By Fareeha Qayoom
inter is in the air. For the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking about stocking up on some basics for winter and coming up with some ideas for next spring/summer – yes, I have been planning to clean up my closet and edit, prune and give away a few items…unfortunately, there are not a lot of options in town (replenishments), especially in my size which is a major bummer….
Here’s my wish list…
My current one is perfectly fine, except last winter the two-way zipper went bust (one tab chipped off even though the zipper is still operational-yes, it is YKK)…so, I need to add another one…I also need to come up with an effective way to get the zipper fixed…
There’s only Levi’s – there could be other stores that might stock this item– might have to buy a men’s denim jacket. Again, fit would be an issue. There are no women’s options…at least I didn’t see any…sigh. Still, I am planning to go looking…
Cardigans and your basic black sweater
I might have to get this hand knitted. Again, there are very few smart sweater options in town. Most of them stock chunky man-made fibers or blends…also, HKB used to be a good resource but for the past few years…they have gone really boring on this front too. Also, I prefer stocking up on pure fibers like lamb’s wool, cashmere, angora so on and so forth…they last longer and in spite of pilling still manage to retain their quality, shape and appearance…
Black and White Cotton Lycra button down shirts
Store bought button down shirts don’t fit at my shoulder and armholes (in my size) because a. the stores that import these shirts don’t import them in petite sizes and only stock xs, s, m (sizes 6-12)! b. they are too short because western women don’t go for longer or tunic lengths and unfortunately, they are the targeted market and c. they don’t fit around my waist!
Getting them custom made is another problem because a. you can’t buy the cotton lycra fabric off the rack from your average fabric store (Yes, Pakistan exports this quality but the mills have minimums and will not sell small yardages to individuals or local wholesalers) and b. it’s a tough job locating a pattern maker who actually understands how to cut and fit this basic wardrobe staple if you are shorter than 5 ft. 7 inches (they have only learnt to fit the size block of a much taller woman!) and since our local tunic tops are usually knee length and longer and voluminous, it actually doesn’t matter if the fit is off at the shoulder, armhole, waist and hips – the garment is supposed to be pretty baggy fit anyway…so they can get away with poor fit for even custom made clothes…I have a couple of Gap button down shirts which I am thinking of pinning to my form, and then getting them custom stitched…let’s see I am still looking for a tailor to achieve this feat!
For the past couple of seasons, Next (Store) has become stingy. They have stopped importing their basic scoop neck basic tees (they call it the Essentials!) – I bought about 4 of their basic white long sleeve tees in light weight jersey and around two in their basic pale pink ones this season…but I wasn’t able to buy a single black tee. (Also no other colors were available). My black tees are quite shabby now. I need to replenish them – unfortunately, I am not sure what to do to stock up some more tees. Men’s tees don’t fit well…they are usually boxy. Levi’s doesn’t stock my size nor do they supply any basic women’s tees…furthermore, they only stock slogan tees or fashion tees. There’s this local brand called Now Tees (but again they don’t offer solid plain tees – only slogan tees). Also most of the brands offer this item at PKR 1000 plus…which is kind of steep for a basic wardrobe item…so I am thinking of recycling my old tees by having them re-dyed a different shade and playing with a few trims, laces and notions to jazz them up…
Vests (Your basic waistcoat)
Again, will have to get a few custom made. Can’t find a single source of your basic light weight cotton vest (waistcoat) in town; might have to go to a men’s tailor to get this done. I am looking to get a few variations – denim, canvas, twill, linen and poplin…might even try a few lawn and light weight muslins…
Jackets and blazers
I am still looking for summer and winter weight jackets that you can wear over your basic tees…a jacket gives you an instant professional look no matter what you are wearing underneath even if it’s your basic boot cut, flare, or a skinny jean and a t-shirt …again, a tailor who understands fit is key for this item as well…I am thinking of having some jackets made in light weight cottons, twills, lawns, muslins and even bareeze type fabrics…
I am also thinking of getting some long sleeve and three quarter sleeve tunic tops made.
Western and denim shirts
The only source I know is Levi’s. Again, their local store doesn’t stock any denim or western shirts in my size! I would love to buy a few check ones as well…but no dice so far…
My plan is to first trawl the malls, departmental stores, specialty stores, even international franchise stores – if all else fails, look for a tailor and get these made. I also plan to recycle my old denim clothes by converting them into neat vests, skirts and whatnot…In the meantime, I am also working on learning to sew from books and DIY pattern making from trial and error (actual hands on practice)…God willing, I might get somewhere by end of next year with my wish list with the current resources available in town! 😀
You never know, a retailer might move in my town that actually stocks these items in moderate prices – and yeah, pigs might fly! But knowing things, the retail scene will remain pretty basic even next year and I might end up shopping online – apparently, Gap.com is shipping to Pakistan but you can’t shop for more than $2500…(relax, I am only $50-100 cheapskate so no fear of that!)