Shopping For Summer Clothes

We all know by now that I am a bit anxiety ridden, particularly at the mall. I shop approximately two times a year. Once for winter clothing. Once for fall clothing. The last time I ventured into a shopping situation I practically urinated on the floor of the Gap.

Fashion is great. I think. Maybe.

It’s just that I find the process of dressing a body that is genetically built to be in Eastern Europe picking potatoes a bit challenging.

Where is the catalog for my body type?

Today it was about 90 degrees in Portland. The heat, combined with a lovely gift card sent by the in-laws with the message: Keep being your own kind of beautiful! (hmm) landed me in the Gap.

I was awkwardly trying to pull a t-shirt from the middle of a meticulously folded stack of blue t-shirts when a denim clad boy approached me with a stun gun.

Hi! Can I help you find anything? 

OH goodness so sorry I just messed up your folding I’m not sure what I want so I’ll just browse, I muttered awkwardly while shaking off the desire to cling to his leg and weep while being dragged around the store.

I then scurried off to the closest wall, grabbed one pair of shorts in two sizes, a handful of shirts in three different sizes and a variety of colors, and a mumu kaftan maxi dress with weird stripes. Keeping a low profile, I entered a dressing room.

With the door closed securely behind me I stripped down to my underwear and started grooving to the Black Eyed Peas.

It was then that I was blinded by a deadly trifecta: bright lights, a full-length mirror, and a lumpy white figure doing The Sprinkler with sad breasts swinging side to side.

Jesus Mary and Josephina Marion Horowitz! 

There I was, face to face with what can only be described a disaster of epic proportions: The Pale Unexercised & Unexamined Winter Body.

I wanted to avert my eyes, but there was no avoiding what was before me.

I took it all in.

The feet. Heels callused, cracking. Red toenail polish chipped and flaking.

Two impressively long leg hairs above my ankle. Shaved legs, white with bumpy red patches. One greenish blue bruise on a shin.


Pouchy belly.

One shaven armpit. One hairy armpit.

Various scars.

The whole picture: barbaric.

What the? I’m supposed to put this mess in summer clothes? 

It was then that I decided that malls should come equipped with social workers to guide people through this process. Or at the very least someone should be handing out tranquilizers.

As I walked back to my car (with a pair of oddly fitting boyfriend denim shorts and two of t-shirts), I decided that though, yes, the old gal can use a tune-up, it’s not my body that’s the problem it’s the fucking clothes. I’m just living in the wrong era.

I could totally rock a peplos or a chiton.

68 thoughts on “Shopping For Summer Clothes

  1. Just so you know – we do The Sprinkler daily in our house, it’s actually Marius’ signature move. I totally agree with you that it’s the clothes. All I wanna wear is a toga – and go to a toga party!

  2. Sadly, I think, most of us feel this way. But at least you had nail polish on. I haven’t been able to paint my toenails since Summer 2011, and probably aren’t even going to bother this year.

    • Why haven’t you been able to paint them, Stephanie? I think probably going with no polish is better than looking like a two-penny hooker with chipped up nails!

  3. How is it that you crawl into my brain like that? I swear that sometimes you’re my inner voice…in a blog…that isn’t mine…you get the drift.

  4. I had the same experience last week. I came out of the change room and the clerk asked if I was taking anything today. I handed her my try ons and said “No, these all seem to have shrunk as I walked from the rack to the change room.” It took her a minute. 8sigh*

  5. While this is hilarious, it makes me sad. I try to love my lumpy momma body. My husband does and my kids do. It IS possible to find clothes for these great middle aged bodies, but not in the Gap!! I have charge cards at Ann Taylor and JJill, which doesn’t always work, esp. Ann Taylor with skinny mini models in their catalogues, but JJill specializes in fashionable sacks. They have great bargains online and they have stores as well. I don’t know if you were looking for advice or not, but I think you look great in all your photos. Clothes CAN fit!!

    • Thanks, Alice! I should probably branch out to other stores that cater to middle aged bodies. Maybe I haven’t fully embraced that the 41 year old body is a vastly different animal than the 24 year old body. I do love my body (as does my husband), so I should shop places that make me feel good about myself :) xoxo

  6. The pain: I feel it. Those mirrors and lights are EVIL. What in the world are they thinking when they light these places???

    As a result, two words I have discovered for times I’m not obliged to office-dress: Kurta. Leggings.

    Kurtas even go over bathing suits until I can fling it off and hurl myself at the water before it’s possible for spectators to focus. ;^)

    • Kurta. Hmmmm. I must investigate!

      If the people who design the lighting in dressing rooms think that seeing one’s flesh like that will make them feel bad enough to purchase a ton of clothing they are wrong. Hmph.

