How I hate shopping

Bleh.  I had to shop this weekend to buy something to wear to a wedding in a couple of weeks.  I have things in my closet, but they are summer/spring clothes and just wouldn’t work for fall/winter.  Once again, I cringed over various bulges that have appeared on my body, but at least most fancy clothes do a good job of hiding those bulges.  I will admit that there was a dress I could not even begin to fit into.  I tried putting it over my head, stepping into it, etc.  Clearly, it was meant for someone without hips.  After trying on nearly every dress in the mall–excluding those $400 and up dresses, though boy, were some of those nice–I finally settled on one.  And then I had to find a top to go with some pants for the rehearsal dinner part of this affair.  It wasn’t so much a size issue this time as finding something that I liked.  Again, I tried nearly everything on before finding something.  I think I’m just not one of those people who looks good in almost anything, so I have to try on a lot, but it wears me out.

All of which reminds me of my weight post of a couple of weeks ago.  I was pretty surprised I made it through the walk, and I only really felt recovered at the end of last week, but I feel like I don’t give myself enough credit for my physical abilities.  Because I’m small, and experienced an injury in my early teens, I’ve just taken on the identity of being “no good at sports” and “not particularly athletic”.  Sometimes that’s true.  I tried to play Ultimate for a while and was so bad I didn’t last long–no throwing or catching ability.   Completing the walk reminded me that I’m not so weak after all, and that with a little more effort, I could do a lot for my overall health and strength and maybe even experience less cringing in dressing rooms.  So tomorrow, as you blog readers are my witness, I am contacting the fitness center coordinator and arranging a tour and making a plan to work out a few times a week.  And I think I’ll be walking that 60 miles again next year.  But maybe this time, I won’t be so sore afterward.

Retail therapy FTW

I’m not one to go shopping to make myself feel better.  In fact, I kind of hate shopping, especially now that I no longer have my 20-year-old body.  Actually, I hated shopping then, too.  But I really needed clothes.  Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing the same old thing over and over, but it was starting to wear on me.  So I spent a few hours at a nearby outlet mall, which was, I must say, kind of fun.  For one, it was outdoors, so that when I wasn’t in a store, I was meandering outside, which was much better than being in the stifled air of an indoor mall.  It was also nice to be by myself.  This was the first time I’d been shopping by myself in I don’t know how long.  Everything I’ve bought for myself lately has been picked up while shopping for one of the kids.  And they don’t give me a whole lot of time to pick stuff out.   I had alloted a certain amount of money to spend, and even though I still had some of that allotment left, I didn’t spend it because I was too worn out to try on anything more, proving I really don’t like shopping *that* much.  I’ll have to make another trip, this time with the family in tow.  When I got home, I cleaned out my closet and drawers, getting rid of the things that had been sitting there not being worn for years.  I put away my new clothes, some for work, some for play, and I felt like I’d made a fresh start. Even Mr. Geeky cleaned out his drawers (though not the closet).  Now I’m inspired to get the house into better shape this weekend.  Hooray for holidays!

Friday Fun?: Shopping and Fashion

Mexico @ Carlos 'n Bryans
Image by Office Glen via Flickr

I hate shopping.  I like having clothes to wear, but I hate the process of finding those clothes.  My hatred for shopping goes back a long way, back when I was a scrawny preteen dying to get out of “kid” clothes.  I was barely 4’11, weighed probably 90 lbs, and nothing ever fit me.  I had been looking forward to shopping in the junior section, but back then, there was no such thing (at least not in my tiny town) as a size 1 or even a 3.  Size 5 was as small as you could go and even that hung on me.  Petite sizes were only for old lady pants with elastic waistbands.  So, inevitably, I’d gather a few things, head into the dressing room and then stare glumly into the mirror when I looked like a stick standing in a pile of crumpled cloth.  My mother didn’t help matters much, though I give her credit for hunting down a store a couple of hours away that carried small sizes and petite clothes in relatively fashionable styles.  I say relatively because had I been attending a posh prep school, those clothes would have been perfect.  Instead, I was in a public middle school where some 75% of the kids were on free or reduced lunch.  The first day I wore the purple linen pants with coordinating cotton shirt imprinted with an old tobacco ad on the back and penny loafers, I nearly got beat up.  “Who you think you are?” A tough girl said to me while I was standing at my locker.  Luckily, I had tough girl friends who intervened.  The next day I went back to my t-shirt, jeans, and nikes and reserved that outfit for dinners out with the grandparents.

And then there were the 80s.  We all looked bad.  I went through a Madonna phase, a punk rock phase, and a Working Girl phase.  I actually wore a business suit and carried a briefcase to school.  There’s an unfortunate spread in the yearbook of me and my best friend demonstrating the styles of the times.  There are stirrup pants involved.  There’s a lot of mousse.

