Shop, Drop, and Roll: Clothing Sales and Cautionary Tales

Shopping Bags. Photo by Cecilia kennedy

The bow-on-the-butt-ship has long since sailed for me, but it’s trying really hard to make a comeback in various stores. At least, that’s the conclusion I’ve reached after shopping all last weekend. It could be that outfits with large bows and crazy dart-like patterns that somehow emphasize the nipples, really aren’t in style. They just happen to be on sale at the beginning of January, which is when my birthday falls and the family budget is done. It’s this time of the year that I get giddy and try to “celebrate” by catching all the fantastic sales, but I always get the sinking feeling that I’ve been tricked into settling for leftovers. Just because an item may be 50% off, doesn’t mean I necessarily want it. However, to make sure I learn my lesson and learn it well, I lead Nate like a lamb to slaughter to the outlet mall nearby to help me shop. Poor, poor Nate. Here’s the run-down of “hits and misses” of fashion shopping when Christmas and New Year’s have just passed and thrown down a tornado of garish garments that pinch and pull in unflattering ways. I’ll be sure to sprinkle in tips and cautionary tales below.


Timberland Factory Store: Dangerous conditions loom ahead thanks to the non-existing tread of my hiking shoes. So, if I want to keep up with Nate and Alex, I have to get the right kind of footwear. I’ve always admired the way my husband and son can choose hiking boots that not only hold them steady on the trail, but also look fashionable when walking the streets of Seattle, Vancouver, or Victoria. I, on the other hand, switch to running shoes, which, for some reason, are always loud. The running shoes my achy feet require are never subtle or subdued. They scream, “Look at me! I’m a lady runner in fluorescent pink and blue shoes. I pair them with yoga pants and a dark raincoat, which makes them stand out even more. I’m a serious lady runner! Look at me!” Well, I’m tired of looking like a hard core serious “lady runner.” I want some fur-lined ankle boots that are comfortable and will grip the road. I also want some kick-ass hiking shoes I could wear on the trail or on the mean streets of Stanley Park. And, Timblerand delivered, thank goodness. I walked out of that store with exactly what I wanted. All on sale. Thank you, Timberland for preventing me from slipping and falling on my bow-clad butt.

Famous Footwear Outlet: What about just plain old, go-to-the-grocery store-pick-up-the-kid-from-swim-practice shoes? No problem. I found a pair of comfortable Skechers, on sale. Cha-ching! However, it was difficult to stay focused. There were even more choices of hiking shoes and cute boots, but I couldn’t distract myself from my list of things I needed. Otherwise, I’d never leave—and neither would Nate. So, there’s a tip: Eyes on the prize. Make a budget. Make a list. Stick to them both.

Eddie Bauer Outlet Store: Here, I found four longer shirts to pair with skirts and pants for about $100. Not bad at all. By this time though, Nate was playing with his phone and I had to tell him several times to put the phone down, so the shopping trip was already showing signs of unraveling. Not good.


Hits That Were Almost Misses:

L’eggs, Hanes, Bali, Playtex Outlet Store: In an effort to update my yoga pants, I went to Lulumon first, which was an exciting adventure for Nate. Lulumon pants have a reputation for being sleek. Very sleek. At the outlet store version, there were rows of sexy, stretchy pants. Each one cost $110.

“Maybe there’s a sales rack,” Nate suggested.

“This is the sales rack,” I confirmed.

So, we went to the L’eggs, Hanes, Bali, and Playtex Outlet store, which also had sleek yoga pants, with the added bonus of very discreet dressing rooms, excellent sales clerks, and much more reasonable prices. I found a pair to try on, but a struggle ensued first. Luckily, not many people were in the store to witness the things I said in the dressing room:

“This ***### hurts! Who in the ***### wears these?”

But then, when I finally got them on and paired them with a longer shirt to hide the panty lines and anything else I should probably hide from young children, I liked them. I was exhausted, sore, and sweating profusely, but I decided that I could wear them on the days that I don’t exercise, because getting into them could serve as my “off-day workout.”

