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Friday, February 27, 2009

And the sun pours down like honey on our lady of the harbor...

I hate clothes shopping at the mall.

Sometimes I forget that I hate it. And I try to go do it. Then I remember. I dislike dressing and undressing all my winter layers. Never a place to hang my coat. And nothing is my size. Nothing.
The trip becomes time consuming, and frustrating. I somehow have never eaten enough before I go, and somehow always have to use the bathroom. I get claustrophobic and I can't make good decisions, and nothing fits anyway so I'm really just choosing between which whatever looks less ridiculous. It's a waste of time. I'd rather be doing almost anything else.
Thrift store shopping is different.

In general, I do all of my personal shopping in thrift stores, which surprises no one who has ever seen me in person, I'm sure.
I like the idea of recycled clothes and I always have. I like to find "finds," like the time I bought a Betsey Johnson dress for $8 and found out later it was worth $400. Even in Tokyo, I went shopping in thrift stores. I don't like to spend outrageously on what I wear. That way I can buy things that are more important to me. I'm happiest wearing rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters.

However, I needed dress pants for my shows at Improv Asylum and I have never successfully found nice dress pants in my size at a Savers. Plus IA gives us a wardrobe stipend to make the spending easier. So today Laura and I set off to the Cambridgeside Galleria.

I mentioned all the reasons I normally hate shopping. But the size thing is the biggest one. Even in a no pressure situation -no goals, no time limit, an empty bladder and full stomach in a thrift store, if I can't find anything that fits, I start to get frustrated.

I'm too small for women's clothes, even the petites usually. And I'm all the wrong kinds of shapes for most youth clothes. These hips don't lie and do not fit into high rise tapered Gap Kid jeans.

It's so inconvenient to buy nice new things that I'd rather just as soon not. But pants to perform in are a necessity. When I asked around, a similarly sized friend of mine recommended Express specifically for their small sizes. I found that she was correct, and also received wonderful customer service.

As I was looking for more pants to try on at Express one of the saleswomen approached me and asked if she could help. I usually say "Thanks, I'm just looking." Because that's the truth. I love to look. But today I said "Actually... yes. Is there anything smaller than a zero?" "We have a couple of 'zero short' pants." She happily picked out two different styles and asked if I'd like her to prepare my dressing room while I continued looking.
That never happens at thrift stores.

Although the pants are 'zero short,' they still need to be hemmed. But all the XS tops I tried on fit me really well. At a lot of other stores, even an extra small is too big for me. Plus, getting these pants was so pain free that I almost don't mind the extra step of having them altered.

I'm not in any hurry to switch from Boomerang's to Forever 21 anytime soon. I'd like to travel some more and can't afford to keep racking up cute knit sweaters that I can't wear in Mexico anyway. But it's nice to know that a retail store exists with friendly and accommodating sales people where I can count on at least some items being in my size.

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