In college, I went with the all-black poet look.  Literally, everything I owned was black.  I could be seen at parties wearing black jeans, a black turtleneck, and black Converse high tops.  I had black skirts, black t-shirts, black shorts, black socks.  Occasionally I wore patterns with black in them rather than all black.  I had a black houndstooth mini-skirt I was rather fond of and which survived into the 90s.  In my junior year, a tragic laundry incident caused me to rethink my wardrobe.  I was washing a load of blacks (some would say colors, but I owned nothing colorful) and when I went to go put them into the dryer, they were gone.  I had to start buying colors.

After college, I resorted to wearing what people gave me because I was broke, and by people, I mean my mother and my soon-to-be mother-in-law.  My mother’s style hails from the south and leans preppy and/or southern belle.  My mother-in-law’s style hailed from elementary school and involved themed sweaters.  When I look at pictures of myself from that era, I shiver.  Bulky sweatshirts with horizontal stripes topping coral pants with a too-high waistline.  The snowman sweater! The mom jeans.  Need I say more.  I was in my 20s, but because most of my clothes purchases were made by middle-aged women, I looked at least 40.  It was not pretty.

Now, I have better sense.  But I no longer have quite the body I did in my 20s, which, despite being a bad time fashion wise was a good time size wise.  I could fit into lots of good clothes.  I just didn’t have the taste to pick out good clothes.  So now shopping feels a lot like it did in my preteens.  I pull things off the rack, take them into the dressing room, and stare glumly into the mirror.  Only, instead of things hanging on me, there are bulges where I don’t want them, or a pair of pants in a size I thought I fit into easily won’t button or zip.  Or I feel like the clothes are just generally too young looking.  Sigh.

But I’m going shopping anyway, because everything I own now is only appropriate for schlepping around the house and/or lying on the beach.  The work clothes I owned have worn out or are too formal for a nice lunch out with a friend.  But I just hate it.  I hate having to look at myself in the mirror and be reminded of the fact that I’m not 20 anymore, and that I didn’t appreciate my 20s when I had the chance.  In other words, shopping often reminds me that I’m aging.  And frankly, aging sucks.

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Christmas shopping: Help Wanted

We ventured to the giant mall yesterday to do the rest of our Christmas shopping.  After eating lunch and walking around for about 20 minutes, we decided to go home and shop online.  Things I hate about shopping at the mall:

1. It’s crowded.
2. It’s giant and requires a lot of walking to get from store to store–good exercise, sure, but not so good when you’re trying to be efficient.
3. Salespeople push things on you.  For most of the people I have left to buy for, I haven’t figured out what to get.  I’m just looking around, thinking about things.  I do not need people to hound me to buy something.  Note that this is different from the ones who are truly helpful.  I’m talking about the ones pushing crap you don’t want to buy.

Still, online shopping can be just as painful.  I’ve spent the better part of this afternoon looking for things.  Some things I wanted to buy, I didn’t, because they didn’t offer gift wrapping.  So I actually did a search for online shopping with gift wrapping.  These two articles gave me some ideas.

I’m still stuck, though, on what to get my father.  He’s a hard man to buy for. He’s a golfer, a wine enthusiast, and a hard-working lawyer.  He also likes biking and watching football.  You’d think I could come up with something with all that.  I’ve decided not to go in the wine direction because that’s what I did for his birthday.  I don’t know what he has golf wise.  And I’m not very knowledgeable about the other stuff.  So, I’m stuck.  What do you all suggest?

Online versions of box stores suck

No wonder box stores (I’m looking at you Target) are suffering. Their online counterparts suck. I’ve order two things–important things–for Christmas. The same day I ordered several other things from places like Amazon, Honeybaked Ham, and Overstock.com. I have tracking numbers for all of those items. A couple have already arrived and a couple more look likely to arrive tomorrow. The stuff I order from Target (one item is not available in their store): not shipped yet. Ordered on Monday. One thing’s for sure, I’m not rushing to Target to replace the order. I’ll find what I need elsewhere. Idiots.

And if you detect a little bah humbug in that, it’s true, I’m a little edgy about the season. I think a few others are too. Perhaps many people are frustrated, sad, scared, etc. because of the economy. Well, they’re taking it all out on the rest of us.* I haven’t been honked at so much in my life as I have been in the last week. And I promise, my driving hasn’t warranted these honks. Even my son commented on someone’s misplaced honk on our way to school the other day.

*Maybe they have a right to, but damn, it’s not my fault. And if they actually talked to me, I might offer sympathy and support.