And This is Why Shopping is Hard Work

(Part II of my search for the Dreaded Commencement Attire):

Last week I took an entire day off just to go shopping.

For something new to wear to My Favorite Domer’s Commencement in May.

Less than two months away, mind you.

I figured it would be a good time, seeing as how Easter is right around the corner, and most of the ads that have arrived in my mailbox are pushing dressy clothes.

(And nothing too pressing was on my work-calendar!)

What I didn’t factor in was the frustration level.

You men are lucky. You only have a few basic colors to choose from — navy, black, grey suits — and you can dress them up or down via colorful shirts and ties.

That I could handle. Why, it doesn’t take me any time at all to shop for Domer’s dress clothing, and he always looks good!

But we women have to work at shopping.

We’ve got gazillions of colors. And materials. And styles.

What’s worse is that there’s no rhyme or reason in the sizing department.

So we have to haul two or three different sizes of everything we take into the dressing room. And we have to unzip and zip, unbutton and button, unbelt and belt, unsnap and snap.

Every. Single. Thing.

Men don’t spend a lot of time worrying whether some stranger or even their best friend has the same suit they do.

C’mon, a black suit is a black suit, right?

Not so for women.

Nobody wants any other woman wearing something they own.

Doesn’t matter whether that other woman wears it on a different occasion.

Or with different accessories.

Or if it’s an obviously different size.

Or even if they know they look better in it than the other woman (though that definitely helps, heehee!)

Looking back, it wasn’t always that way. I can remember second-graders being thrilled when their best friend was wearing the exact same dress — on the exact same day!

No more.

Unless we’re adept at sewing (or know someone who is), we stress over shopping for that perfect outfit that will flatter our figure AND be unique!

You’re probably wondering whether I found one.

The answer, sadly, is No.

So I’ll keep hunting.

I’m certain the stores are counting on that!

26 thoughts on “And This is Why Shopping is Hard Work

  1. Debbie,, I had to chuckle. I never find what I am looking for when I’m looking for it! I usually find it when I’m shopping for something else. So go shopping for something else and you’ll probably find it. And Oh, I know what you mean about seeing your outfit on someone else. Good luck finding the perfect outfit that will enhance the proud,happy and lovely Mom you already are 🙂

    • Kathy, you’re sweet to empathize (and sweeter still to send so many compliments my way!). I know I’m going to need lots of luck on finding the right outfit. Funny how we stress over stuff like this when it should be such a pleasant occasion!

  2. Shopping is HARD WORK! Seriously, I went one day last week. I was looking for a suit (pants and blazer) and could not find one, not even at the store I knew usually had them. I ended up buying two blouses to wear with pants and blazers I have. I still want a matching pant/blazer suit though!

    • Besides not finding the styles or colors we want (they keep changing them, don’t they??), we’ve got to juggle the differing sizes, too. One manufacturer cuts one size; another cuts one totally different. Good luck with your search, Suzi — here’s hoping we BOTH find what we’re looking so hard for!!

  3. Fun post, Debbie!

    And you are so right….

    “You men are lucky. You only have a few basic colors to choose from — navy, black, grey suits — and you can dress them up or down via colorful shirts and ties.”

    It is so much easier and less expensive dressing as a man. BUT…I think women’s clothing is more interesting than men’s. Women have so much more variety and cool accessories – the purse, the belt, the hosier, the shoes, the jewelry – which I know can be a hassle, but when you put it all together, you ladies look faaaaaaaabulous!

    Being someone who is in beauty/fashion industry, I know that most designers much prefer designing for women over men, because women are so much more FUN to design for.

    And it’s funny because I would rather wait on women than men because women openly express themselves, so it’s easier to figure out what exactly they want.

    The best to you in finding an outfit!


    • Ron, you’re 100% right! “Women openly express themselves, so it’s easier to figure out what exactly they want.” YES!! That’s one of the challenges in shopping for men, too. For example, Domer (my son) told me he wants a grey suit. Do you realize how many shades of grey there are??? He doesn’t! Ha!

      And I suppose it must be a tad boring appearing in the same kind of clothing ALL the other men have on — but oh, doesn’t it save you money in the long run? I mean, you can take that black suit and accessorize it to your heart’s content, while women wear a dress once and everybody knows “it’s that lady in the red-flowered dress” again!

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, and have a lovely weekend!

    • Bless you for admitting that! You can always tell the poor fellas who have no help (either because they’re divorced or widowed). Usually, the single guys have a mom or girlfriend to help, but those others — unless they’re lucky enough to find a salesclerk who’s knowledgeable! — tend to look “challenged.”

  4. I’ve been trying to remember the last time I’ve been shopping for a dress, let alone a dressy dress. I know it had to be before 1990 – maybe even 1987. That’s not to say I haven’t gotten some new clothing and shoes since then – but when I moved to a world where “dressing up” meant a silk shirt instead of a tee shirt, things got a whole lot easier. 😉

    I do remember the routine, though. That’s part of the reason I’m working so diligently at getting a few pounds off. If I do, I’ll have a whole new wardrobe and may not have to shop again until I die (except for boat shoes).

