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Thoughts For Thursday: Why I Hate Clothes Shopping

June 2, 2011 · 40 comments

in Commentary

I was reading a post over at Squirreler’s about shoes, and the article mentioned how women require more shoes than men.

I started thinking about all the TV shows and movies I have watched that showed women just loving their shoes, and needing new pairs very regularly.  I then thought about my own closet.  I have some shoes and some clothes, but I do not require a walk-in closet to hold my ‘vast’ wardrobe.  I would love to magically have racks of nice clothes to choose from each day, but I do not.  Mainly, because I cannot stand clothes shopping.  My reasons are as follows:

  1. I am cheap. I cannot bring myself to pay full price for anything, and nice shirts are very hard to come by at a decent price.  I quite often check the sales racks at certain stores, but quite often, “extra small” is the only size left in the clothes I like.   (News flash:  I have not been an extra small size for about 25 years.)
  2. I have no torso. I am 5 foot 2, which is considered short.  However, I am not only short, but I am disproportionate.  Being torso-less means that normal length shirts are abnormally long on me, and are not the most flattering.  So, I have to try on a million shirts whenever I shop to find one that looks good.  I could shop more frequently in the petite section, but quite often, petite clothes are designed to appeal to the older crowd.   I may not be a style maven, but I do know that I don’t want to wear a shirt with strawberries embroidered on the front.
  3. I can’t find pants that fit. Since my torso is so short, my legs are a little longer.  However, many petite sized pants are too short, and normal length pants are too long.  Sure, I could have pants altered, but that is way too much work.
  4. I am ‘Style-Blind’. Quite often, I will overhear conversations between women, and they will be discussing the latest styles for the season.  I was not born with a style-gene, so these conversations are totally lost on me.  I am fine with the very basics, but I have no confidence in my ability to pull off some unique combination of clothes that some other people could probably make look great.  I know not to match stripes with polka dots (good thing I hate both), but that is about where my knowledge ends.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on how to wear fashionable boots.
  5. Dressing room mirrors and lighting. This needs no further explanation.

What about you?  Are you a person that just loves to shop?  Would you be miserable without a walk-in closet?

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Niki June 2, 2011 at 7:08 am

I don’t care for clothes shopping either and I only have 4 pairs of shoes. Although I might be living vicariously through my daughter’s wardrobe. I like to buy my children clothes.
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Oh, buying children’s clothes is so much more fun. I could look at an outfit and think ‘how cute’ and would then associate good memories with it. If I find something for myself and think ‘how cute’, I can guarantee it will not fit.

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Nicole June 2, 2011 at 7:41 am

I also hate shopping. Partly for the reasons you list and partly because it just takes so much time. If I were wealthy and had the same amount of free time I do now I would probably pay a shopper to pick things out and stuff. Maybe I’d have a dress form made my size. :)

I also have 4 pairs of shoes– two casual dress (black and brown), two comfy but fancy sandal (black and brown). I still need to replace the blacks since they’re no longer as comfy as they once were.

When I do go shopping I tend to buy like $600 worth of stuff all at once, just replacing things I need. We don’t buy any kids clothes except the occasional uniform because the in-laws love buying kids clothes. I’m assuming that at some point they’ll slow down as ze gets larger and the clothing less adorable.
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm

How nice to have relatives that buy your kid’s clothes! You are right, that will probably slow down when your child gets older. Plus, it is harder to find the right fit once they get bigger, especially with pants.

I would love one of those mannequins that is my size and someone else could shop for me. However, it would need to be an expandable, contractible mannequin, depending on how much I exercise… :)

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Little House June 2, 2011 at 9:56 am

I also despise shopping. I have a really hard time matching items and finding things that fit. (I’m 5′ 2″ as well and shaped like a bell.) My husband, who’s very fashion savvy, tells me I look like I rolled out of a salvation army most days. However, he knows how much I hate shopping and stops picking on me when I remind him of how much I save annually on not being a shopaholic. I’ve gotten to the point where I just don’t care about fashion. ;)
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Little House: I would wear a sweatshirt and comfy shorts/pants every single day if I could. Not to mention I wouldn’t feel as bad when I spilled something on the shirt either.

It’s funny how you almost have role-reversal at your house. My husband hates shopping even more than I do. Again, size is the issue. (He is on the shorter side…)

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retirebyforty June 2, 2011 at 11:24 am

Mrs. RB40 went shopping by herself yesterday and got a pair of khaki. Usually we go shopping together and after 10 minutes I’m done and bugging her to leave. heh heh. :D
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm

RB40- can I guess that you stayed home with the baby when Mrs. RB40 went out shopping?

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Marie at familymoneyvalues June 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Used to love to shop – when I was a size 6! Not any more.
Since I never throw anything away, a walk in closet might come in handy!
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I too would love to revisit the size 6 section of clothing stores. I don’t know if I ever will either. I will say I didn’t enjoy the shopping when I was that size either. I think my body just isn’t the right shape!

