I think I've mentioned before how much I hate shopping -- if I haven't, it's A LOT. I don't think I know what looks nice on me and I desperately try to remember "tips" from the various What Not to Wear episodes I used to watch. One of my good friends stopped by one day while it was on and thought it was really funny to see me watching it because she hadn't had me pegged as a fashionista. Wonder why? ;-)
Anyway, I have no patience for the TJ Maxx style of shopping, where you have to go through rack upon rack of misplaced clothes to find anything. Compounding that problem is that I generally hate the clothing in the sizes I can wear and am attracted instead to styles of clothing that would look lovely on fashion models (as much as I fight against it, I know that I'm prey to common standards of beauty). At the end of my initial pass of the offerings, I had chosen five things to try on:
From left to right, these are a sweater dress, a cropped open-front cardigan, a thigh-length open navy blue cardigan, a black-with-white polka-dots blouse, and a black sweater with a boat neck and elbow-length sleeves.
As I composed this photograph (and no, I'm not my sister-in-law who has a painterly eye for photography and takes some of the most wonderful pictures you could imagine -- go check her blog out, y'all), something struck me. All these pieces have some things in common:
- They are all on the dark side of the color scale -- I have two brownish things, one dark navy thing, and two black things. Where are the colors? Where is the vitality? Where is the fun?
- They are all shapeless.
- They all looked awful on me. The sweater dress was a joke. Not a good style for me. The navy blue sweater made me look washed out and I couldn't figure out what it was supposed to be. The black-polka-dotted blouse didn't fit (there are some disadvantages to being, um, well-endowed, despite what my husband would say). The black sweater was weirdly ruched in all the wrong places. The brown cardigan was the only possibility I considered (and forgive this awful selfie):
See, this is the crap I have to put up with in the dressing room!
I did (sort of) like the sweater and was going to buy it. Nonetheles, I felt beaten down. I called my husband to say hi, responding to his "how's it going" with "I'm in the throes of self-hatred" and then decided to make myself feel better by looking at some of the other fun things they have at TJ Maxx. I ended up with a cart full of the sweater, a platter, a Misto Olive Oil sprayer, a hand soap/moisturizer duo in a wire holder, and an adorable little teal glass tchotchke (inspired by my same sister-in-law's house, which I visited this weekend for a stuffed-animal tea party). I went to stand in line, and thank God I looked at my watch -- I had 20 minutes to get to the kids' school from the store, a trip which Google Maps now tells me is a 24 minute trip in good traffic. Saved myself at least fifty self-pity dollars there. Whew.
Undeterred, I'm going out again, this time to a new shop that I have not heard of before. They are evidently having a Buy One Get One for five dollars sale.
And now for something completely related: This story from Rockefeller Center (the news show with Brian Williams) really touched me. It's all about seeing Beauty in a new way.