And I ám a real woman. Honest.
Most women I know buy clothes on a weekly basis. Friends tell me they’ve found such a great skirt and terrific boots in that shop and last week they bought a great whatever where ever. Of course they always look terrific and very fashionable, while I’m usually in jeans and a T-shirt or in my riding gear. Next to them I feel even more frumpy than I already am. But since I’m up to my knees in horse poo most of the day (I just love to exaggerate now and again; actually it's up to my ankles) there is no point in me being fashionable. That’s my excuse anyway. Because I really don’t like shopping for clothes.
It’s not something I’ve inherited, because every time I have a conversation with my mother (or to be accurate; every time my mother talks to me), she tells me she has bought this and that, preferably on sale. “20% off, couldn’t leave it hanging there. Have to buy something to go with it now.” Which will be her goal in life for the week after.
I have no goals in life. And if I did, they would certainly not include shopping for a skirt that will go with a shirt. No way José!
So, I have brought the frequency of shopping for clothes back to twice a year and only when in dire need.
Yesterday was one of those occasions. I didn’t feel fat (see? I am a real woman.). Always a plus point when one needs clothes. So I felt up to the task before me. I wanted to buy two pairs of good jeans, a couple of shirts perhaps and a long woollen cardigan. Definitely a long woollen cardigan.
The first clothes shop I encountered after parking the car looked promising so I went in. In no time I had scored a pair of dark jeans that fitted well (the question is, will they turn out to be good jeans, because sometimes jeans for some reason have a Jekyll and Hyde personality. One moment they fit perfectly well and the next moment they will either be too small or too large. I have the feeling these new jeans will be too large, but we’ll see. Or is it just me who sometimes ends up with Jekyll and Hyde jeans?)
Anyway, then I saw an interesting pair of grey trousers. A nice design with fun back pockets and some lovely details. Not exactly what I was looking for, but they looked like jeans, only grey and very in vogue. So they fitted the bill more or less. But would they fit me?
They did. And I thought they looked good on me.
Then I obviously needed something to go with the grey trousers. I found a long sleeved sort of T-shirt with a subtle print that went wonderfully with the grey trousers. And also with the jeans. But then again almost anything goes with jeans.
This was a promising start to the shopping trip. Would they perhaps have that long cardigan for me too? I browsed through what was on offer. Rails full of all sorts of garments. I picked out a very finely knitted long woollen cardigan with two obscure flaps hanging from the back. Hmm. Puzzling. Nice sleeves though (narrow up to the elbows and above that wider and sort of gathered together on the side). But the flaps were just weird. I tried it on and examined the result in the mirror. Hmm. Not sure. Strange flaps.
A woman emerged from the fitting cubicle next to mine. She looked at ‘my’ cardigan and asked the sales woman if she had another one of those (pointing at the one I was wearing) for her to try on. I considered it a good sign and decided to buy the cardigan too.
What else could they have for me?
Again I browsed through the merchandise. Interesting looking shirt. I plucked the hanger from the rail. Hmm. No. Wasn’t quite ít. I put the hanger back on the rail. The garment dropped to the floor. I picked it up and tried to put it back on the hanger, but I couldn’t figure out which hole was the right one to drape over the hanger. It was exactly as wide on one side as on the other and the sleeves were coming somewhere from the middle. The only clue I could find was a label at which I decided would be the top of the shirt. Strange shirt.
I couldn’t find anything else that appealed to me enough to try it on, so I decided to pay for the two trousers, the T-shirt and the cardigan.
Since I was on a roll, I went further on my quest to find some decent Autumn/Winter clothes.
I went into a couple of other shops that had nothing that appealed to me, until I came to a shop I had been in before. Last year, when I was on the hunt for Summer clothes in fact. Nice clothes, but horrible staff. The pushy sort, who like everything you try on. “Looks gorgeous on you. Could have been made for you. It’s my favourite too.” That sort of sales talk. Since trying on clothes is not my favourite pastime (did I mention that already?), I’m usually in the right state of mind to answer back with: “you would say that wouldn’t you. You want to sell it to me. Do you work on commission? Have you bought one of these yourself? Does it look as good on you as it does on me?” Usually I’m quite a friendly person. It’s just that the longer my shopping trip lasts, the longer my toes will grow.
But still, I was on a mission and I liked their collection, so I just had to take the sales women into the bargain.
I found a nice long woollen cardigan, also grey, but made of thicker wool. Almost exactly what I had in mind when I started looking for it. And a fun striped long sleeved T-shirt that would go great with the other stuff I had already bought and with the newly found cardigan too. So I disappeared into a cubicle and tried both on. When I stepped out to criticize the outfit, I was immediately stalked by one of the sales bitches. “Gorgeous cardigan that is, isn’t it? It looks so good on you. I love that cardigan. And the shirt is so nice isn’t it? (not waiting for an answer) They just ‘fly’ from the store. It looks lovely with that cardigan blablabla”.
I raised my eyebrows as high as they would go and just looked at her.
It worked. She closed her mouth and took a couple of steps back. (Do you think I frightened her?)
Anyway, I decided to go for both garments and found another shirt, this time with a little bling on it, in the last shop I went into and then I went home.
“I’m pooped”, I sighed to hubs. He shrugged his shoulders and said something like: “pfff, you only went shopping for clothes. How tiring can it be?”
So I started thinking what the difference between ‘female and male’ clothes shopping is.
You see, women have to decide: “Do I want trousers, a skirt or a dress? Do I want casual or not. What colour looks good on me? What colour do I want? Do I need something to go with it? Do I have the right shoes for this outfit? Does it make my butt look fat? Does this flatter me in the right places?” And more of those dilemmas.
Now, I can only go with hubs’s shopping habits, but I think male shopping goes something like this:
Man enters shop he always goes to, sales person knows him and says: ah, Mr. Soandso. Is it that time of the year again? Haha.”
Man says: “Yes it is”.
Sales person says: ”Well, what can I do for you this time.”
Man says: “I’d like two of these (points at trousers he’s wearing), this size, different colours. Three shirts to go with them and a jumper or maybe two.” Or he says: “I need a suit.”
Sales person rummages through the collection, picks out a few things, man tries them on. It fits, he pays. Simple.
No difficult garments with long purposeless flaps, no shirts that have confusing top/bottom issues, no shoes problem, no fat butt, or if fat butt… who cares.
And still, hubs does not like shopping for clothes either. I don’t understand.
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