Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

Is it just me or has the retail industry gotten a little ahead of themselves lately? I mean obviously they need to have certain items in stores ahead of when they are actually needed but seriously, have the people who look after these things decided that the calendar is now completely irrelevant?

This year the Halloween costumes were in my local store at pretty much the same time as the school supplies. The first time I saw them I panicked – is it that time already? Man, I better pick up the kids’ costumes before they all get picked over! Picked over? It was barely September for goodness sakes!

I used to pat myself on the back whenever I was (surprisingly) organized enough to have clothes purchased and ready in advance of the changing seasons. Now, however, it seems that I’m now expected to be two seasons ahead and have the super hero ability to be able to predict what clothing and shoe sizes my kids are going to be six months from now.

Looking for a winter jacket in November? Too late, all that’s left in stores are extra small or extra large – and both in colours that the kids won’t go anywhere near. Forget that it’s still Fall outside – don’t even bother asking the cashier if they have any more sizes in the back, he’ll look at you as if you just asked him to sew you one from scratch. Apparently the time to buy winter clothes is four months before you’re actually going to wear them.

Looking for a bathing suit in June? Nope, they’re pretty much all gone by mid-April. I live north of the Great Lakes – no one here is wearing a bathing suit in April!!

My local home decor store was fully decked out for Christmas more than two weeks ago; complete with four themed trees and miles and miles of little twinkly lights. What ever happened to waiting until December? Or forget December, what ever happened to waiting until Halloween was done?

I had to send my husband to Costco at the beginning of September to buy new Christmas garlands because I knew they would be gone in less than a week. When he arrived back from his errand he informed me he got the last two. For real. Then I had to find room to stash them in the garage for two and a half months, waiting for it to actually be Christmas time.

I get stressed every time I go shopping now, feeling horribly behind before I even get started. What an awful mother I must be if I left buying winter boots until October. What ever made me think that was an okay thing to do?

It’s November and I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping yet? I’ll never get it done in time now! Is it any wonder that I’m usually tired of the holidays long before they even arrive? Am I the only one who thinks it’s wrong to drink eggnog while wearing shorts and a tank top? How special are the decorations, music and cookies, when you have them for two months instead of just a couple of weeks? By the time December 25 finally rolls around I just want to pack it all away and be rid of the whole thing.

And when I finally get the last box of decorations packed away I will (mistakenly) think I can relax for a month or so.

That is until my next trip to the store reveals that the Easter baskets, patio sets and flip flops are now on clearance.

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I didn’t want to buy a pair of skinny jeans.

In fact, I was very much against the idea. So far, I had managed to ride out the trend and hoped that maybe next year would be the year of the boot cut, the year of the boyfriend jean with ample room through the hips and thighs. The year of the anti-skinny jean.

I always thought skinny jeans are for girls with legs that resemble twigs; not for women like me who have legs that look more like tree trunks.

That was what I thought until last Saturday.

I had never considered even trying on a pair of skinny jeans before Saturday. They never even crossed my mind or came under my shopping radar. They remained “over there” along with the mini-skirts, crop tops and gladiator sandals; on that shelf where I choose never to look.

That was what I thought before the dark brown riding boots.

For the last few weeks everywhere I looked, people were wearing brown riding boots. Amazing, wonderful, beautiful brown riding boots. I found myself coveting the boots like nothing else I could remember. I needed to have a pair. And then the realization hit: if I wanted the boots, I would need to buy a pair of skinny jeans to go with them.

Beautiful brown riding boots need skinny jeans tucked into them to be seen in all their glory. Hiding them under a wide-leg, boot cut would be a crime against fashion. Nothing but a skinny jean would do.

Fast forward to Saturday morning as I stood in front of the mirror in a change room at Old Navy, staring at my reflection for the first time ever in a pair of skinny jeans.

I did not like the view.

I thought I had done a good job selecting a this style of skinny from the wall of jeans, having really no idea what I was doing. I picked one that was supposed to offer more ‘room’ through the hips and thighs which is a good thing. I’ve given birth to two children, I need all the room I can get.

However, standing in the change room I realized it had been a bad choice. From the hips down it looked as though the jeans had been painted on to my legs and the waist gaped in the back. Anyone standing behind me when I bent down would get a show, and not a nice one. Let’s be honest, I don’t think it would be physically possible to actually bend down in these jeans but I felt the need to flush out every possible issue. I stared in the mirror and felt the dream of the dark brown riding boots slipping away.

That was until I met Mary.

