A friend and I shopped the sales at an upscale Scottsdale mall last week. I was saved from spending much by the fact that in all those acres and acres and acres of women’s clothes, there wasn’t a darn thing worth buying.
I’ve never loved shopping. But now that I’m a grown woman and, as one over the age of 50, a stranger in a strange land, I hate, loathe, and despise shopping. Mass-produced clothing is not made for adult women.
Understand, I am not overweight. My weight and BMI are comfortably in the ideal range for a woman my height and age. But nevertheless, if I find something that’s not ugly or trampy-looking, it doesn’t fit. If it fits, it’s plug-hideous. If it fits and it’s not ghastly, then it has to be dry-cleaned.
We live in a place where temperatures range upwards of 100 degrees for five months a year; the rest of the time, the weather is comparable to what most people think of as spring and summer. I am not going to be made to dry-clean something that fits up beneath my underarms or that looks like you’ve slept in it the minute you strap yourself into a seat-belt. Nor, thank you, do I care to bathe myself in dry-cleaning chemicals even if an item doesn’t have to be cleaned every single time it’s worn. If an item can’t be washed, I don’t buy it.
So. During the winter, Talbot’s carries good-looking tailored clothing, much of it washable, that actually fits. In the summer…ah, the summer: Talbot’s buyers go stark raving mad. For the past three years, every summer outfit in that store has been freaking bizarre! Purple polka-dots, flounces, and silly-looking patterns that belong on an eight-year-old. One whose parents have no taste. They still have pants that fit, and my friend bought a couple pair. But I don’t need pants. I need a summer dress or skirt that’s easy to get into and easy to launder, and I need some shirts that will dress up the Costco jeans I habitually wear to work.
Neither of those resided at the Scottsdale Fashion Square Talbot’s.
Ann Taylor had some dresses in the style I coveted: all dry-clean only.
Bloomingdale’s had a perfect outfit from Eileen Fisher. The price would have consumed my entire clothing budget, and I needed more than one item.
Macy’s: an ocean of clothing, all of it hideous. Macy’s assaults you with loud, annoying Muzak that hurts your ears and distracts you from the job of sorting through rack after rack after endless rack of clothing in search of something that will fit and not make you look stupid. Salespeople are unhappy at best, unpleasant at worst. Not a place where one wants to spend much time.
We went into J. Jill’s. The J. Jill’s catalogue usually has several attractive outfits designed for grown women, but for some reason the store has next to nothing. I picked up a couple of long, swirly skirts. As I was standing there trying to get a saleslady’s attention to let me into a dressing room, another customer walked by, stared at the choices I had in hand, and pulled a horrified sour face.
That really made me feel like trying on clothes.
I did buy a shirt to go with the jeans there, though. It’s just O.K., nothing special.
At Banana Republic we found tons of cute clothes, all of them designed to fit anorexic 18-year-olds. But bought another shirt, not very different from the J. Jill shirt, except for the bracing price tag. Just O.K.
So I didn’t spend much money, which was just as well. But my wardrobe is still threadbare and dominated by twenty-dollar dungarees. Frustrating.