Monday, February 24, 2014

on mall shopping

This weekend was the first weekend in seven weeks where I actually got to have a weekend as I don't have an exam this week. Most of my friends went home or had exams to study for, so I decided to drive up to Buffalo to go shopping by myself. All of last week I was really looking forward to it - just driving for a few hours by myself listening to music, and then shopping as long as my heart desired.

Turns out my heart desired shopping for about an hour. I was just so over the entire experience after going into the fourth store and hating everything offered. I feel like everything is currently neon, cropped, faded, too drapey, too tight, too short. I think I'm too picky now. If it doesn't look exactly like I want it to, I just don't buy it. Part of the problem was that I spent a little bit of time before leaving for the mall going through my closet, and taking out a bunch of items to donate. I was mad at myself for having spent that money on clothes I wasn't wearing, so I was feeling particularly on edge about spending more money on more clothes that (in my head), I wasn't going to like in a few months time.

In addition, I'm at the point where I'm bored with my closet, buying clothes, and finding new ways to wear things. A huge part of that is the dress code - it's just not particularly that fun to wear black pants or pencil skirts with tights all the time. I'm just bored with finding "fun" ways to wear clothes, even though it's still boring in the end. The weather makes it difficult to wear a large portion of the items in my closet so I end up wearing the same 5 pieces over and over again. I feel like I can't step too far out of the conventional way of dressing because of my body shape - everything needs to be a bit more fitted so that I don't lose the shape I have, but I can't go too tight without everything...being too tight. I wish I could pull of the drapey look, the tomboy look, the effortlessly put together look. But I just can't. So I have to have rules for myself when it comes to buying clothes - no sleeveless things unless I know I will wear it with a cardigan, nothing with too round of a neckline, nothing that doesn't go in at the waist, nothing that cuts me off at my widest points. It helps when it comes to narrowing down things to try on, but it also leaves me with a pretty boring and "same same same" kind of wardrobe. It's almost like there isn't any fun left in it - it's just about finding what looks the most flattering, what can be worn as many ways as possible, and what will have the longest shelf life.

So with all of those thoughts in the back of my head, shopping just wasn't going to go well.

I started off at Gap because I almost always find something there to love. I tried on this tee, and while i liked the curved hem and longer sleeves (WHY does every store insist on having little tiny cap sleeves for tees), I wasn't sold on the curved neckline and different stripes on the arms. Plus it was not worth the $26 it was going for. I also tried on these flats that I saw on Jessica, and although I really liked them, I wasn't going to spend $40 on them when I knew I could get them for less during their weekly promotions.

Next was a bunch of returns at Forever 21 where I found nothing I liked, which is not shocking as that store really is just about everything I dislike about mall clothes. I was hoping the Love 21 section would have at least a few cute things to try on, but turns out that long frayed sweaters and mini skirts are what are appropriate for 20-somethings nowadays. So...that's a nope. Then I went to the opposite side of dressing and stopped at Banana Republic to return both this top and this top as they both looked absolutely horrendous on. I did a few laps after the returns, but was bored by the sleeveless work dresses and too short shirts.

I went to Loft next, where I have had a lot of luck the last few times - I wear my striped top and poppy shirt all the time. I was really hoping to love this shirt that I saw in a promotional email last week, but I knew from just looking at it on the rack that it wasn't going to work - it was too sheer, wrinkly, and short. Kind of a bummer as it looks so cute online. I also tried on this scalloped dress just for the hell of it, Cute in theory, not cute on me.
loft scalloped bodice dress
In the end, I walked out of the mall with this shirt (that I already own in pink) that I know I'll wear all the time, and freshly painted toes. I ended up having more luck at the local Target than I did at the mall when I found these adorable cap-toed flats. I'm not usually a bit Target shoe person, but these were just too dang cute to pass up (see them on instagram here).

I'm at a place now where I feel like I need to branch out more when it comes to buying clothes. I've always been a "mall girl" because that's all I've ever really known. I never grew up around boutiques or was a huge online shopper if I couldn't return it in store. But maybe to branch out of my clothing rut, I need to take a step back from the mall and try other things. Do you have any places you love that I haven't tried? I'm definitely open to suggestions!