"When I was 10 I used cocaine and smoked weed," says Zeca. "I used to snort a lot of cocaine. And one day there was no coke for me to snort so I went on to the streets and started smoking crack." Immediately he discovered how violent life on Brazil's streets can be. "I had a knife, a gun, all these sorts of things, to defend myself," he says. "I could only sleep in the morning because during the night I had to stay awake. There were many dangers, someone could come and kill me." NGOs working in the city reckon there are as many as 3,500 people under 25 living on Salvador's streets still. And among them is a friendly, intelligent and curious young man I met one day in a square down by the city's docks - Joao Vitor. Joao Vitor is 20, black and very much at ease with his life on the streets. He's thrilled to talk and clears some space on the foam mattress he sleeps on for me to sit down and join him. He grew up, he says, being looked after by his grandmother and, from the age of eight, he helped her cook and sell acaraje, deep-fried dumplings that are a classic Salvador street food. But when he was 14, she fell ill and had to move back to the countryside and Joao Vito ended up on the streets.
Seriously, forget about it. The age-old solution, of course, is to invest in tailoring. In fact, I spent over $500 on alterations last year. Scary, I know! Because everything needs to but cut, sliced and hemmed to fit at all. However, recently I have found that Ive gravitated to Petites sections just to cut down on all of the messiness. (Who has that much time and money to spend at the tailor?!) Anthropologie has a pretty satisfying Petites department (especially for dresses), while Banana Republic Petites has saved me many times (their skirts rule!). So when Express announced its new launch of Petites this season, I was eager to try it out. After all, the headline on the landing page guarantees perfect proportions to fit and flatter your 54 and under frame. Could that really be true? So I ordered a handful of pieces - right now the collection only available online , but with the free shipping discounts often available, that didnt deter me - and guess what?
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