Okay, so this goes against some sort of girl code, but I’m going to say it. I don’t like shopping. I like buying, but I don’t like shopping. I feel about shopping what I think some people feel about going to the dentist. I know I’ll be happy with the results, but I have to prepare myself for a few days leading up to it.
Most trips to the mall for me involve a purpose and a plan. For instance, say I’ve lost 15 pounds and none of my jeans fit anymore (not hypothetical actually!), then I go to a store and buy jeans. I might check out the rest of the store for a minute, but browsing (which is the heart of shopping) makes me 1) judgy, 2) nervous, and 3) angry.
- I enjoy the artistic/pop culture aspect of fashion when it’s on Project Runway. When you stick horrific trends on mannequins and market it at outrageous prices so that women buy things that don’t fit their body types just because Christian Soriano said it was fierce, I want to throw up. And then when I see women picking up sequined shrugs and leopard print jeggings, I just want to scream, “You’re paying $50 for half a cardigan, and those are going to make you look fat!” See, judgy.
- When I venture outside my purposeful plan, I get overwhelmed by the options which makes my brain start twitching. My pits get sweaty, and I either grab piles of clothes, all of which I leave with the dressing room attendant because I didn’t really like them in the first place (I was just trying to get outside my comfort zone!) OR I stare at a pile of bedazzled tank tops for ten minutes, trying to pick between canary yellow and lavender. My nerves can’t take it.
- I hate spending money on clothes. It takes away from the amount of money I can spend on books. Plus, at this stage in life, I’m not wasting money on clothes that are undoubtedly going to be ruined by my lovely children. So, I shop at places where people shove you in the aisles because they’re trying to get to a pair of Kate Spade ankle boots that have been marked down to four cents. These people are SERIOUS about their discounted clothing, and they take no prisoners. By the time I make it out of the store with my sun dress and sandals that I plan on wearing to someone’s baby shower next weekend, I hate humankind.
All of that said, due to the fact that I have an often absent husband and two small children, I very rarely even have the opportunity to shop in the first place. So, when I booked a trip to meet my friend, April, in Houston for a girls weekend, I started preparing myself for a day of REAL shopping. I had a list of a few things that I really needed to purchase, but I was also going to spend some time browsing for things I didn’t need. Maybe even trendy things.
Just like going to the dentist, it helps if you mentally prepare, so by the time I landed in Houston, I was actually kind of psyched for the possibility of elbowing someone in the eye for a BCBG handbag. April was going to be at a conference all day Sunday (we built our girls weekend into her university-sponsored trip so that we could laugh the night away on someone else’s dime). So, while she was broadening her mind with Ph. D. students from around the world, I was happy to have an entire day alone. After five hours, I returned to our hotel room with three pairs of shoes, a sweater, two pairs of jeans, some jewelry, two dresses, a skirt, and three shirts. I think that’s it.
And I have to admit that even though my goal today was to think outside my fashion box, most of the things I bought today are...BLACK. I really, really try to vary my color choices, but in the end I almost always choose the black version. (In the wise words of Wesley Snipes, always bet on black.) I had a brief affair with color when I was pregnant (I’m convinced there’s something about our brain chemistry that links weight gain with bright fabrics--I mean, really. Have you ever seen a black muu muu? Nope.) during which my closet started to look like a bag of Skittles, but now that I’m back to my normal, non-impregnated state, I am falling right back into my comfort zone. I really believe that color and patterns should primarily be reserved for accessories (I will totally rock a pair of red heels or a pink purse--not together, of course), and if you only buy black clothes, everything matches. I DO also buy things in white, gray, and varying shades of brown sometimes. You know, for variety.
Overall, today was more than successful. It’s always a lot more fun shopping when you’re buying a smaller size, and the bargain shoppers were actually pretty polite (minus the man who reached across me, knocking my purse off my shoulder and onto the floor, to snatch a pair of tangerine slingbacks...for his wife, I assume?). Now I just have to find a way to get it all in my very small carry-on. Oops.