That woman with the pearly white smile, her arms adorned with colorful bags from fancy shops down the street? I don’t think she really exists.
Instead it’s the women who get sluggish after three different stores. I want a dress with polka dots but it has to have pockets. Let’s try GAP! Her arms are heavy with bag handle imprints, and her white teeth stained from Grande lattes with a shot of espresso, because the just act of shopping requires an extra oomph of caffeine.
I recently asked one of my more fashionable girlfriends why she enjoys shopping so much. “I don’t,” was her succinct reply.
She, like most of us, would prefer that the clothing just show up on her doorstep without the hassle of driving, traffic, harsh dressing room lighting that showcases every stray hair and dimple, miserable sales people, and the dreaded undressing, dressing, undressing, rinse and repeat, store after store. The reality of the shopping experience tends to be a hatred towards consumerism and H&M.
In my quest to explore why women claim to enjoy shopping, but don’t like the act of shopping, I stumbled upon a friend who wanted to know where I shop. Specifically – and this is why she is now a former friend who now has a voodoo doll named after her – where I would find clothes for “like curvy girls.”
As she backed off after the words fell out of her mouth, I felt somewhat insulted. It’s not a body image thing, it’s that someone thinks that just because my butt is a little large and in charge, that means that I have difficulties shopping. I felt insulted because I shop like everyone else shops. It was as if she, a woman with bones jutting out in places where I had a nice layer of fat, had a predisposition to having a better time in a mall than I ever could.
My response wasn’t that, of course. It was a furrowed brow and telling her that I shop at stores, just like her.
What I would have said, had my mouth been able to catch up with my brain, was that even though fashion magazines still might dictate the standard of a better version of a woman’s body, all bodies are different, therefore many stores carry many different sizes of clothing, because not every woman is a size two with a prominent clavicle.
Therefore I, along with many other women in the world, shop at places where we know we can find things that flatter our individual shapes. And it’s that last part, the part where I, at 27, know what I should and should not be wearing and that perhaps I don’t want to own a dress just because it’s pretty even though it’s in my size and so completely see-thru it requires an extra layer of clothing to go underneath.
It’s not shopping I hate, it’s the moments when I try to pretend that my body is not as it is. I enjoy shopping when I remember what works and what doesn’t. If I’m worried about sucking something in in order to get the right fit then that isn’t for me. What makes shopping enjoyable is knowing where to go, how to wear it and that whatever I’m wearing should allow me to breathe.
I’m always looking for new shops to try, and I want to hear yours as well. On this long, long list are a few of my favorites:
Old Navy, Gap, Anthropologie, Target, Forever 21 (but who really is 21), Banana Republic, Neiman’s, Nordstrom, J. Crew, Ross, TJMaxx/ Marshall’s, H & M, Bloomingdale’s, The Avenue, and Lane Bryant.
Do you find shopping more enjoyable when you’re going to a place that you frequent? Do you like shopping? Is your favorite store on this list?
Heather Barmore writes about the hodgepodge of her life at No Pasa Nada and about politics at Poliogue: The Art of Political Dialogue. She started her personal blog as an early twenty-something with no idea of what she wanted to do in life. She is now a late twenty-something with the same problem! (Who knew?!) She started Poliogue because she loves politics more than anyone you’ve ever met and wanted to share that love (or obsession) with anyone and everyone. She now lives in her hometown of Albany, NY where she works in politics while writing (or as she says, ‘creatively whining’) on the side. You can read more from Heather on her blog, No Pasa Nada.