|Image found on this great blog post.|
(Sorry about the very-thin model...)
I was staring at the curtain covering my bathroom mirror, when something occurred to me: this curtain is really ugly! It wasn't even a curtain, really. M had (lovingly) MacGyvered a navy blue bed sheet into a quasi-curtain, and hung it from the light fixture above our sink. We are currently sub-letting a place, and have felt too nervous to put up proper curtains, since they are typically accompanied by a curtain rod and (eek!) several holes in the wall. Holes-the-wall be damned!, I thought, I'm going to go find me a nice-looking curtain. McGyver can figure out what to do with it when he gets home from work tonight...
And so it started. I headed out for what I thought would be a quick trip to ROSS - you know, of the "Dress for Less!" variety. (The "dress for less" part should have been my first clue that the trip wouldn't end with curtains.)
Free People hangtags dangling off a scintillating display of shirts. (FYI - I'm a bit of a brand name junkie when it comes to discount shopping. I'm no $$$$$ designer-snob, but I'd rather a pay $20 for a high-quality shirt that typically costs $60, than $5 for a poorly-made throwaway piece. I trust certain brands more than others to deliver on this.)
Anyhoo... I made a snap decision to amble (ahem, beeline) over to the "New Arrivals!" rack and started digging. With clothing size so un-standardized (please read my unwritten dissertation for more on this topic, someday), I had to work my way through everything ranging from "S" to "L", all-the-while scoping styles, speculating on size, feeling fabrics, surveying silhouette, and computing costs. I emerged with a dozen "potentials". Other than not looking into mirrors on the shop floor, things weren't going much differently than my usual (mirror-full) shopping habits. But what next?
I held potential purchases in my tiring arms, and pondered: Should I venture to the land of mirrors (i.e., the fitting rooms)? Or, should I BUY IT ALL!!! (tempting), and try things on at home to get feedback from M or my sister? Basic math answered the quandary: I couldn't afford to charge $400 on my debit card. I had to filter out at least half of my options, if not more. Off to the fitting rooms I went!
I came up with a simple 3-part dressing room strategy on my way: (1) I wouldn't face the mirrors in my fitting room, (2) I would immediately disqualify anything that felt even remotely tight, (3) if too many garments still remained after step 2, I would ask for 2nd opinions from staff and/or other shoppers.
I proceeded. After getting a number card from an apathetic teenaged sales associate, I ducked into the nearest fitting room. I hung everything at the back of the room (to avoid facing the mirror) and started trying things on.
3 tops were too tight, and I eliminated 2 others using my well-honed instincts for style:price ratio. Only one top - a tank from Free People, displaying the phrase "YOU ARE BEA-UTI-FUL" (see photo at top of post) - was a definite yes. With 6 shirts remaining in the undecided category, I poked my head out of the curtain to assess my options for a 2nd opinion. No other shoppers. Bummer.
Velvet - I shuffled out to see if I could drag an opinion out of Ms. Dispassionate in the front. I was skeptical. Sure enough, after catching the young woman's attention (distracting her from a listless stare into space), I asked "umm, does this look okay?" She blinked, looked at me for a split second, and said "sure." Sure?!?! That's it??! Bummer again.
Sighing, I assessed the damage and decided to bring the remaining 7 shirts home.
I felt mostly pleased by my choices. Yet, not being able to see myself wearing them was REALLY UNSATISFYING. It felt like reading a great book in which the pages narrating the climax had been torn out. (The $250 bill on the last page of this particular book was further disheartening, particularly since only $15 of it went toward new curtains).
I thought to myself: Shit. is this how I'm going to feel on my wedding day??? Too depressing. I decided to get the heck out of ROSS and deal with that fear another time.
Well.... fast forward to a few days later, and things have worked themselves out, as far as the ROSS shirts go. My sister helped me weed through the offerings: 3 shirts returned, 4 kept. They include: #1 the uber-comfy yellow T-shirt from Velvet, #2 her purple twin, and #3 a second tank (again, from Free People, shown here). I think I love all of them!
Finally, even though my sister thinks it's hilarious that the letters "U T I" are positioned directly over my bladder (Ha. Ha. Ha.), my favorite "keep" is the "YOU ARE BEA-UTI-FUL" top. Now, if only I could get everybody else to wear them so I can enjoy the compliment!
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