Life

Retail Therapy

I went shopping tonight.

For those that know me, I’m sure you’re bracing yourselves for an onslaught of bitter vitriol about the evils of shopping.

But I’m going to surprise you – I actually enjoyed myself.

I’ve always wondered if I was missing a critical female gene – I don’t enjoy shopping. I’ve read so many women who write about the challenge of finding that perfect top to go with those hard-to-match pants. Or the hunt for the shoes that make just the right statement.

And I was envious. I’ve never understood their enthusiasm. Actually, I’ve (politely) snickered behind my hand about their enthusiasm.

How can they enjoy something so frustrating?” I’ve thought to myself.

Because shopping, for me, is TERRIBLY frustrating, for a variety of reasons, really.

1. I’m an Amazon woman. It’s incredibly hard to find tops that are long enough for me (I can’t tell you how many shirts I’ve given away because they’ve shrunk to the point where all I have to do is raise my arm to reach for a glass and suddenly, my entire [wrinkly] midriff is on display for everyone to criticize), it’s even harder to find pants that are long enough.

2. I have very simple taste. I’m not into big flowers, or leopard spots, or funky colors or graphics – I like simple, pretty colors in flattering styles. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to find something like that, but trust me, IT IS.

3. Clothes, and I’m talking good QUALITY clothes, are freaking expensive. (No offense Old Navy, I like your stuff, but the material, and sometimes even the cut, looks and feels cheap). I’m just too cheap to fork over the money necessary to own a quality wardrobe. I’m glad I’m careful with our money, but sometimes, I wish I could just let go and buy what I NEED so I can stop looking like a homeless person.

Seriously.

4. I am unwilling to take the time to actually visit the stores, look around at the selections and then try clothes on. I can think of 50 things I would RATHER do than shop for clothes. And that includes mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms.

I just hate to shop. I always have. I don’t mind shopping for my boys or for Kevin, but me?

Forget about it.

But there are times, like now, that I am forced to take a hard, honest look at my wardrobe and have to make changes. In case you don’t know, I’m applying for jobs. And I’ve already been on a few interviews. For office jobs. And office jobs require office clothes. That I currently don’t have. But need to buy.

So I took advantage of the fact that the boys went to their cousin’s house, Kevin went to band practice and I was left alone, at home, fretting about my crappy wardrobe and went shopping; I grabbed that bull by the horns and I held on for dear life.

I took a deep breath, I gritted my teeth until my jaw ached, and I went to the mall.

On a Friday night.

With permission to spend a little money from the boss man.

God help me.

I did what I always did – I sort of swept through the stores. I glanced over the selections, made a few choice criticisms (okay, I totally made fun of some of the styles), and didn’t see one cotton-picking thing that I even remotely liked. They did have a lot of clearance items on sale, and I DID look through the selections, but I’ll be honest, clearance clothes take even more time and patience and I don’t have any to begin with. I simply can’t summon the energy to take clearance clothes seriously.

Which is really stupid, I know, considering how cheap I am.

I walked through Dillards, picked up a pair of gray slacks, thought they were cool looking, and then checked the price.

http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/48891312325406720

Oh HELL to the no! For a pair of SLACKS?!?

I promptly left Dillards and went to JCPenney – and had absolutely NO luck there.

At all.

Discouraged beyond belief, I started back to my car. I simply couldn’t summon the motivation to continue. I just wanted to go back home, change into some comfy sweats and bury my misery in a carton of ice cream.

I was heading back through Dillards and to my car, when I saw a section of slacks that looked promising. I cautiously inched forward and with one eye open, took a look at the price tag.

http://twitter.com/#!/writefromkaren/status/48903173859049472

(Yes. I totally tweeted my shopping trip because YOU ALL are my friends. As pathetic as that sounds, I know).

Okay. I liked the slacks. The price was right. Now it was time to do the deed – try the suckers on.

I grabbed my size and one size larger. Come on gals, you know how it is. Sizes are not consistent. (Which is another reason I hate to shop, actually). And I grabbed some khaki slacks with a side zipper (by the way, slacks with side zippers make you look skinnier – did you know that? You’re welcome), a pair of navy slacks and some really cool, sort of pin-stripped (but not, they’re kind of textured, they’re hard to explain) black slacks.

I went to the dressing room.

Two of the slacks I had to buy the larger size. I could fit into my size, but it was pretty snug and well, it just looked … wrong. The third pair fit nicely in my size.

I was ecstatic! They looked good and were of a stretchy material, so I knew they would be comfortable to wear all day.

I looked around for quite a while at their tops, and saw quite a few I liked, but they were too expensive to be taken seriously. I did end up trying on one, taking a large, and an extra-large into the fitting room with me, but the large looked too … big, so I bit the bullet and tried on a medium – it fit perfectly.

Now I’m wondering if I’m buying my clothes too big. I have some family members who wear tight clothing. In fact, I’d daresay they wear sizes too small for them. They don’t look bad, just … uncomfortable. But since these clothes fit them snugly, they also look pretty skinny. I’m wondering if part of the reason I always look LARGE is because I’m wearing LARGE clothes. Maybe if I concentrate on wearing clothes that actual fit, I’d also look skinniner. I know that doesn’t make sense, but when I read back on this some day, it’ll make perfect sense to me.

Anyway, I ended up buying the three pairs of slacks and the one top. That’s the most I’ve spent on clothes, for myself, in two years. No joke. But price aside, I have to be honest – it was FUN to actually find some clothes that fit me and that I actually liked. I left the store feeling like I actually accomplished something and I’m looking forward to going back to Dillards (when the shock of spending that much money wears off) and trying to find some more clothes that I can mix and match.

I’ve left the tags on everything. I bought these office clothes assuming that I would either get this job I’ve applied for, or another office job. I know I’m jumping the gun a bit, but I like to be prepared. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll take everything back.

But I hope everything works out because I really want to wear those slacks now. 😀

I think I can FINALLY understand what people are talking about when they talk about the whole shopping experience. It’s fun when everything falls into place. It’s just a shame it doesn’t fall into place very often.