Saturday, August 15, 2009

Clothes Hoarse

No, I'm not back online yet, but finally realized I can save my, posts to my jump-drive and download them on campus. Not an ideal solution, but better than keeping my mouth shut, eh?

My new schedule is, as they say, kicking my ass. I’ve been working 50-hour weeks at my “real” job, and still remaining steadily two days behind. Then of course, there’s the new teaching job, which I’m trying to wrestle down into a manageable number of hours. I’m such a perfectionist I can lesson plan entire days away.

The craziness does, however, have a few benefits.

Mostly money. It’s nice not having to count every dollar. Last time Miss Chef and I stopped in the grocery store to pick up a few things, I found myself dithering in front of the fresh fruit juices.

“I’m gonna get the expensive juice, ‘cause I can afford it!” I stated both defensively and with a sense of liberation. Thirty cents be damned; in fact, I’ll buy TWO!

Later, I dreamed about all the things I’d put off buying that I can fit into my budget now: a ladder to clean gutters & trim the bushes; a new pair of tennis shoes to replace my lone pair from last year that’s partially green from mowing the lawn; the fence around the backyard that we’ve been talking about for three years... The only problem is finding the time to spend the money!

So, as I drove home Friday night from work (yay! My first night all week to finish at 5:00!), I decided, what the heck, I’ll stop off at Kohl’s and see if I can’t supplement my tired and outdated work wardrobe with something new.

Miss Chef and I love Kohl’s because they have a wide selection, reasonable prices, and it seems like everything there is at least 30% off when we visit. We have to pick through many racks to find clothes that suit our rather plain taste, but when we do find something it’s usually quite cheap.

Friday, for example, I found a lovely, comfy blue pullover shirt for only $8. And WonderBras were on sale for $20. But it wasn’t ‘til I wandered past the bras, looking for dress socks, that I got really excited.

Petites!! Not since the Sears in Mobile (where we lived before Charlotte) had I found an affordable petites section that was more than a handful of racks. Granted, this section is somewhat crammed into a corner in the back of the second floor, but they had work clothes, and jeans and all kinds of stuff!

I was so thrilled, I came close to getting teary-eyed. Seriously. I’m only 5’2”, on a low-gravity day, and being overweight makes it doubly difficult to find pants that will button, without having to hem six inches off the bottom. And I hate sewing. Especially hems. Which might help explain why I only have 3 pairs of dress pants I feel really comfortable in.

So as I trolled through the racks, I grabbed about eight different pairs of Lees, Gloria Vanderbilts, Sag Harbors and whatever the heck else looked good. Almost every rack had my size with that lovely “P” next to it. Truly, I was like a kid in the candy store, and it was only when I thought my arms were going to break off that I headed for the dressing room.

Which turned out to be one of the smallest ones in the store. Small people, small dressing room? What, we’re supposed to cram two to a stall? Whatever. I spotted another room across the aisle in the Women’s section, and lugged my finds over there, wondering how many pairs of pants I could truly afford.

I’ll bet you can guess the result of my try-on…I didn’t like a single pair. Oh, they fit ok; some of them were quite comfortable. But by the time I was done, I had chosen only a pair of denim shorts off the clearance rack, and composed a list of grievances for the women’s off-the-rack fashion industry, which I now share with you:

1. What is with the freakin’ clown pants, people? C’mon ladies, is it just me, or is every single pair of ladies’ dress pants finished off with ultra-wide, flappy ankles? Who has ankles the width of their thighs? Oh, yeah, I know, wide pant legs make your legs look thinner. That may very well be, but I happen to have decent enough legs, and I don’t appreciate the breezes floating up past my knees as I walk. Nor do I enjoy the fwip-fwip of my trouser legs fighting past each other with every step I take. I could use that extra material on a lovely school uniform for an underprivileged six-year old. (If I liked sewing, that is.)

2. Pick a *&%$# fastener system and stick with it. Single buttons, double buttons, side-by-side, over-under, hook clasps, ties, and any combination in between. What’s the point? Men don’t have all this engineering to figure out in the dressing room, do they? Button, zip, they’re done. Granted, sometimes a double-button front helps, er, smooth things out, but often I feel the extra buttons are just to make me feel like I’m buying something luxurious. C’mon, I know I’m not at Sak’s or Bergdorf’s. And when I gotta pee, I don’t always have time to unlock Fort Knox down there. Let’s get real.

