Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I feel like it's something of a personal failing, really

To watch chick flicks or reality TV or to read comic strips like "Cathy" (which I don't, by the way), one would come away with the impression that women and shopping go together like bacon and eggs. In this world that is played out for us in the media and elsewhere, women get together with their friends and meet for coffee and then cheerfully peruse designer handbags and browse racks and racks of blouses and jeans and skirts and accessories, while complaining good-naturedly about their husbands and their busy lives. It's all very fulfilling -- a way to charge your batteries, if you will.

I can say in all honesty that I have never felt that way. In fact, the older I get, the more I absolutely despise shopping to the point that the thought of it makes me tense.

But right now, it cannot be avoided.

I have job interviews in two weeks, one with a fairly buttoned-up firm where the lawyers all wear suits (they didn't get the society-wide memo that we're all going business casual). And I don't have a fucking thing to wear.

You see, when we left Atlanta, I knew I'd be working from home, and that even if I did have to look somewhat professional, a pair of black pants and a black blazer would suffice. So I went through my closets, containing upwards of 25 suits and dresses, and gave them away either to friends or to the Salvation Army. I kept one black pair of pants and one black blazer, neither of which fits me particularly well since having a baby.

Plus, Colorado is cold. The clothes I have are not suitable.

My mother generously offered to buy me a new interview suit. Knowing how I am about shopping (the poor woman has suffered when she wanted to take me shopping and everything she suggested for me was met with, "no, thanks, I don't need it," as I nervously scouted out the nearest exit), she advised me to go when I was well rested and in a good mood.

Today I went up to the local outlet mall go get an outfit for Zeke for his school's Christmas program. After I had picked up what I needed for him, I figured I'd look in some of the grown-up stores for a suit.

This was a mistake.

First of all, I had just come from teaching a Baby Boot Camp class, so I was wearing workout leggings, a heavy sports bra, and running shoes -- not exactly conducive to trying on silky blouses and pinstripe suits. Second of all, I was hungry and a little tired, and thus ill-suited to partake of an activity that I hate under the best of circumstances.

But, I was there, after all, so I figured I may as well take a look.

I went into the Banana Republic store. Nothing terribly suit-y. Lots of separates, but I wanted something conservative. The Saks outlet - nothing. The Michael Kors store - nothing.

The Anne Klein store had a couple of promising options, but on one the button on the jacket was too high and looked weird, and on the other the jacket looked good on the rack but horrible on my rack.

Nothing at Brooks Brothers. Nothing at Ralph Lauren. And the Barney's store made me want to slap everyone in there. All hipper and cooler than thou. Feh.

And of course, this particular outlet mall gets swarms of tourists, all of whom seemed to be prancing around in Ugg boots (paired with miniskirts or shorts) even though it's 83 degrees and sunny. This annoyed me to no end as well.

By the end of it, I was in a fair strop, as my husband likes to say. I was tense and grumpy -- in no shape to shop productively. So I went home.

What's wrong with me? Why am I incapable of enjoying this activity that others of my sex seem to view as a sacrament? i'm not ugly, as far as I can tell. Clothes look OK on me. I don't have body issues. But nonetheless, going to a mall gives me an anxiety attack.

And the worst of it is, I still need to buy a suit. Meaning I've got to fight the traffic and venture into Honolulu to go to Nordstrom or Macy's or Neiman's during the Christmas shopping season.

I have a stomach ache.


  1. Anonymous7:05 PM

    As you know, I love shopping. Why don't you buy some suits online in a size or two from Talbots and Ann Taylor. I may even have a coupon you can use. Smooches, Michelle L.

  2. Anonymous7:09 PM

    amen. i cannot stand shopping either. it's my past experiences just like yours that keep me away.

    jen lu.

  3. Anonymous8:09 PM

    I detest shopping. I can never find anything in my size (which has increased over the past 6 months). Every morning I wake up & pray to the "clothes god" to send me something that fits that I can wear to work. Alas, nothing new appears in the closet.

    I have, however, had much success in the past with purchasing suits online from Chadwicks (which has deferred billing....LOVE IT!) and JCPenney. Give them a shot.


    Good luck with the interview!


  4. It's nice to know I'm in good company. I don't feel like such a freak. My only hesitation in shopping online (which is my preference -- my feeling generally is, if I have to go to a store, I must not really need it) is that I haven't really tried on clothes since I had Zeke, so I don't know what fits anymore. The shape of my body is different. Thus, I fear that making a sojourn to the mall is an unavoidable evil.

    Wish me luck.

  5. I hate it too, when I do find something I like, it's a total eureka moment, until I get home and realize that I have 10 of the exact same thing.


    my only advice is go immediately when the stores open on a tuesday. not many people and the salespeople haven't gotten cranky from all the other jerks, yet.

    good luck. may the force be with you.

  6. Sista -

    You should have called me! I could have shipped you a box full of suits and shoes (requiring that you RETURN the shoes!!) in a minute!!