Monday, April 02, 2007

Mallrat I'm not

Before I begin:

My apologies for the inconsistent blogging. I just realized that my last blog was quite depressing; with no follow-up, I'm sure most of you have assumed that I've plunged into an isolating, anti-blogging depression. I assure you, my week got better and I've not had any of my work deleted by L.A. since last Monday.

Back to today:

A friend at work and I were discussing my perpetual shopping dilemmas. I am in such desperate need of a wardrobe that, upon entering any shopping centre, I get overwhelmed. If I look at pants, my brain gets obsessed with the fact that I have no shoes to wear the pants with. Or shirts. And if I look at shirts, I can't get over the absence of a good bra. Or necklace. And if I look at necklaces, I get all depressed because there's no point buying jewelry when there's nothing to wear it with. And so I go home empty-handed. On top of these mental blocks, my body seems to be half a size bigger or smaller than clothing is designed for. And if I were to gain or lose that perfect half size, my legs and arms would still be abnormally orangutan-like, my feet would still have arches that seem to curve away in repulsion from all footwear options, and my shoulders would still better suit a linebacker.

Our shopping conversation ended with a very simple conclusion: I am Woody Allen at the mall. The calm, laid-back, intelligent woman that I can sometimes pass for morphs into a neurotic, indecisive, jittery mess. (And those changing-room mirrors screw with my body image to the point where Woody and I could be twins).

So today, after work, I took a deep breath and made myself shop. I was not allowed to leave the mall without buying something. Which means that I tried on piles of clothing, almost putting my back out with the awkward neck- and armholes that didn't align with the actual positions of my neck and arms. I tried on long, baggy sweater dresses that made me look like a ballet dancer who let herself go. I tried on short little jumpers that made me look like I haven't been shopping since the third grade.

I have too much personal style to wear the crazy trends. Nothing looks like me. And my style isn't flamboyant by any means. It's just not uber-trendy, super-tight, hip-hop-video ready. Maybe I watch too much America's Next Top Model, but as I was shopping I kept trying to accurately define in a catchy soundbite what my style is. I think I got it:

My personal style is Audrey Hepburn at camp.

Yep, that's me. I like classic, well-made, well-fitted clothing. I like scarves, solid colors and tasteful stripes. I don't like things that only work for one season. But I'm not glamorous enough to be a true Audrey. I wear neutrals. Brown is my obsession. I like a little ruggedness: the odd hoodie, chunky sweaters and khaki capris. So I'm Audrey at camp.

It took four agonizing hours (and $150), but I came home with four shirts, two tanks, a bracelet and three pairs of socks. No pants, no shoes, no bra. But at least it's a start.

I may be the only girl on the planet who has to convince herself to shop more often....


Andrea said...

Deeners, I will take you shopping! I used to work in a multitude of clothing stores, and I kind of have a knack for picking out stuff that looks good on people. Also, lately I've been on this positive thinking kick, and I'm finding it really works. My suggestion, your comments about your 'orangutan' arms, the half size dilemmas etc etc. It's a self full-filling prophecy. You don't go into a mall thinking you won't find anything, you visualize that you will find exactly what you want. It does work, I swear! Plus your body type isn't that far off from mine, so if I can find something, you can find it!!!

I'll see you soon!

nadine said...

You are now my stylist. I'm holding you to that offer :)

It's true about the attitude thing. When I'm upbeat and inspired, I do much better.

Can't wait to see you. And shop with you. And watch way too many movies with you....

Beth said...

i need shopping help too... good for you getting out there and spending $ though. i'm sure you'll be looking good tomorrow at work!

michael lewis said...


I actually know a stylist. She lives in Toronto, not too far from you, and she loves to shop.

I'll be in Toronto in a couple weeks visiting her, and knowing that she will most definitely take (...drag...) me shopping, perhaps you should come along and balance it all out.

Oh, did I mention? The stylist is my g-f.

nadine said...


You comment has so much information in it!

1. You know a stylist.
2. You're dating someone.
3. You're dating a stylist.
4. You're coming to Toronto.

So much to absorb :)