Yes, I’m Saying It – I Suck At Shopping

I’m not a clothes horse. Never have been, probably never will be. I know the adage that clothes can make the (wo)man, and to a certain degree I believe that. But when it comes to getting dressed I’m a uniform kinda gal. Probably that military influence from growing up.

CycleGuy gets on me to go shopping even. How many women would love a husband that say “Buy it for yourself!” and never complain when you walked in the door with shopping bags from the mall or have boxes from online stores? All my friends!

But being the frugal, budget conscious girl I am shopping is difficult for me. And it always has been. Even when I was working full time I would agonize over buying a new outfit. But this agony only applies to shopping for myself. I can easily buy stuff for BabyGirl and CycleGuy. In buying for them I often have to step back and say ‘no’ because I get this crazy high finding bargain and cool stuff for them.

One look in my closet and you’d wonder how I get dressed every day. You’ll see a sprinkling of color, but most of what a wear is black or dark. Uniform much?

I know experts say buy classic pieces in neutral colors and accessorize with colors that suit you. Timeless styles and quality made clothing is always a better investment. I get that. And I do have some amazing pieces that have been staples for years. I totally get all this, but still I’m so stuck. Stuck on not wanting to step out of my little uniform box.

I know I could easily be a candidate for What Not To Wear or have Tim Gunn look down his nose at my collection of capri pants and ‘mom clothes’. But fashion is a learned skill. One I’ve obviously don’t have even a BA in much less the Masters or PhD. If anything I need to see a fashion doctor!

But shopping and fear of spending don’t mix well. And, really, that is what it is for me. A huge fear of spending money on myself. No, it’s not a sickness, but yes, it requires mindfulness and a constant reminder that I am worth of nice things and that I deserve to dress nicely.

Whenever I get a crazy streak and feel I should head to the mall to see what’s out there I try to remember

5 things to manage stressful shopping:

1. Focus on one piece of clothing. And no, it can’t be another pair of shoes! Buying an entire wardrobe is not going to happen. I get overwhelmed thinking I need to buy all kinds of things.

2. Black is not an option. If I walk in the house with another item of black clothing I’m not sure CycleGuy will be supportive of my shopping.

3. Set a realistic budget. Sure, I may think $15 for a top is reasonable but it is really? If I know what I can comfortably spend I’m less stressed about seeing price tags and I’ll stay away from brands that will surely be outside my limit. Also, if a sales associate asks I can be upfront and get more appropriate options.

4. Don’t buy for anyone else. When I’m shopping for myself I have a rule that I can not buy anything for anyone else. I’m too easily distracted. And then it becomes an excuse for not looking for what I need.

5. Shop alone or with a trusted friend. My daughter is a terrific shopper and had a great fashion sense. But shopping with her is stressful for me because I worry she’s bored or hungry or tired. It’s the perfect excuse not to focus on my needs. Also, because her choices aren’t always mine I don’t want to squash that sense of excitement when she loves something but I dont, or vice versa. If I do feel I want to hang out with someone, I have a few friends I know will gladly help me and not put themselves ahead of my need to buy something right for me.

So there it is. I suck at shopping for myself. Now chime in with your therapeutic tips on how to make shopping for me less stressful. Please?! Pretty Please!


The Shameful Shirt

Be honest with me, you have a piece of clothing that is just too comfortable to throw away but really should be burned and not be allowed to clutter up the landfill. I do, and I’m wearing it right now. I gave it up for awhile because I was worried it might totally disintegrate on its own and I’d be left with tiny remnants of what was once my most favorite sleeping shirt.

I’m a creature of habit. And when it comes to sleep I want to be comfortable. Normally I’m freezing cold so I wear a shirt and a sweatshirt. Sexy, I know! I don’t want some tiny silky thing to get wrapped up around my neck on the verge of choking me or causing me to spend my night huddled under the blankets in the fetal position hoping to warm up. No, I want my comfy shirt!

My favorite sleep shirt is a freebie that I got for riding in the Tour de Palm Springs Century bike ride back in 2005. It’s barely broken in at 5-years. I rode my bike 113 miles in the sweltering Palm Spring heat and I earned this darn shirt! I should be able to keep it and wear it until it’s but a few threads. It does seem, though, that that day is coming. Which is why I only wear it on ‘special occasions’. I don’t know exactly what qualifies but every once in awhile I get nostalgic and decide to wear it.

Only problem is that it truly is falling apart. I blame it on poor workmanship and low quality cotton more than anything else. A good freebie t-shirt should last longer than a few years. Don’t you agree?

So what does this beauty look like? Promise you won’t laugh! Did you promise? Ok, here it is

See that big gaping hole? The fabric is missing. It’s not torn. Straight up the fabric has disintegrated. I don’t know where it went. It looks like it might have been eaten by bleach but I don’t use bleach. Not for a gem like this anyway. And if you look closely you’ll see several more areas where the shirt is falling apart. But I love it. And what it stands for.

No, it doesn’t stand for ‘Sara, you’re a cheapskate!’ It represents a major accomplishment for me. Riding 113 miles. For a girl who is not athletic at all it was a huge achievement. And wearing this beat up shirt is a weensy reminder that for one moment I did something bigger than I ever dreamed.

Will I die if I toss the shirt? Probably not (if I will, someone please let me know — that’s what the comments are for, to tell me if I’m going to die!). And really, I have a closet full of random t-shirts that I’ve received as bike ride swag (blogger swag is often better, so I feel like I’ve stepped up in life!). But it’s so comfortable. It’s broken in. It’s. It’s. It’s. Yep, you’re right. It is just a crappy shirt. But a crappy shirt I can’t part with yet.

Yes, I did say yet! Which implies that one day I will mourn the loss of the disintegrating freebie shirt. I hope I find a new one by them!

I know I’m not the only one who has one of these clothing items that really needs to see the inside of a dumpster. I’ve come clean, now it’s your turn.

If your spouse/significant other/partner/kids had to pick one thing you had to get rid of what would it be? Don’t leave me standing here in the hall of shame all alone. It will be our own private sisterhood!

Oh, and yes, I do have real pajamas that are nice and comfortable and cozy and not holey. But it’s just not the same.