Every time I come back from a shopping spree, I feel punched in the gut, with my self-esteem always going down to the lowest of lows. I cannot really understand how some people love going to the mall and can spend hours on end and have that be how they unwind and have fun. If you are one of those people, please teach me your secrets. I’ve been trying for years and it has never worked.
Because when I go, I can’t find anything to wear that is work-appropriate, easy to move around in, and comfortable to stay on my feet all day long. Or it doesn’t fit since I don’t come in a standard skinny size. Or it will take out a huge cut of my salary. Or the styles are just too out there that I cannot understand why anyone would manufacture them, let alone, leave the house in. Or if I do end up buying something, it will be for my life outside the job, which means it will be worn once in a blue moon.
I try to keep an open mind- I swear I do. But being confronted by one item after the other that clearly wasn’t made for me and finding out that my options are severely limited is unbearable.
The only things I end up getting out of this experience are sore feet, destroyed confidence, and maybe a snack from the supermarket. As for what I actually came for? It doesn’t happen in a single trip, if it ever does. For example, I can’t even buy cute shoes that won’t hurt my back and are not ZX Fluxes.
Fashion is supposed to be the way you express yourself, though it seems to me as though it is moving away from that and turning everyone into lookalikes. But what if I don’t want to wear ripped jeans, plaid shirts, and platform shoes? Or what if I can’t fit in a skimpy dress? Or what if I feel more comfortable in a set of pants and sneakers than I ever will in heels and a skirt?
And it’s not just that.
After years of observing working women and how they dress, I built this image in my head of how professional they look in their blazers, heels, crisp shirts, well-fitted skirts. Their hair is always well-parted and their makeup is always on point. Then I look at myself and find out that I can’t ever match with that image. My hair refuses to part in a single direction. I can’t wear heels for more than the length of a dinner date with my husband. My makeup ends up running all over my face by 3pm. And I have zero sense of style. Case in point: I allow myself to leave the house in ill-fitting, ill-matching clothes.
This makes me wonder if I’m really feminine. I don’t feel that way and I certainly don’t look it if everyone else is an indication. It plays on my deepest insecurities and I don’t really know how to help myself overcome it.
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Shopping and I have a long history of mutual defeat. It wasn’t until I realized that I could take my husband with me to the shops and let him pick clothes off the racks that things became better. He sees something in me I don’t and he as an artful use of colorful language for the opinions of the “fashion industry”. So instead of wanting to cry after shopping, I can usually stand in the middle of store watching him try not to cuss too loudly about the fact that women sizing charts are meaningless. He’s actually delivered explanations to other women’s husband’s at dinner parties for me! Anyway, I’d suggest not shopping alone and finding someone who thinks you’re amazing no matter what you wear to go with you. Somehow the pieces I buy when I’m happy usually look better than what I buy when I’m sad and worn out. We’re never going to fit into the perfect ideal. Perhaps a new definition of feminine is in order? History is full of examples of the moving target of fashion and ideal body styles!