    • Lucky you! Your incentive for losing a pound or two sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

      I think what makes this MORE challenging is that I work for myself in a tech field, where we really don’t have to dress up. Thus, “dressing” becomes jeans and sneakers! Since I’m obviously more comfortable in separates (and comfort, so they tell me, is the name of the game!), that’s probably what I’ll zero in on. Eventually. I wouldn’t feel right, though, unless I’d given this the ole college try!

      Not having to shop again? Ever? Well, that would be a big challenge! I do like to shop (sometimes), and I think I’d hate having to wear this wardrobe forever! Thanks for your thoughts!

  5. Makes me tired just reading this – I can so relate, Debbie. It’s exhausting; all that trying on and taking off and getting dressed again. I usually haul a gazillion items into the dressing room to avoid the dressing and undressing. And then I often take 2 sizes of the same item in with me because, like you said, there’s not much rhyme or reason to sizing. People who work in retail probably cringe at a shopper like me. I wish you luck – and sorry to hear you didn’t successfully find a winner. Oh well – you still have 2 months!!

    • I’m glad to know I’m not the only one, Barb! What I hate are the stores which limit you to the number of items you can take into the dressing room. Are they kidding??

      Two months sounds like a long time, but sadly, I fear it’s going to pass in a whirl. There are a million and one things that need to be done, and I’m already bored with the whole shopping-thing! And once Easter has passed, I’m afraid the stores will bring out the real summery clothing — shorts, flip-flops, tank tops — things I dare NOT wear to Commencement! Grrrrr!

  6. Poor Debbie! Shopping is not for the faint of heart! However, I have faith that you shall overcome all obstacles and find the perfect smashing outfit. So true about men…and on top of it they seldom have bad hair days.

    • Thanks for sympathizing, Kb. Domer told me he saw some dads at last year’s Commencement who looked like Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Aire — and I know I won’t look that awful, haha!

      As for the bad hair day? Well, that kind of depends on South Bend’s weather. I guess I’m lucky that mine is in layers, so the messier it looks, the better!!

  7. I had exactly the same problem when shopping for Wendy’s daughter’s wedding last fall. It’s hard to find just the right thing, especially because we don’t want to look like we’re trying to be 20 again, and we don’t want to look too matronly, and we don’t want to look like everyone else…I wish you luck!

    • Karen, thanks for your thoughts. That’s exactly right — we don’t want to look 20 again, nor do we want to appear matronly. We want to be stylish (but not necessarily “high fashion”). It’s so challenging, but perhaps that’s the key — we grit our teeth and refuse to back down from the challenge, then somehow it all comes together. I appreciate your encouraging words!

  8. I vote for the suite dressed up with a fancy blouse. Then if it’s cold you put the suite jacket on and if it’s warm you take the suite jacket off. Plus you look great. But seriously, I hope you find exactly what you’re looking for at the very next store!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Dawn — and your suggestions! You’re probably onto something, too, since the weather is so unpredictable. I imagine the parents last year were complaining about the heat; hard to please everybody, huh?!!

  9. Debbie, my daughter’s graduation is in June and I’ve been busy buying airline tickets, booking hotel, etc, that i haven’t given a second thought as to what I’ll wear. But with the tab I’m accumulating (on my credit card) for all the travel expenses I doubt very much there’s a new dress in my future. 😉

    • Oh, Monica, isn’t that the truth? Your trip will be way more expensive than mine because it’s so much farther, but I’m already racking up a small bundle, thanks to meals and housing. At least you can probably look forward to calmer, warmer weather — just knowing I might have to sit in that stadium under an insulated rain poncho is enough to make me go grrrr!

  10. Told you that you can shop in my closet! I have lots of sizes, colors, fabrics and styles…offer still stands! Love you and Happy Easter, my sis

    Sent from my iPad

  11. I’m sorry you haven’t found your dress yet. It is hard to find something unique, but still fit all the other requirements needed of a commencement dress. You’re right – I remember how exciting it was showing up at school wearing the same thing as someone else. I have a few shirts that I bought on sale (online)…a woman at work apparently shops the same sales, so it’s only a matter of time until we wear the same shirt on the same day. I keep a sweater in my drawer for that day 🙂 Good luck – I hope you find the right dress soon!

    • Isn’t it funny how what seemed cool as kids no longer does?! And when we were little, if we happened to wear the same item of clothing that the “popular girls” did — on the same day, no less — why, that was a bit of Heaven, ha! Good for you, tucking a cover-up sweater nearby, just in case!

  12. I feel your pain, Debbie. I dread shopping for dresses. I don’t know what it is about them that is so difficult but I never seem to find something that’s just right… and unique. I hope you find something soon. (Do you have Herberger’s near you? I’ve had good luck there lately.)

    • I’d never heard of Herberger’s, so I Googled it and learned it’s in a family of stores. We have Carson’s and Bergner’s here, and you’re right — they have lovely things. In fact, I just bought a jacket there the other day. I’m leaning toward separates — those shift dresses that are in style right now are cute, but I think it’d be a challenge going up and down the stadium stairs in them!!

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