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krantcents June 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm

I thought all women enjoyed shopping! As a male, I do not enjoy shopping, but I hat paying retail even more! I use the Internet to help locate the lowest price. I like high quality clothes and things, but hate paying full price. It becomes a game as to how much I can get off the retail price. If I cannot get a discount or enough off, I rethink if I want it or not.
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Nicole June 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

All women are just as identical as all men.
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Linda June 2, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Love this! Heh, heh!
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Krant- I can guarantee that not all women love to shop. (Although I do know many women that do use it as a reward, or an emotional outlet.)

I am getting so cheap that I am walking away from things I really need because of the price. I wait and wait for that sale.

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Squirrelers June 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm

As you might imagine (and as I mentioned in the post, actually), I’m not a huge fan of shopping. A lot of shopping I view as a necessity, like taking out the trash. Not fun, but it has to be done.

Thing is, there are some areas of clothes shopping where I believe in spending for quality: dress shoes, suits, clothes for work, etc. Sometimes, spending more for good quality stuff can pay off in the long run because the clothes/shoes last longer and look good too! Of course, this really only applies to items that are “timeless” rather than things that are trendy and the fashion flavor of the day.

Again, I just want to go in the store, get what I need, and get out. No browsing unnecessarily, as I don’t want to get tempted into spending money on other things!

Interesting comments I’ve seen here and on my blog about women not liking shoe shopping. Clearly, those of us running blogs seem have an aversion to spending a lot of money on clothes/shoes, whether we’re male or female. That being said, I wonder how different the responses would be if we asked people who are NOT bloggers or regular personal finance blog readers. I know generalizations can be tricky…
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Linda June 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I think you’re on to something here. I’m sure the majority of PF bloggers and avid PF blog readers do no enjoy shopping as entertainment or sport.
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Squirrel, I wonder if I wasn’t so short and had unlimited time and money if I would like shopping. Oh, and a sense of style too.

I am not a browser at all. I hate when salespeople stalk me too, that just makes me want to run out of the store.

Spending money on shoes is a must. You gotta have comfortable feet!

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No Debt MBA June 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I also hate shopping. Nothing fits and I’m cheap are reasons of mine too. What really irks me as a long time thrift store shopper is that I go into mall or department stores looking for something like work pants and can still not find anything that’s appropriate or fits correctly. It drives me nuts that stores can charge $80 for pants when none of them quite meet my needs.
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Oh I know! It seems the more expensive the clothes, the worse they fit me!

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager June 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I’m definitely not a shopper. I find one thing I like that fits well and is on sale. Then I buy a couple of those items in different colors.

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Kris June 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Oh I am the same way! I love buying in multiple colors because then I only have to try on one thing and I can come home with 3!

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Linda June 2, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I think shopping as entertainment or sport is just dumb. I will shop when I absolutely must, but it is never a pleasant experience.

If I’m not happy with my body, I’m really not going to find anything I’d like to put on it. Right now, I really need to lose about 15-20 pounds but the stuff I have going on with work and life makes it hard to get back into a regular exercise regime.

I’m not alone with these thoughts. Maybe this is why it is perceived that so many women like buying shoes since shoes are not as weight/body shape dependent.

If I were rich I’d hire a tailor to make all my clothes. That way they would all fit well and flatter my body. :-)
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm

I am with you Linda, I have never been one to go shopping to ‘feel better’. I just feel worse afterward.

Good point about the shoes. I am actually quite happy with me feet, and I don’t need to see them in a full length mirror and fluorescent lighting.

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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter June 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm

You spoke to my heart today. I too don’t like clothes shopping. I find it so depressing. Nothing ever seems to fit right and I feel like I am that one person in society who can’t find clothes. It is so frustrating. Even when I go for something I have to get I find it really hard to get what I need.

No matter how much self confidence I try to muster up I always get deflated when I go clothes shopping.
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Kris June 2, 2011 at 3:04 pm

We should shop together. We could eat a nice big lunch of comfort food to make the trip tolerable.

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Mayor of Humbleville June 3, 2011 at 12:12 am

Hey Kris,
I’m totally feeling your pain on this subject. My husband and I will go out shopping, trying to find me something nice (I’m slowly working on replacing some old wardrobe staples) and usually we just leave the store empty handed and frustrated. Also, I deal the opposite extreme about stature, being 5’10. You’d think it was a blessing, but finding clothing, especially pants, that are long enough just seem like a never-ending game of hide and seek. Next time I find something flattering, I’m just going to stock up on every color and call it a day!
Humbly Yours,
The Mayor
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Heather June 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I hate clothes shopping because just about everything falls into one of three categories: 1-doesn’t fit (which includes doesn’t fit correctly), 2-is ugly or otherwise not to my taste, 3-is more money than I want to spend. It’s even worse when I’m looking for something specific. Even something simple, like, “I need a black blouse” turns up lots of frilly junk, but not just a plain, classic black blouse. Maddening.

