Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shopping Woes

I don't shop.

Oh, I do go to stores and pick up things now and then, but I'm not one of those gals that likes to stroll through the mall, dazzled by the latest designs nor do I exclaim every couple of minutes, "Oh! How cuuuuuute is that?!" or "*gasp* Look at that jacket. Isn't that adorable?!"

Don't get me wrong. I use to enjoy that sort of thing, but then things stopped fitting me right and a fitting room began to feel more like a torture chamber with mirrors so I could watch the horror unfold for myself. Now when I have to buy clothes I buy them with a few rules/criteria in mind.

Number one: Comfort. If it doesn't take me from a sink full of dishes, to the living room sofa for a read aloud then to the store for some milk, then it doesn't belong in my closet.

Number two: It has to cover and camouflage any thing on my anatomy that I need to de-emphasis. No longer do I have the luxury of caring about how "cuuuuuuute" it is on the rack. What really matters is if the top is long enough to cover my poochy tummy and is it blousy enough to hide my bra bulge. If it's in a favorable color that is simply a bonus feature. And then if it is also currently in style...well, then I've won the lottery, ring me up and call my day a success!

So, now maybe you see why I say: I don't shop...until yesterday anyway.

You see, next week I go to Dallas with my husband to be wined and dined by the company he works for. Next week I have to lay aside my t-shirts, jeans, bermuda shorts and yoga pants and don something that says I shop and I know what I'm doing.

So, back to yesterday. Yesterday I went through my closet and confirmed what I already knew. I had NOTHING to wear that was even approaching nice enough for this little trip. The only solution? To shop.

I left my home and headed out to shop. I won't bore you with the details of the hell that is a department store fitting room nor will I fill your ear with complaints about the obstacle course some call a parking lot, but I will tell you that I left the house at 11am and didn't return until after 4pm. In my arms I had 5 large bags of clothes. Only a small sampling of the HUNDREDS of items I'd pulled on and off throughout the day.

Now, mind you...I went shopping for ONE outfit. ONE. A top and a bottom. A dress. Didn't matter. Just ONE thing because I am only going to be gone ONE day. In my defense it did have to go from a day in an office to a dinner out which made for more of a challenge, but was only ONE outfit. But there I was stumbling in the front door with my arms cramping from the strain of the hundreds of dollars *gasp* of clothes I brought home to try on in front of a mirror that doesn't lie and a pretty honest husband and daughter.

As an aside...does it necessarily spell disaster to have a 13 year old girl and a 40-something man as your personal fashion coordinators? Oh, I sure hope not or I'm sunk for sure!

Dragging in my "finds" I head straight to the bedroom to start the fashion parade. I lay the prospects across the bed, take a deep breath and dive in (might as well get this over with). Slip on the skirt, pull on the blouse...traipse to the living room. Hear the critique. Go back to my room for another round.

One HOUR LATER: Sweat is rolling down my back and sides and I can feel tears stinging the back of my eyes. How frustrating! If only I were a size 8 I just KNOW my life would be much simpler! I had narrowed it down to two possibles, neither of which I loved, but they both lived up to rule Number Two. My darling husband comes into the bedroom and hugs me, tells me I'm beautiful and makes a few more suggestions.

Thirty minutes more and I have an outfit that I actually like. I think I can actually hold my head up in public and maybe even look someone in the eye. :) John then said he'd go with me to return all of my unwanted items and even helped me pick out a pair of shoes while I was out - Shoes! Now that's a whole other animal. Shoes I love! Shoes I can shop for. Shoes are my friend because they don't laugh at me for being a bit chunky and I don't have to hide anything or make sure something is long enough when I buy shoes. Heck, shoes are so easy, you can try them on right out in front of everyone and their cousin. No shame there. No hiding out in the torture chambers in front of the lying mirrors. As a matter of fact. I have nice feet if I do say so myself so shoes...there's a fashion item I DO like shopping for.

So, here I am. The day after. Alive and well and actually pretty pleased with my new duds. When I say pleased of course I mean I can live with them. They're not as dressy as I was going for, but they're not as casual as I'm used to. All this anxiety and what did I end up with you ask? Can you believe I went through all of THAT for a pair of black cuffed capri pants, a fooshy poly-blend blouse and a pair of wedges?!

What will I do when it's time to shop for a bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding? I shudder to think of it.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Michele....
You poor thing! I bet you look wonderul in your new outfit...any cahnce we could get a picture posted when you are all dressed up?
Try to enjoy your evening out with your hubby....I sure everyone is more concerned with meeting you, not what you have on anyways! Enjoy! Dianntha

Michele said...

Camera is kaput...or I would gladly post a pic. It's at the top of my Christmas wish list though. :-)

Thanks Dianntha.

Abiding said...

Oh, I can feel your pain and am so glad you found something you like! I can't wait to meet you....and I hope you throw in yoga pants for breakfast! I have a swim party to go to right after our breakfast and I am trying to figure when, where and how I will get into my swim suit. I really am not keen on the idea of wearing it to breakfast! :)

Gumbo Lily said...

Michele, this was such an excellent post and you must know that ALL of us women go through the exact same thing! Life as an 8 or 10 or 12 is not easier. We all have imperfect bodies and bumps and bulges in places we don't like. I applaud you! Shopping is hard work, and so is listening to critique. But you did it and I'm so glad Hubs was so supportive and helpful with the returns. Have fun in Dallas!


Michele said...

You gals are super. I'd hope my post was more funny than mournful...or maybe a bit of both. You DID see the humor didn't you? LOL

Yoga pants are absolutely on my list Leslie! See you in the Big D.