The Frustrating Dynamics of Clothes Shopping

Clothes… my God, who in the name of all that is sane and rational needs them? To me, clothes shopping is nothing more than a huge chunk of pure unabashed self torture. I avoid the malls and boutiques much like the vampires from ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ avoid a wooden stake or a big ol’ hunk of cheesy garlic bread. I can certainly empathize with an undead one’s dreadful fear of mirrors and bright lights. Especially those distorted dressing room fun house mirrors, with the horrific lighting that leaves every woman swearing off food for the next five to ten years.

Maybe I should just settle for a gaudy black cape with a big hood, something medieval yet proudly American, although it would probably already be an established designer line… i.e. Tommy Hillfiger’s “The American Executioner” line. If we could clothes shop, the same way we grocery shop, it would be so damn simple. The whole dynamic would change for the better, and I for one would applaud the change in a 60 second solo standing ovation. Imagine just loading up the cart with nothing but the essentials, and then heading off to tackle the big issues… stuff like figuring out what’s really in those Cheese Doodles.

Sure, I’ve tried clothes shopping through catalogs, online and even over the phone… although once, by accident, I called a phone sex line. Imagine my surprise when the guy on the other end of the phone asked what sort of underwear I was wearing… hey… I just assumed it was an underwear store… and that they offered some mighty up friendly service. Okay, so I was bored.

Anyway… it ALWAYS costs me an absolute fortune in return shipping when the stuff that looked so strikingly wonderful on those gorgeously endowed models, doesn’t quite position itself the same way on a real human body, like mine. Catalog shopping reminds me a lot of playing with paper dolls. Remember how exceptional the paper outfits with the tabs looked just prior to opening the package? But they never quite fit the paper doll like you hoped they would, no matter how hard you tried to fold those damn tabs, something always tore.

Even shopping for something as simple as a pair of jeans is so complicated. There are so many brands and styles, with so many different sizing dimensions and numbers, you practically have to master geometry to figure out which jeans should fit your particular shape. And when you finally figure out the size of the jeans you require, you know you will be able to find every other brand, style and size but the one you happen to be looking for. I call it “the bad karma” of selection.

When I was in college, one of my friends had the greatest pair of jeans in the universe. I swear those things were magical. I mean, they might have even cooked dinner for her. Even though my friends and I had totally different shapes, and of course, we were all different heights, these things looked good on all of us. No kidding. It didn’t matter who wore them, they fit perfectly. I’m offering a humongous reward to anyone that can locate those jeans. I can’t for the life of me remember who made them. Back then remembering jeans was like remembering the name of the cute foreign exchange student who sat across from you every other Wednesday. There were Sergio Valentes, Jordache… and God knows who else…

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not usually hip to the latest fashions. What’s the best way to find out exactly what’s in? Forget the damn fashion magazines. Especially those featuring celebrities. Fame is like having a license that states for the record, “I can now dress in the most ridiculous outfits I can pluck off the rack while in a drunken stupor… and pretend that I would really wear these same outfits out in public.”

For some not so modest celebrities, less is, without argument, much less, than we should ever be subjected to. Somewhere along the way, fashion designers convinced celebrities that less is more, and the celebrities believed them. They prance around like the fabled Emperor, the one without clothes, pretending to be the epitome of style. Could it be that fame really does travel straight to their inflatable heads, affecting the part of the brain that rationalizes bad taste? The fashion statements some celebs try to make at those popular award ceremonies should not be punctuated. Not for being too revealing, but for being— and there is no other way for me to say this… ugly.

If you own some ugly clothes, hang on to them for a while. In a few years they’ll probably be the latest in fashion, and you’ll be looking trendy and cool if you ever make it to the Oscars. Last but not least, bathing suit shopping is without question, the worst punishment a woman can endure and what most guys pay little or no attention to. Guys will wear anything to the beach. You don’t believe me? Pay attention to the exact number of overweight men who select the skin tight Speedos as their beach attire of choice. Women, on the other hand, would rather die first than reveal cellulite. Oh well… I’m heading for the grocery store. At least there I can sample stuff on Triscuit wafers without having to activate my gym membership when I return home.

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~ by upbeatmag on January 7, 2009.

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