15 October 2016
Last Friday night I went to the mall, which is something I do not typically do, standing out among the high school kids traveling in packs and the young families with their mighty strollers, looking for a place to park them in the crowed pizza restaurant.
I went to the mall because I couldn’t stand my work clothes any more, my man suits. After my last clothing post I had gone to the fabric store and purchased two and three-quarters yards of 100% worsted wool, 60″ width, $22.50 a yard. The wool sits in the bottom drawer of my dresser because I cannot bring myself to cut out the pattern for the dress because I know that it would always look homemade.
Shopping for clothes for myself has never been enjoyable. It started when I grew faster than all my friends and had to shop in the misses department when they were still in juniors. Or maybe it started when I shopped with my mother, who never asked me what I liked. Or maybe the real issue was that I felt ugly and awkward and that I didn’t belong. It was complicated by all the things that there are in the department store, racks and racks of cloth and colors and styles and it all blurs together in my head and I want to leave.
However, last night was a successful shopping excursion, followed by another one today, and now I have clothes for at least five days of work. The shopping expedition was successful because:
- I felt like and acted as if I belonged in the store. I accepted help, and at one store it was from a young, tall, slim blond man and I said to myself, “Jule, maybe you’ve never before encountered a male salesperson in a women’s department but since he’s here he must really like clothes and he will be able to help you.” And he did.
- I told the salesperson (Devin) what I wanted–longer tunic jackets to wear to work. We agreed that they could be knit but they needed to have some structure, some heft. I started to tell him what colors I look good in and as I watched his smile start to spread across his face I could tell that he already knew.
- Because I now understand so much about clothing (I told Devin this, I told him I have been studying clothing), I was able to waste no time looking at things that weren’t right for work or weren’t right for my body. I wouldn’t even look at a floral.
- Because I told myself that I deserve to look nice and have nice clothes, I spent time trying on everything Devin said I should try and I was open minded about everything.
- When I looked at myself in the mirror, I really looked. I took my time. I asked myself how I felt and I paid attention to the answer.
After I bought the shoes, I took the escalator back upstairs to show Devin, to make sure they would go with what I had bought. He said they were fine and the pair that I liked better, he did too. As I was taking the escalator back down, Devin called out, “No more suits!” and I hollered back, “No more man suits!”
Because Friday night was so successful (2 jackets, 2 pairs of pants, 2 blouses to wear with the jackets, 2 pairs of shoes), I went out again on Saturday and repeated the process, this time sort of on my own, testing out what I had learned the night before. I did ask the salesperson (Danielle) what she thought as a safe guard. She told me the dress was not too small and that I should not go up a size. It was another productive expedition (2 dresses, 1 jacket, 1 vest, 1 skirt, 1 top to wear under the vest, 1 pair of pants, socks, tights).
It feels good to know what I want, to know what looks good on me. It makes me feel powerful.
PS: I wrote for 2 hours today.