Levi’s Outlet Store: My options for church clothes consist of 2-3 pairs of skirts, or jeans, but the jeans seem a little too casual for church, thanks to all of the very convincing finger wagging the nuns did when I was in school. However, I figured if I got a couple of pairs of jeans in different colors, I could fool Jesus into thinking I was wearing pants and not jeans. Before going directly to the Levi’s Outlet Store though, I stopped at the Dress Barn because it looked like I could get my entire “wish list” of skirts, tops, and pants right in one place. However, when I tried on the skirts, tops, and pants, I realized these items just didn’t fit. It was as if designers got together to solve every figure problem women might complain about, but instead of solving these matters, they emphasized them with bows and gathers. More frustrated than flattered, I dragged Nate over to the Levi’s Outlet Store and tried on a pair of olive jeans and black jeans. Done and done.

Banana Republic Factory: Blazers and jackets are my favorite pieces that last a while, but they need to be replaced and, after nearly ten years, I’m due for a replacement. I’ve been keeping my eyes out for the “perfect” jacket/blazer, but I’ve not been able to find anything. Though I did buy a reasonably priced gray blazer at this store, my patience was wearing thin at this point. And Nate wouldn’t put the phone down.


Diane Von Furstenberg:

 “Nate, put the phone down and help me, please!” I begged when we’d hit the ninth or tenth store.

“Okay, this should be fun,” Nate replied. “Let’s go to some stores we’ve never tried before.”

Then, he led me into the Diane Von Furstenberg shop.

“Nate, I don’t think we belong here,” I said, pointing to my loud “serious lady runner” shoes.

“Don’t be silly. Look at all of these beautiful clothes!”

“Yes. They’re exactly what I’ve been looking for, but I’m thinking they’re out of my price range.”

Nate suddenly made a loud gulping noise when he flipped over a price tag.

“Let’s get out of here—fast!” he yelled.

Calvin Klein: I have no idea what happened to Calvin Klein. Clothes were just kind of strewn about in what looked like a sidewalk sale caught off guard by a bomb cyclone.

Brooks Brothers Factory Store: This store had all of the jackets and blazers I could have ever hoped for, but they were too expensive—even at “outlet store” prices.

Guess Factory Store: The classic, boxy shapes of blazers that hit just perfectly at the hip, lured me right in from the storefront window. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that these jackets/blazers weren’t quite what I was looking for.

“Is the Michael Jackson look back in style?” I asked Nate.

He shrugged his shoulders. There was no way I’d buy one of those jackets, when I had a perfectly ugly version of them in my closet already. In fact, I now didn’t have to throw it out because apparently it’s back in fashion.

“Well, I’m exhausted and I still don’t have any dress shirts for the skirts I do have. What now?”

“There’s always Kohl’s,” Nate said.

So, we headed to Kohl’s, which had been ripped to shreds by 3 p.m. on a Sunday. I didn’t even try anything on. I just wandered about aimlessly for a good hour, occasionally shaking garments that were still attached to their hangers and saying, “Really? Really, Jennifer López Collection? This is what I’d really wear to the parent teacher conference?”   Nate wisely stayed in the car and played with his phone.

Then, I went home and ordered some shirts online. There’s no way of telling if they’ll fit.

Your Turn: What has been your experience shopping for clothes?

Disclaimer: I did not receive any special “Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks” deals or discounts or clothing products from any of the stores I’ve mentioned in this blog post. However, when you shop at these stores, just for laughs and fun, you could mention my blog and see if they offer you a discount, a slap in the face, or a random article of clothing knocked over during a wind/snow storm.  If they do, be sure to leave advice/details in the comments section. I’ll offer bonus points if you’re given an article of clothing that has unnecessary, unflattering, or distracting bows and/or gathers.
















35 thoughts on “Shop, Drop, and Roll: Clothing Sales and Cautionary Tales

    1. Yes! The pantyhose and a store actually exist, but I haven’t seen the eggs in years. I used to play with those eggs when I was a little girl. I even made a pop-up dinosaur diorama of sorts with one of those eggs. It wasn’t pretty and most people couldn’t tell it was a dinosaur, but I thought it was pretty creative myself:)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My advice to anyone shopping:

    Most Americans already own too much clothes. For every piece you are going to buy, be ready to give something up. Makes the decision to pull out the plastic a little harder, saves your budget for stuff you really want, and saves the planet.

    Also, try really hard to never buy on sale what you didn’t want at full price.