I cracked open the change room door looking for my hubby so I could vocalize the horror of the pants but he was nowhere to be found. I ventured further out but still I couldn’t find him.

“How are those jeans working out for you?”

Oh darn. The voice behind me meant that I was going to have to speak to the change room attendant who, if past experience was any indication, would probably be a 17 year old child on whom a size zero would be baggy.

I turned around and was pleasantly surprised to see a woman my own age and size, with kind eyes and a quick smile.

“Not good,” I said, showing her the gaping waist of the jeans I had tried on.

“Yeah, I can see what you mean,” she said. “But if you go down a size in that style to fit your waist, you won’t be able to get them on. You have large calves, just like me.”

I probably should have been mad.

Her comment probably should have started the predictable downward spiral of self-loathing as my self-image and self-confidence tanked. But for some reason it didn’t.

The way she said it was just like she was commenting on any other aspect of my appearance, like “you have green eyes” or “you have long fingers.” She was just stating a reality of my anatomy, without judgment or ridicule. And in that moment we became sisters, fighting a battle against skinny jeans. If anyone could help me, it would be Mary.

Less than five minutes later she was back, her arms weighted down by no less than eight pairs of jeans. As she laid them out on the bench in my change room, I looked at the size she had pulled and expressed my concern. It was at least one size smaller than the ones I just tried on.

“Don’t worry'” she said. “These are all beginner skinnies; they don’t fit quite as tight through the leg. It’s what I wear. I promise they’ll look great.”

So I tried them on and surprisingly liked what I saw, not because of how I looked in the jeans necessarily but because of how I felt in them. I caught a glimpse of someone I used to be, before being self-conscious took all the fun out of shopping. A time before the idea that a mother of two needed to wear a ‘certain kind’ of clothes dictated all of my fashion choices.

I rocked those skinny jeans (if I do say so myself), along with the dark brown riding boots I later bought to go with them. Large calves and all.

Thanks Mary, I couldn’t have done it without you.

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I have a thing for accessories.  I hate shopping for clothes, dislike shopping for shoes, avoid shopping for makeup, and downright detest shopping for pants, but I love picking out accessories.

Purses, earrings, necklaces, rings, pretty much anything you can think of.  I love picking out all of the pretty things that add sparkle to my average uniform of jeans and a plain colour top.

It’s shopping, only without the awful change rooms, unflattering lighting and having to yell to the 17 year-old “attendant” who wears a baggy size 0 that no, the size 8 doesn’t fit but thanks for asking.  And no, I don’t want to try it in a bigger size but again, thanks for asking.

Instead I’ll make my way over to the rack by the cash piled high with rings and bracelets and get lost in them.  I can picture myself wearing them and, unlike the rest of the items in the store, imagining myself in them makes me smile.

I’ve spent more money than I should probably admit on accessories, particularly jewelry because, if I’m being really honest, it makes me feel good about myself.  The great thing about accessories is that they always fit, they never make my thighs look bigger, and, if the stars align, they make me feel a little less like someone’s mother who often gets ignored and overlooked, and more like the person I used to be.

My intellectual side realizes that self-confidence doesn’t come in a box; that it’s supposed to come from inside, but on the days when the reflection in the mirror is not what I’m hoping to see, putting on a great pair of earrings or an incredible necklace brings back the smile and the twinkle and frankly, that’s worth any price.

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the calm

It’s 7:30 a.m. on a rainy Thursday morning.  I sit here in my living room listening to the sounds of…silence.  The cat is lounging on the floor at my feet, relaxed but ready at a moments notice to jump into action should it appear that I’m making my way towards the ‘treat’ cupboard.  It is the perfect way to start a morning.

The hubby and kids were out the door 15 minutes ago and I’ve already taken care of the one piece of work that I had to do on my day off.  My list (aka plan of action) is sitting on the kitchen counter, just waiting for me to get off my butt and change out of these flannel pjs.  I have planned out my route to maximize time and efficiency as there is much to be done on this, the last shopping day without the kids before Christmas.

Maybe it’s sad but this is probably the most excited I’ve been about Christmas since the beginning of the holiday season, i.e. the middle of November.

I can almost taste it, a morning spent running errands without having to bribe, cajole or physically drag a little person around with me.  I can browse at Walmart for 20 minutes rather than the usual mad dash through the aisles, trying to go as fast as I can without forgetting anything.  Ah…bliss.

Kind of pathetic that this is what passes for an amazing few hours in my life but I’ve determined that at this stage in life:  married, working, two kids, you really have to take what you can get and learn to love it!

Happy shopping to me!

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