to reconcile the smaller size you remember being with the bigger size you see in the mirror!
the thing to bear in mind is 'how can I look the best I can NOW?' if you want to, you'll lose the weight - but don't wait until then to look the best you can. I say to myself 'no, I'm not as slim as I used to be, but you know what? I'm going to be the hottest, most glam, most interesting woman of my size at this party!'
if you want to lose the weight, you will. until then, lippy on, nails done, hair blow dried, and tits out ;-p

Weegiemum Sun 10-Nov-13 16:12:48

I'm larger than you,OP, and recently found SimplyBe, it's great. Marisota too.

I need to wear maxi as I've got an illness which has scarred my legs badly and I get swollen ankles, and I've no sense of balance so heels are right out.

My brother recently got married and I wore This dress - lovely, I've never felt quite so glam!

Weegiemum Sun 10-Nov-13 16:14:39

Except mine was red!

ZillionChocolate Sun 10-Nov-13 19:49:51

Asos curve might also be worth a look.

In the UK, I'll order 10+ dresses online expecting to return 8-9. Just find somewhere with reasonable postage/returns to your country.

FlabbyFFF Mon 11-Nov-13 12:47:16

Girls you have given me great advice and opened my eyes to online outlets I never knew existed.
We are in Azerbaijan (crap expat posting) and unfortunately postage is limited.
I think I am going to try the tailors with a few styles lifted off the web.
But thank you lots for making me feel better . I have not shopped plus sized before so you have really really helped.

newfavouritething Mon 11-Nov-13 13:11:11

Sorry, posting in a hurry so not had time to read the replies, but have you tried Monsoon dresses on ebay? I'm 20/22 and buy a few to try, wear one then re-sell. So far have broken even so 'new' dresses for events for no money.

EldritchCleavage Mon 11-Nov-13 14:08:46

Tell your DH to stop whingeing and be supportive. He can stump up a good budget for a dress maker, personal trainer or anything else you feel would help you, refrain from being unkind and make sure he doesn't just leave you alone to be miserable when you do go out.

Try Marina Rinaldi online for ideas for clothes, they're a great make.

I've been to Baku - it's not great for shopping and is full of beautiful rich skinny people! There was however, a dressmaker or two to be found ...

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