    Most stores allow you to create “wish lists” on their site. I put stuff on my wish list, and as I can afford it, I buy it, always buying my favorites first lest they sell out. I try really, really hard not to buy anything that’s not on that list no matter how awesome the sale is.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great tips! I haven’t used a “wish list” since the wedding registry Nate and I used back when we were getting married. That’s a great idea–thanks for sharing it. This year, I made an inventory of the things in my closet and decided what I could keep, give away, and replace. I made a list and then went out to try to buy those things on the list and I stuck to that list, but shopping is still quite a chore!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Every time I think I’m buying a cute dress or jacket, I put it on and discover that there’s a big, obnoxious bow on the rear end. That look was totally cute when I was six years old, but now that I’m 46, not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can so relate to many of these comments. I love to shop, but I also hate to shop and 9 times out of 10 I end up shopping for everyone in the family, but me even when I go out shopping for myself. You’ve got to love a good sale! Hope you enjoy your new purchases

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow..great lists of stores.many of them are favorites.this is the best time to buy winter clothes and jackets..n I am a fan of the timberland boots..usually they have great discounts on shoes around summer time…I got mine for very less prize..n I always like to use their 40% of coupons..had fun reading this blog..looks like you had fun n got everything u wanted ..

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I enjoyed reading of your shopping day. This was all in one day, or not? I’d probably never take my husband along, as he’s the kind where he gets what he came for, and is done and out of there. That said, I get most of my clothes at yard sales or thrift shops. Occasionally, I’ll get something from Wal Mart or Target. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, what a great chuckle this gave me, thank you! Shopping?…….I detest shopping for clothes, so I only go twice a year and I approach it like running over burning lava rocks. I have to “focus”, breath slowly and evenly, know exactly what I need and then….go! I zoom down the isle with a criteria, quality of fabric and color, if this is found, the cut, if this is passed, the price. I have 3-4 items, and then I leave the girls size 14 section and buy a new seam ripper to get all the sequins off the backsides! (I was not endowed, nor graced with voluptuousness in this life-time, and still rely on my boys cast offs from the 4th grade for week-end wear). Same drill for certain designers in womens dresses, only 1-2 items…….then I’m over the rocks with only two or three blisters and out! 35 minutes tops! Sorry I wrote so much, it was such an inspiring post! As always…….!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You captured the pleasures(?) and challenges of clothes shopping. Rule of thumb–if the first pair of jeans make your butt look unflattering-may as well stop there, You have already been bummed out.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. thanks for letting us shop with you –
    oh you will be with me on an upcoming shopping trip.

    and first – a note to your writing – I love the succinctness and personal energy you weave in:

    “Dangerous conditions loom ahead thanks to the non-existing tread of my hiking shoes…”

    Second – enjoyed your take on the stores and the hunt and the feedback as you got advice and the jokes (bomb went off….MJ back in style)

    Third, on a more personal note – I have a few blazers that are kind of perfect – and as you noted that you are trying to get “one” – I am sure you have many at home and all that – but there was something that caught me there because it made me grateful for the ones that i do have that fit so darn well. and seriously – one is actually a suit and the material and fit is such a body glove fit that I could do yoga in it and then put heels back on —
    but I just tossed two blazers (got them on the way cheap – for the name – and never fit right and after coming home with a bad-fit jacket day it was time to trash).
    and sadly – one of my extremely nicely fitting Banana Republic blazers is going down fast – cos I wash it on hot and dry it – hah

    such a fun post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I really needed the pick me up today. I got a rejection today on a short story and the letter contained a long list of all the things I did “wrong” (LOL). It’s nice to be a part of such an encouraging blogging group. I’m so grateful for the writing community I’ve found online. Getting back to the topic, though: Blazers and jackets are such wonderful pieces to have–your suit jacket that you describe above sounds amazing! Thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well sorry about the rejection letter – even though we know they will come and continue to come.
        And always remember that it is so subjective when we submit – for example, I know an artist who tried to have an art piece hung in three places (rejected) and then a while later it was accepted and won an award. The first three “screeners” had their views – and so try not to ever take it personal.
        and interesting to hear they gave feedback on wrong.
        that is kind of a good thing; but also – sometimes we need to ignore certain advice or we will lose our voice and signature style.
        ahhh –
        anyhow, wihing you a nice day and TTYS

        Liked by 1 person

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