Adventures at a Discount Retailer

I’ve gained a few pounds in the last year (let’s not talk about it) so I have nothing decent to wear to my one big social event of the month (book club).  Ok, it’s not really a big social event, but it is the only time all month that I hang out with other women away from my kids.  I want to look nice.  But I hate spending money and I loathe the mall, so yesterday I headed over to the store with Big Designer Names for Less (I won’t name them but “You should go” is their slogan). 

Treasure hunting through rack upon overstuffed rack of mostly out of season or weirdly colored clothing takes time.  I spent a good hour sifting through things to find 8 items to try on.  One thing I picked up was something I was curious about rather than something I planned to buy- a pair of Seven for all Mankind jeans (the same brand worn by Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz) for $79.  In the big department stores, these go for $189 and up.  I intended to find out why they were so pricey. 

So into the dressing room I went with all my treasures.  I put on the Seven jeans.  Oh. My. God.  THE softest jeans ever.  Slouchy in all the right places, snug where you want them to be.  Faded to perfection.  I turned in the mirror and just couldn’t believe how much I loved these jeans.  I left the room and walked over to the bigger 3 way mirror.  Yep, they looked great from all angles.  Sexy, even.  Really!  I felt great!  And I looked hot (well, as hot as a 40something mini-van driving mom of two with a couple extra pounds can look!)  

Shoot.  I’ve never spent that much for jeans, but how often do you find the perfect pair?  I’ve spent a lifetime looking for them!  How much money have I wasted on many pairs of less than perfect jeans?  I don’t even want to think about it. 

They were indeed perfect- and I had talked myself into buying them- until I sat down in them.  Turns out they are super low in back, and half my ass hangs out when I sit down. Well, that’s not gonna work.  The book club girls don’t need to see THAT.  I even thought, could I STAND through the entire two hours of book club?  Or sit in such a way that my backside remained plastered against the couch?  But common sense prevailed and I put them back on the rack. 

Nothing else looked right.  Other jeans I tried on were too short (I’m 5’10” so that’s a common problem).  I liked one cute top but the side seam was crooked.  Another top would have been perfect in a different color.  There was a green hoodie I really liked but the zipper felt like it could easily break.  

I also looked at shoes.  My gym shoes are thrashed and I could really use some new Nikes- but not in neon green or orange, which is all they had in my size!  Since sandal season is over, I need some flats to wear with jeans- but with my size 10 boats I just want a normal color.  There were some purple patent leather pointy toed flats- cute on a size 6 maybe, but definitely not for me!  Might as well wear a sign saying “Look at my giant feet”.  

After about 90 minutes, I left the store empty handed. I’m at a weird age, clothes-wise.  Everything seems either too young or too old for me.  There must be clothes out there that are stylish but not too trendy, classic but not matronly.  WHERE ARE THEY? 

16 Responses

  1. I’ll be checking back to see if anyone has any ideas! Too bad about the jeans…I was hoping they’d work out for you. Being quite short (just over 5 feet) and seriously busty, I have a hard time myself. I wear a lot of J Jill, Ann Taylor Loft and eddie bauer. Danskos are my shoes of choice. And check out the Nike Air Rift for a cool shoe to wear with jeans…they are huge conversation starters, and you can find them at DSW!

  2. I take pride on being a huge bargain shopper. I have been buying tons of new clothes lately, and I’ve had lots of luck at Ann Taylor Loft. They have lots of very good sales and coupons. One problem might be that their pants fit me and I’m 5’4″ althought they do have some longs. My jeans from there are amazing!!!!

    Another place (it sounds a little weird) is Costco! I found awesome Polo cords there (like jeans but more of a trouser jean pocket and cut) for $25. They are sized by various lengths!. I also found tons of cute sweaters there too. Last week, all of the summer stuff was marked down to almost nothing because I’m sure they need more room for winter stuff!

    Good luck! I wish I could help more. I always have wanted to be a personal shopper!

  3. Me and my size-11 feet can sympathize! I’ve given up on buying shoes anywhere other than – some stores don’t even stock size 11, let alone in a decent variety. Zappos lets you search just for your size, and has free shipping both ways.

    My current quest is a pair (or several) of long-length corduroy pants. Most places only have standard-length cords, and they always shrink up, making them unwearable after two or three washes.

  4. I’m a big catalog shopper for this very reason. I tend to dress sort of preppy because that stuff never seems to go out of style. Old Navy has some cuter trendy stuff but their stuff never seems to last more than one season. It doesn’t wear well I guess.

    For nicer stuff I like Coldwater Creek. It’s comfy but nice. I’m sorry you went home empty handed. I never have luck in those places. Even if I do find shoes something is always wrong with them once I wear them. They squeak or one heel is higher than the other, etc.

    I order shoes online from They pay for shipping both ways so if they don’t fit you send them back and the turn around is like 2-3 days. Wide variety of styles and sizes too.

  5. Thanks for all the great ideas. I’ll have to check out DSW. There’s one at our mall- I just hate to go to the mall. Costco- I never thought to look there. But you probably can’t try stuff on there.

    Fyrefly-Hey fellow long-legged big foot!! Actually I should really wear a 10 1/2 but of course that size doesn’t exist. Why do shoe makers do half sizes up to 10 and then skip to 11? It makes no sense at all!! Most 10s are tight and most 11s are big on me. I hate shoe shopping. I’ve heard of but I really like to try things on so I never buy shoes online.. Maybe I should give it a try.

    Ti, ok you sold me on Zappos with the free shipping (both ways!)

