19 February 2012

Sweet & Not-So-Sweet: Fashion in Bangkok

The ladies here are pretty awesome!  There is a great sense of fashion everywhere!  The gals here are just more feminine in general than American women, and I really like it.  There is a sense of formality here that Americans lost somewhere along the way too.  No Thai lady is wearing a t-shirt with shorts and flip flops, at least not at the same time.  But fashion every where is up to date, artistic, cool, and feminine.  There is even some really awesome shopping for super cheap prices at the markets!  When I mean cheap, I mean like $3-15 for most items of clothing, most of it not great quality but every now and then, you can find something half decent.  It's like shopping in F21, you only want the initial fashion for the moment and then move on in the next month or so and you don't mind because it was so cheap.  In my case, I have to be prepared to leave things behind should my pack become too heavy or the weather changes as I go.

The clothes in the marketplace are made for skinny elfin-like people (typical Asian women -- not gargantuan Asian-American women like myself with a fat ass and thighs that is also 5' 10" with a 34" inseam -- as my friend says, I have T-Rex legs with no torso), the clothes are usually one-size-fits-all-elfins so no "big girl" sizes, and you must have under size 8 feet.  Cultural differences, the Thai lady vendors that sell the clothes are not afraid to point out that I'm big(ger), usually with a gesture of their arms and hands coming out wider than the clothing.  They say: "you big".  Me: "I know".

When I'm looking for shoes, the vendors look at my feet and automatically tell me the largest they have is size 38-40.  I'm usually a 42 in women's shoes (why that differs from men's, I'm not sure), so I move on rather quickly... with no shoes.  When a vendor does carry "large" shoes, there's usually a sign posted or it's a selling point for them to mention to me.

When trying on pants or some sort of bottom, I usually don't fit... and while I laugh at myself, they get to laugh at me too, which is fine but I love this constant reminder of me being bigger than them... like when I went to get a Thai foot massage, they hand me a pair of loose pants to wear under my dress so I don't flash everyone and so they don't get my dress dirty.  I put the pants on and the thigh area is... well, conservative in fit but they got the job done.  The look on the masseuses' face as she sees that the pants are "conservative" in fit, she giggles with me because she was a little shocked... and then proceeds to pull on the thigh area of the pants to see if she can roll it up enough to do the massage.

So I'm mostly SOL when it comes to shopping... which is supposed to be a good thing (?).  Thailand is just not ready for all I've got going on.


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