One of the jobs I had before I do what I do was for a fashion designer. I kept tabs on which factory was producing what garment in what country, when it would ship and to where.
When a job opened that would have been a promotion, I thought maybe by virtue of proximity I would have gleaned enough information about the fashion industry to be a candidate. It’s not like I would have been designing clothing, so maybe they’d overlook the fact I had no degree or experience in fashion. Or any interest in fashion. Or that I dressed like an unpaid college student who got lost in Casual Corner.
“It’s not that I don’t think you could do it,” my boss said, shifting uncomfortably and trying not to look like he was scanning what I was wearing, “it’s that you just don’t have the … the kind of personal approach to fashion we need.”
Even though the guy was totally a douche for saying so, He was also right. The job would have been a tall order for someone who completely lacks the ability to see something hanging on a rack, envision it on a person, and be enthusiastic about the whole process.
The truth is, I hate shopping. Especially for clothes.
I will avoid shopping as long as possible. Recently this has been a problem, since I’ve lost a modest amount of weight (hooray) and now my pants hang on me like my 10th grade homecoming dance date: totally inappropriate, and wildly embarrassing, but I think if I keep a straight face, no one will notice.
The whole aversion to clothes shopping is probably ninety percent of why I work as a consultant. I can wear the same stretchy black dress all week long, provided I don’t drip hot sauce on it and I’m not meeting with the same people as last time I wore it. There’s a teeny, little problem with the fact I have a terrible memory, however, so sometimes I realize mid way through the day I have to switch out a scarf or something before a lunch appointment or I’m totally going to get called out.
Shopping for clothing is painful. I went into a store yesterday thinking: I need a pair of black pants, a pair of khaki pants, a top or two that can go with either one, and maybe a pair of shoes. I’m not sure what size I am anymore and I didn’t want to engage a sales person who was going to upsell me on everything, so I headed for the shoes. Then the only black shoes I could find were ones with stupid bows or sparklies on them or – I swear to God – perfect in every way except little, bronze spikes coming off the heel.
I was kind of screwed then, because I’d only left myself 30 minutes to shop before I had to be home to fix a salad for a dinner party, and the pants I had on looked like something grandma accidentally left in my closet, so I grabbed a few things to try on. All that worked was a stretchy skirt – but it was a black one that could go with the seventy percent of stuff in my closet that is also black, or khaki, grey or white – and a pair of jeans that would need to be hemmed.
And, crap if it wasn’t time to bust-a-move out of there and I hadn’t spent all of the gift card I got for my birthday three months ago (which is the only reason I would visit the part of town we call ‘the heart of darkness’ because it’s near the mall, and nothing, not even light, can escape), so I raced toward the checkout lane hoping I didn’t get Gracie, the little, perkie sales clerk who had already accosted me in the store twice with the offer of signing up for some credit plan that will grant me a ten percent discount in return for permission to send enough email to overwhelm my junk filter.
I grabbed a sweater on the way. I didn’t even try it on. There was a chance it would use up the balance on the gift card if it happened to be something I like, and if it wasn’t, then I’d have to come back anyway, and maybe they have a 30 day exchange policy that would make a return before Christmas a little more urgent.
Here’s the thing: the sweater fit, and looked great, and is the only thing in my closet that isn’t a solid black, brown, grey, khahi or blue. It’s actually all of those colors together, and goes with either the jeans or the skirt I bought. I didn’t even think about it. Totally subliminal shopping. I’ll have to try it again sometime.
And I’ll get to, too. Turns out the sweater wasn’t expensive enough to use up the damn balance on my gift card.