  7. Knee-length or ankle-length skirts and a slightly fitted tee, flip-flops for the feet. It’s a uniform. I do not stray. Well, if I could find them in my heap of laundry. Until then, it’s the one pair of khakis I have been wearing through 8 seasons and four years. I can relate. I have winter-been-an-online-student-for-two-years-and-even-though-I graduated-I-am-very-comfortable-here body with potato farmer ancestors. Love this post immensely and with affection deeper than the cracks in my heels.

    • Kimberly, I love the way skirts look on other people but I haven’t found a good style/shape/length for the short & slightly stocky. Also, the thigh rub really irritates me ;0 Any suggestions, oh dear one?

  8. I think I’m just going to quickly succumb to the inevitable and start wearing caftans. Because why not?

    • Bridget, I was seriously considering trying on the men’s shorts. They are so much less evil. I’d like to have a word with the fashion industry. They are to blame!

  9. I wear dresses and skirts. That is all. I hate shorts. In fact, I hate pants, but in the winter at least I can cover up the mushy middle with a sweater. Not so much in the summer.

    Also? I go to the Gap only. ONLY.

    • Katie, I noticed you were wearing a cute dress in your Senior Portrait retrospective blog post. Adorable. As always! I guess I should try some of the Gap dresses and skirts…

  10. Oh my goodness so funny! I’ve had the same feelings while shopping post baby and for the new season. When are we too old for short? Are we there? Have we passed it already?

    • Nina, I can’t decide what I “should” be wearing these days. It’s an interesting dilemma. You & I both know those women who are still shopping in Forever 21 and need to be gently told to stop. Let me know if you figure this one out!

  11. Bwahahaha! Oh honey, it’s all good. I think you need to get thee out of the Gap. Anne Taylor Loft embraces the soft dressing room light. And they might even have seersucker chitons. Ellen

  12. I think clothes designers make super cute clothes just so women with bodies that aren’t perfect can feel even less so. lol. I agree though…about rocking a different time period…I could totally rock some 80’s parachute pants…and after rocking the 80’s era I would never feel ashamed about my clothes again!

  13. This is why I LOVE YOU!
    We should shop together! The last time I actually shopped, the perky clerk asked me to come out and have a “looksy”. She went silent when I yelled “I am never coming out…never.” Those @#$% mirrors are the work of the devil.

    • Pamela, I just need to find a few on-line options that have really easy return/exchange policies and I’m IN. I hate shopping. And now the stores are are run by children. What do they know about a 3 baby body?

  14. I think everyone should get a drink upon entering a clothing store. Here is your very loaded drink to guide you through a thoroughly confusing and disorienting experience.
    I love shopping, but there are day where I could use a little something to get me through, especially if it’s a poorly lit dressing room – where you feel like you’re in prison. Those rooms terrify me.
    Love you!!

  15. I’ve been through that “examining the unexamined” moment. Usually in a Kohl’s. I don’t let it last long because I just assume that the camera behind the mirror has two jovial ladies laughing their asses off at my stretch marks and belly apron. And since you didn’t mention unshaven/waxed pubis, I can only assume that you are blessed with a natural runway-style hairline. I’m quite sure there is a screenshot of security footage of me in Granny Panties with bush sprouting from either side of the elastic. If you find it on Flickr, please let me know. I’d like to use it as my FB profile photo.

  16. I hate shopping for clothes in general. Whenever I go to a store, one of a few things always happens. A.) I’m with my husband who I have an increasingly difficult time shopping with. He just makes me feel awkward and there’s no better way to explain it without writing a novel for a comment. B.) There’s some group of horrendously skinny high school girls talking about how disgusting they look with their “flabby thighs” & “ghost white skin” showing while I stand and gawk at them wondering if they’re looking in a different mirror than I am – like those mirrored houses they put up at carnivals that distort your shape with every pass. Either that or they’re high because there’s no way we’re looking at the same perfect body. It makes me want to punch them in the face & hogtie them with their bra’s for good measure. In short, I feel infuriatingly self-conscious so I try to avoid actual clothes shopping altogether. Online sales are my friend :)

  17. “body that is genetically built to be in Eastern Europe picking potatoes a bit challenging.” <— that might the funniest thing I've read all month. LOVED this post. Hilarious.

  18. I just went jeans shopping. For the first time I bought a pair that fit me instead of a pair of the size that I am. Or rather used to be. Depressing. But While in dressing room i realized I applied mascara to only one eye. Yep.
    I am totally time traveling with you if you will have me!

  19. Pinwheels & Poppies pointed me your way. I was enjoying reading posts even before I saw reference to Portland, which made me think, “Portland, Oregon or Portland, Maine?” Your bio clarified and I rejoiced. I may live in SoCal now, but Oregon is still near and dear to me. And even nearer this weekend! Fortunately, no shopping is scheduled to occur. :D

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