I hate shoe shopping for the same reason.

Fortunately, a simple wardrobe has simple shoe needs :) And since I’ve started wearing Vibram Five Fingers pretty much all the time, the only time I wear “normal” shoes are when I’m in a dress or skirt, which doesn’t happen too often.
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Super Frugalette June 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I do not love to shop…surprise…surprise, but I like looking put together. I do invest time into finding a brand that fits, then I watch that item and scoop it up when it goes on sale. I have been wearing the “Dreamer” jeans from Old Navy.

A couple of weeks ago, I got a $10 off coupon for new email members. I paired that with 12% back from Ebates and got a nice deal on my jeans.
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Kris June 6, 2011 at 11:44 pm

SF, I need to check out the jeans at Old Navy. I would love to find a brand that reliably looks decent. I also need to look into Ebates!

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Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple June 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm

HATE shopping. I am 5’2″, but I have a long torso and short legs. At least I know how to hem.

I have a friend who is about 5’1.5″. We used to try to trade clothes when one of us would gain/lose. But she’s got a short torso and long legs, and it never worked out.

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Kris June 6, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Marcia, I need to trade clothes with your friend!

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Jacq June 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I love shopping – when it’s time to shop – which is about once a year. There can’t be a big jam of people though or I get kind of claustrophobic.

I had a fancy dinner to go to last month and had to go pick up a “little black dress”, which I was kind of shocked that I didn’t already own. Then of course, I ended up walking out with TWO dresses (one striped – no polka dots, but good to wear for summer weddings), TWO sweaters and a coach wristlet that I’d had my eye on for ages (70% off!!)

Probably won’t be shopping again this year. Oh well.
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Kris June 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Oooh that is great you were able to buy something you were pining for at such a great deal!

I usually shop for dresses in a panic. I think I have something that will work for the event, and then I realize I am wrong.

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First Gen American June 7, 2011 at 6:39 am

Ditto. Except I’m taller than average and my waist is a size smaller than my hips so all pants are too tight in the hips and too loose in the waist. T-shirts same deal. If they fit in the waist, they are too tight in the shoulders and vice versa. It’s so hard to find flattering clothing that fits.
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Kris June 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I think I will have to give up on flattering clothing and just settle for comfort! I am shocked they do not make more varying clothing for females. My daughter is very athletic and looks pretty skinny. However, her lower half is quite muscular and her waist is tiny. Like you, finding pants can be a real nightmare.

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Alexandra May 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I hate clothes and shoe shopping, too. Not only does my weight flux a lot, but I am 5’1″ with an exaggerated hourglass figure, with a long torso. It wasn’t as bad when I was a size 4, before I had my baby daughter, but it was still difficult with a natural bra size of 30E. I also have the problem of finding trousers that do not bag at the waist whilst fitting my hips. There is a bit more variety in sizes in England than in America.

I also noticed that womens’ blouses are sized so much smaller then mens; sometimes I wonder on what planet that blouse is a ‘large’! I also hate that so many womens’ versions of things are so form-fitting(Polo shirts) and/or cropped(jackets). Mens clothes seem generally more geared toward comfort.

I hate shoe shopping cos my feet are hard to fit, as well.

I also hate all the ridiculous undergarments women have to wear. Also, unlike men, women are expected to have zillions of different outfits all the time. Waste of money to me. I just like simple, comfortable clothes, and to make the outfit with accessories.

My husband cares so much more about clothes than I do, and has ideas of how he wants me to dress, but they are physically uncomfortable to me.

I am not a blogger, and I agree with you guys :)

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Amanda July 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I’m also 5’2 with a short torso. I’m in my 20′s and considered on the skinny side, but I absolutely dread shopping as well. Not many stores have petite sections, and like you said, most of the options aren’t as cute. Just the other day I tried some dresses on, and it was a nightmare. I literally ended up crying, and then got mad at myself for being such a wuss. My mid-section is small from the side, but I always feel it looks frumpy from the front. I know it sounds like I’m too picky, maybe I am a little of a perfectionist, but I just want clothes to look presentable and classy on me. Sometimes I browse the junior sections, but I hate to think I’m wearing clothes that high schoolers wear. I’m starting to realize that for my body shape, I’m gonna have to try a lot of things on in the stores, no matter how much it hurts when the vision staring back is not pretty. Suck up the disappointment, and move on to the next piece. I’m tired of having outfits in my closet that don’t fit right. Every time I look at them, I’m reminded of my shortcomings. I’d love to have clothing that makes me feel good about myself. It’s just going to be incredibly time consuming finding them.

I want to add, I didn’t know so many had these struggles. I hope all of us can begin having better shopping experiences.

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Shelly Slader July 25, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Just add on the fact that retail clothing racks are the perfect place for small children to hide in and then scare you and your list is golden!

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