3. Stop the circus-freak treatment of “differently-sized” women. Do you have the men’s “husky” section on an entirely different floor from the rest of the men’s clothing? I felt like a member of a traveling carnival show, where the manager said “Stick the dwarves and the giants next to each other back there; they’ll make each one look even more freakish! Plus, you know, it’ll make them easier to avoid, for the squeamish.” I’ve been shopping at that store for over two years, and only now have come across the petites section--after walking through bedding, boys, seasonal, infants and intimates. Because nothing says “Petites!” like bibs and Elmo pajamas.

4. Treat us fairly. While the dressing room shared by the intimates & petites sections seemed reasonably-well maintained, the one dedicated to Women’s sizes was oddly empty. As I approached the dressing room, the motion-sensor lights clicked on. There were only three stalls in this one, and all three were crammed with tried-and-rejected clothing. The rack inside for re-hanging clothes was half-full (and, by the time I was done cleaning out a stall for myself, mostly full). Obviously, maintaining this section is not a priority for the staff. No wonder there were no shoppers there. Or maybe, they just couldn’t find it.

So how about it ladies, did I hit any nerves or ring any bells for you? Or did I miss anything? What makes you mutter under your breath when you try on clothes? (And if there are any men reading this, what hidden fashion abuses—other than ties, which I also think are pointless—are being foisted upon the, uh, unfair sex?)


  1. YES! Oh god yes, why can't they hire enough people to keep those fitting rooms cleaned out. You know, I worked in retail in high school, and it was my JOB, yes, my JOB to put things in size order on racks. What is soooo difficult about keeping them that way. I know, stuff gets out of order, but that's what they pay these people for. Just re-order them! Geez, it's hard enough to find clothes that fit without having to scour a rack from front to back wondering if my size is there.

    And another thing!! What is up with the shoplifting tags? Can you not put them in a place that doesn't impede our ability to put the garment on? I mean, there is always the bottom hem.... I don't like having a three inch blob of plastic in my armpit! Surprisingly, it's not comfortable. And it makes me look like I have some kind of deformity! Can you just put the dang thing somewhere less visible?

    And yes, I agree on the fasteners issue. Just to be stubborn, though, and promote my own agenda, what is it with the "tall" section? Why does petites warrant a whole section, but nobody does "tall" sections? I am 5 foot 10. Taller in heels, which I do wear to work. Many "regular" length trousers look like capri pants on me. That is not appropriate. And don't even get me STARTED on the wedgies caused by those low waistlines. OMG, split me in half why don't you? Give the Petites their due - put it in a visible place. But for goodness sake, give us taller ladies some options, please!

    What do you mean, I'm grumpy? What do you expect?!?!

  2. I only shop at stores that have fitting room mirrors that make me look tall and slim.... it's a great way to save money :-)

    And you nailed my usual rant in a fitting room! Great job.


  3. This is a good reminder of why I primarily only shop online.

    My fashion complaint? Finding regular old non-stretchy denim jeans. Stretchy denim on my full fiure only leads to something similar to sausage casing.

  4. and in the PLUS size section, why do they have the racks so close together? This is the PLUS size section people, the big girls need a little more space to move about.

    After many years of throwing away so much money on clothes, now I just wear long denim jumpers with tie-dyed cotton shirts. Pull up the dress and pee. Denim doesn't stain, easy to wash.

  5. I am a Kohl's regular and I have to say I laughed with familiarity throughout your entire post. Yes to number 1. Double Yes to number 2. Triple Yes to number 3. And Amen sistah to number 4.

    My nerves they are a tinglin'.

  6. i love kohl's, but the amount of mess in them sometimes is overwhelming. they have the best sales. why they don't just lower their prices, and save money in advertising and signage is an utter mystery. i'm 5"3" and i have to buy a size bigger in petites. apparently my ass gets bigger when i enter that dept? but now brands are making "short" "regular" and "long/tall" in lengths. short? short? come on!!! i guess "vertically challenged" is too long.

  7. Great post and so true! I feel your pain because I am 5'2" tall too so you are not the only one. You would think they could make pants that actually fit shorter people and those big pant legs..hate them!


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