One of the things I despise most in this world is having to shop when I need new clothes. Now, I love shopping for books and video games, nerdy t-shirts, and other things along those lines, but I HATE realizing that I’ve outgrown my jeans or need more tops for work or something like that.
I think my problem is twofold. First, I grew up pretty poor. We weren’t really all that hard off compared to others, but at the same time, my aunt and grandma couldn’t just afford to buy me everything I set my eyes on. I’m the first in my family to graduate from college, get a Master’s Degree, and work in an office environment. Most of my family members did, and still do, work in farming and factories for a living. So we would shop when the need arose, not as something with which to pass the time. To this day, shopping still feels like an as-needed thing, and it’s hard to convince myself to spend money on something I don’t really need.
The second issue is that I was raised by my grandma and aunt. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I can’t think of two better ladies. I consider myself much better off than if I had been raised by anyone else. But to a degree, that did, and still does, impact how I shop. Most girls learn about fashion and styles and color coordination and all those sorts of things from their mother. I never knew my mother. I was also a tomboy, so I spent most of my childhood in jeans and t-shirts and those horrid coordinated sweatsuits that seemed to be unique to the 90s. My aunt tried her best to teach me about things like makeup and how to style my hair and various things about shopping, but I didn’t live with her (I lived with my grandma), so most things didn’t stick.
All that to say, I had to shop recently. After I got my tax return for this year, I set aside a portion of it to devote to buying much-needed spring/summer tops for work. My roommate clued me in on a couple of fantastic consignment stores with large selections and low prices, so off we went. Everything was sorted by size, then sub-divided by color, which was helpful because I know that I at least look pretty good in blues and greens and some purples. But I can never remember my size, and of course sizes between brands are often different, so I have to try on a million things to find one usable piece, which is really frustrating. Also, this may sound pathetic, but I simply don’t know the basic fundamentals of clothes and shopping – things like how to wear certain pieces, how to put a good outfit together, and color coordination. It makes for a frustrating day, and I usually leave exhausted and with low self-esteem because I can’t figure out what everyone else seems to know.
Some basic questions that always plague me:
- Where’s the line between casual and business casual?
- If a top is sheer, what does one wear underneath it?
- Why can’t sizes be standardized across brands?
- What even is that and how do I wear it?
- Do these colors go together?
Anyway, I consider my shopping trip sort of a success, maybe? I got 4 tops that are work friendly, plus I now know that those shops exist for future reference. Still, I bet I could have found more things if only I knew more about fashion. My ultimate goal is to gradually acquire several more tops, a few pairs of dressy pants, and maybe another pair of shoes. I could also use some jeans and non-work shirts that aren’t t-shirts. Why does shopping have to be so hard??
Well, at least our trip to the mall was a success. I’m great at buying things like cookies and Star Wars sun visors for my car. 🙂