  6. I feel your pain. It is hard for the more mature woman to find suitable clothing. I used to like Talbot’s a lot, but haven’t found much there lately. Well, really, with a kid in an out of state college, I haven’t bought many clothes anywhere lately.

  7. Try Ann Taylor Loft. I like it a lot. There is a good bargain rack there.

    There’s one by my house… come over, we’ll shop and have some java!

    Hugs, pretty girl!


  8. You definitely need to try zappos. I once ordered 5 pairs of shoes, and returned them all. The best thing…they really don’t care, and yes, the shipping is free both ways! And they ship extremely fast. I’ve received orders the next day. They also have awesome customer service. They sent me the wrong size once, and gave me a $25 credit for their mistake.

    I wear Nine West dress pants for work, because they have really long inseams. I know they make jeans, too, but I’ve only ever seen them at macy’s. Gap carries jeans in short/medium/long…sometimes they don’t always have the longs in store, but you can try on the different types, and then order them online.

  9. I hate shopping for clothes. I don’t like the newer style of jeans with the low hips, they make me feel so unfomfy! I like them to sit on my actual waist- but it doesn’t seem to be in style so I can never find jeans like that. Plus my legs are short so I always have to hem them (and I’m not good at sewing) or roll the cuffs up.

    Shoes are the worst, because I have sensitive feet that require lots of support, so I can’t buy inexpensive shoes or wear heels. I have to get good shoes, and my feet are small so they’re hard to find. I always wear them until they’re totally worn out- usually for three to five years! I just can’t stand the expense and hassle of shopping for them more often.

    Not really your typical female, am I? Most women I know love shopping for clothing, but for me it’s real tedium.

  10. Ah jeez. I’m 26 and everything feels like it’s too young or too old for me.

    As for the jeans, I just always wear really long shirts to cover my whale-tail (the bit of your unds that peeks out in the back), and I’m almost always wearing a long tank top under my sweaters anyways. And then when I sit down, I check to make sure it’s still covering.

    And I haven’t tried them, but there’s always these:

  11. Lisa, I’ve went through pretty much the same thing you mention UNTIL …

    I tried Paige Premium Denim.

    I get mine from Nordstrom. I could probably find them for less elsewhere (online, ebay, discount retailers) but Nordstrom hems them for free. Unless you want European hemming, where they cut off the existing hem and re-attach it. In that case it’s maybe $25.

    I always have problems with jeans being too short. Paige is always too long but the tailoring takes care of that problem.

    I’ve tried all the other trendy designer brands (Hudson, Seven, Citizens of Humanity) and nothing fits my body style like Paige. My mother-in-law buys nothing be Seven (yeah, at $250 a whack, and she buys two or three pair a season … if I could be so lucky) but they just never fit well enough for me to spend that much $$.

    Once I tried Paige, I can’t bring myself to buy anything else. And in the summer I like to wear a wedge heel with them, in the winter, it’s always Danskin. THE most comfortable shoe EVAH. I have the Meredith, which I don’t see on their website so it may be discontinued. They’re perfect with my Paige Premium Denim jeans though.

  12. Oops. I meant Dansko. Duh, Danskin makes dancewear. Anyway, same shoes Tara mentioned.

  13. Zappos, with free shipping both ways, rocks. As for the butt crack with low jeans problem, you could become a plumber. If that doesn’t work for you, Danskin (see above) makes cheap bodysuits you can wear under anything – shirts, etc. That’s what I do.

    As for the tall person problem, I can’t really relate. The people doing a remake of the Wizard of Oz keep contacting me to be one of those lollypop girls.

  14. I was cheering you on, yay, Seven jeans that fit like a dream, a “good” price …. then we came to the butt crack … ’nuff said!

    My recommendations have been listed …Ann Taylor LOFT (online or in store) has great sales, tall lengths, and “Julie” style pants for those of us who are a little “curvier” as they say 🙂

    The other is Zappos. If you’re tall, you probably have a above-average shoe size. I’m a size 10 and find that I’ll like a style in a shop, but they’ve sold the one size 10 they had in stock.; it’s been extolled in other Comments, I second them.

    Good luck! Let us know what you end up wearing to your Book Group!

  15. I feel your pain, too. I don’t have any great recommendations, because I have all the same problems–couple of extra pounds, etc. I order some things from Boden online, but though I love the style, it’s a pain to figure out the British sizes. Also, I buy shoes from Zappos. I’ve heard there are some jeans called, I kid you not, “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans” that are supposed to be great, and probably don’t have the butt-crack problem, which I have encountered often, too, btw. Let me know if you find anything great for book group!

  16. Awww, I was about to rush out and try on a pair of Sevens after reading your intro paragraphs! I hate shopping and I especially hate trying to find a good-fitting pair of jeans. You had me at “Oh. My. God. THE softest jeans ever. Slouchy in all the right places, snug where you want them to be. Faded to perfection. I turned in the mirror and just couldn’t believe how much I loved these jeans. I left the room and walked over to the bigger 3 way mirror. Yep, they looked great from all angles. Sexy, even. Really! I felt great! And I looked hot (well, as hot as a 40something mini-van driving mom of two with a couple extra pounds can look!) ”

    I’m edging closer and closer to 50 (3 more years, but it feels like it’s just around the bend) and I’m with you on the “weird age, clothes-wise” stage. Oh, so frustrating. I”ll have to see about those Paige Premium Denim jeans.

    Meanwhile, I’ll continue to buy the comfy stretch jeans at Eddie Bauer (boot leg!) and Coldwater Creek. Either that or it’s time for a tattoo on my lower back for those low-cut jeans!

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