So: playin’ hooky

I gave myself the day off today. It was another gloomy gray day so there was no digging in the garden (perhaps tomorrow or Sunday will be ok for getting dirt covered).

Instead, I got a pedicure (heaven!) and then did the activity I hate more than anything: I went shopping.

You might recall the post about my search for a red dress (and by now you know I never wore it since I got the flu and didn’t go to the ladies’ luncheon where the red clothing was required). This time I was searching for work-appropriate dresses.

The good news is I found two great pairs of flip flops. Actually I brought home an assortment of dresses and two shirts as well.

I need to put on a fashion show for my favorite fashion critic to see what I’m keeping. Bruce is very honest and direct because he knows I hate shopping but want to look good). That’s probably happening tomorrow since frankly I am frazzled from being in the dressing rooms from 11 until 3.

I don’t know how people, ok teenagers and women, do it. I went to two lovely shopping centers. One is full of high end retailers’ outlets. That’s where I started. The other, Northpark, is Dallas’ nicest mall. The Nashers were its developers and the Nashers amassed an amazing sculpture and art collection over their lifetimes. The mall has amazing art from that collection and it’s the reason that when I need a mall shop, I head there.

If you ever come to Dallas, take a couple of hours to check out this mall if you like shopping. And put the Nasher Sculpture Center on your list of to dos if you love art.

But I digress. As lovely as Northpark is, it’s a mall. And the stores are just too much visual stimulation for me. Stuff to look at everywhere. And trying clothes on means trying to figure out what might fit.

You see, I am a wide range of sizes. At the same store. In the same sort of garment. It’s a pain in the ass and means that I have to bring multiple sizes into the dressing room so I can pick which item fits the least offensively. Sometimes it’s the smaller size. Other times it’s the larger one. Or the middle one. It’s a crap shoot, frankly.

I would really like to be able to shop like Bruce: go into the store and in an hour or so, leave with an armful of clothes.

But that’s not how it works for me.

After all those maddening hours in the stores, I was thrilled to leave and do mundane things like pick up a kitchen compost bin and go to the liquor store.

Then, I stopped at North Haven Gardens on the way home. YAY! The temperature has dropped considerably so the tomatoes need to be covered, but tomorrow or Sunday, they’ll have basil to hang out with. And the jalapeños, poblanos, and bell peppers are here too. They’ll take their place in the garden soon too.

And now I must go for a walk. The Gs have a schedule to keep.

So: fashion victim

This may surprise you but I really don’t like to shop. Part of it stems from preferring to dig in the dirt rather than dig through racks at the mall. Part of it stems from fashion trends like skinny jeans, ultra low rise anything, knit dresses and the bikini which really do not work out well for me no matter how faithful I am to the gym and to a specific calorie count. I’m short but not really petite, curvy, and muscular.

Don’t get me wrong, I like cute clothes. And I love shoes probably because so many fun choices that actually fit my feet. Cowboy boots, mary-janes, all sorts of athletic shoes, platform boots, Chuck Taylors, flip flops, sandals, wedges, pumps, sling backs, peep toes, I love them all. Trying them on is fun especially since Bruce is a certifiable shoe-a-holic and probably has more pairs than I do (he is in a special status in DSW’s rewards program, thanks to his habit) and would never tell me that I already have three pairs of black pumps.

My souvenirs from Barcelona in 2009: SHOES!

My souvenirs from Barcelona in 2009:         shoes from Camper (yes, I still have them)

When it comes to actual clothes, my wardrobe needs refreshing. My loathing of shopping is so deep that I could  count my 2012 visits to a clothing retailer on one hand. In the pants/skirts/other bottoms department, my closet looks respectable, but not in the tops. I need to fix that in the next few weeks since spring is coming in Texas and so are spring client meetings. Ugh.

Most pressing however is something appropriate to wear to a women’s luncheon that I was recently invited to. Recently, as in yesterday. The luncheon is on February 1, which is only two weeks away.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be too stressed about going to a ladies’ luncheon. I have plenty of business appropriate dresses that I can throw on at a moments notice and look just fine. However, one of the requirements of attendees is that red must be worn. Ok, two problems: my wardrobe is mostly black (duh, I am in advertising on the creative side) and two I hate shopping. And although red is an official color of my sorority, I don’t really have anything red anymore. Well, except for my favorite red shoes, but I thought I should go all out  and get into the spirit of the event with a red dress.

My favorite red shoes (also by Camper)

My favorite red shoes (also by Camper)

So what’s a gal to do? Well, not run to the nearest mall because it closes at 9 pm on a weeknight and I knew I’d need more than a couple of hours to go from store to store to store. And this weekend is not available for a shopping adventure since we’re going to visit my twin nieces. One thing I do not do is procrastinate with stuff like this because nothing’s more stressful than a nth hour race through the racks and finding nothing appropriate.

Instead I got out my trusty laptop and headed to a variety of major retailers while parked on the sofa next to a snoring Guinness. Next week, many nice red dresses will arrive at my office. I’ll take them home and try them on. I’ll have a variety of accessories and shoes at my fingertips to help with the decision process. The winner I’ll keep, the others will get returned to their bricks-and-mortar outlets in Dallas.

Why didn’t I just go to the stores in the first place? In addition to the time challenges of the next few weeks, I checked the inventory of these various frocks and guess what, the other ladies attending the luncheon (or perhaps red is just really popular here) have already purchased them! There really wasn’t anything in stock locally. This surprises me since Valentine’s day is next month and red always seems to be popular this time of year.

Don’t worry, I’m actually ok if someone else is wearing exactly the same dress. I’ll congratulate her on her good taste and compliment her shoes which hopefully will be nothing like mine.