Monday, August 30, 2010

Shopping and Buying

Gurl_In_Trouble, a self-described evil witch wrote:

Do you have a budget for women's clothes, or something? I sort of do, but it's kind of a vague one at best.

I have a budget, but it's kind of a vague one at best.

I shop when I need something. But clearly, I don't need any women's clothing. Or if I admit I have a need to go out as Meg, then I only need a minimal amount of clothing. Fifty dresses is outrageous!

I used to buy things that I thought were pretty and would be fun to wear. I have several sleeveless dresses, and dresses with low backs, and sheer blouses. These are for indoors only, because I don't shave enough of me to wear any of those and maintain the illusion. I also have shoes that are clearly made for bare feet, which is not the way I go out.

Then I started going out, and a year or two ago I started only looking for "going out" clothes. This means I leave more outfits I'd enjoy wearing (or seeing on other women) on the rack, and more money in my wallet.

I shop cheap. $30 for a dress is about my limit. I scored a really nice silk dress at Macy's a few years ago. It was $130, on sale, then on clearance and ended at about $25. I remember the saleswoman kept saying what an amazing bargain it was. But it was an example of a beautiful piece of clothing that I'll never wear out ~ it won't fit in anywhere I'm apt to go.

I look for camis under $10, tops and skirts under $25, shoes under $25. I keep hoping I'll find two nice pair of shoes at a Payless BOGO half-price sale, but I never do.

Would I like to buy that $150 dress on the rack? Or go into Nordstroms and try on some shoes that look great and fit perfectly? Absolutely. But I do have other obligations.

I like to think I'm being frugal, but I'm sure I'd be depressed if I added up an average cost for all of the tops, skirts, dresses, shoes I own. And makeup! And jewelry! I try to make trade-offs. "I'll skip lunch this week and buy those skirts", but it's not likely that I'll save $75 on lunches this week!

Makeup is another expense. I have bought $35 (or more) foundation, because it's worth it to have the saleslady match my skin colour and get me exactly what I need. But I'll try to match it at the drug store next time. Mascara, eye liner, lipstick ~ I look for the under-ten-dollar stuff at CVS.

I wear the jewelry you find on the little racks in Macy's or the other stores. I don't buy the nice stuff that's inside the glass cases.

Burlington Coat Factory and Sym's are great for finding bargain clothing and jewelry.

I've shopped at the Salvation Army, but I'm torn ~ I can't decide if I'm giving much-needed money to the SA, or taking shopping opportunities from my poorer sisters. If the store is packed with clothing, I feel better about shopping there.

As for the "illusion" items, I shop around and I can't figure out a pattern yet. I know I should be spending a few hundred for a great wig, but my wigs cost under $100. My favourite breast forms cost close to $200, and I have a couple of pair of less expensive ones. Body shapers are expensive (in my mind) but I own a few and if I saw one that looked like it would do a better job than the ones I have, I'd buy it. But $100 or more for a corset? I can't see me spending that.

I have a lot of bras, and they're expensive but I never buy more than one at a time so I can't take advantage of the "buy two, get one free" offers. Mostly, there are just 3-4 bras that I wear. I'm also looking for something that looks nice, adds hip and butt pads, and is reasonably priced. So far, it's eluded me.

I do often look at what's in my cart and decide I'm spending too much, and have to decide which two of the five pair of earrings I have to put back. One silver and one gold? But they're all so pretty, and I don't have a lot of silver earrings but both gold ones are sexy and I think my gold hoops are broken and.... You get the idea.

I'm rambling, I know. I didn't plan this entry; it's just organic.

I have three types of women's items I shop for.

Strictly Meg. Dresses, blouses, skirts, makeup, jewelry, bras, handbags, cute camisoles, heels. Breast forms and wigs and shapers. I try to buy carefully and, lately, with a trip in mind. I also try to have a limit, based vaguely on when I last shopped, and how my side business is going. Do I need more clothes? Of course I do, in spite of what I wrote up top! And I bring some clothes to clothing swaps, including dresses I love and they fit but I haven't worn out of the house ever and never will. Like that silk bargain I mentioned earlier.

Everyday Wear. Panties, girls' socks, camisoles that I can wear under regular shirts, jeans, passable pants and shirts and shoes ~ they all come out of this pocket. I don't budget so much as buy what I need. I spent a lot of time in that mall in El Paso trying to decide if I should buy those pants. They were, I think, $58 marked down to $35. That's on the high end for me to spend on men's pants. So I follow the same spending rules as when I'm buying men's clothing, but I enjoy the shopping experience more. I am more likely to buy a passable shirt or pair of pants, just because they're hard to find and I don't want to lose the opportunity.

Art. C'mon. admit it. You've bought a dress or pair of shoes or necklace because it's beautiful, not because you need them or they fit really well.

1 comment:

  1. Meg
    Shopping has always been a hated activity. As a guy I just get in, get the first item that may be close to what I need, pay and get out.
    On the femme side the story is very different.
    Almost all of my femme shopping has been by mail order, catalog or on line.
    I have too many things that just do not see the light of day (or night). I keep them and try them on once in a while.
    I am really making an effort to get out and most of the items in my closet are for simple wearing around the house.
    I regularly promise that I will cull the crop but I have a hard time parting with anything.
    I also keep things on the economical side. When I order from Roaman's or Woman Within I only shop the 'clearance' pages. Likewise, my on-line purchases are from clicking on the clearance tab.
    Is it a mental block that we have that we need to buy our girl stuff as cheaply as possible. Do we feel guilty spending family resources on items that are truly not needed while at the same time needed very much?
    This was another fine post.


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