Online shopping and a “Night Out”: not for me

It is time to update my wardrobe. Every so often, I realize that I have so many things that I do not love and I want to purge it all and start over. (Then I realize that is too much work and so I  just donate a few things and buy tee shirts at Target and more workout pants.)

I am trying to switch to a model that I am calling “European” (it’s fancy, not lazy) where I have fewer things that I completely love. To accomplish this model, I have to be much more thoughtful about my shopping: not just things that are kind-of cute or on big sale. Things that fit a particular hole in my wardrobe, that pair with other things already in my wardrobe, that make me feel amazing.

I started browsing online. Lately I have been feeling pretty cool towards online shopping because there are 2,397,000 “tops” in the world and I need them to be better curated. How do you even find stores that sell things you like online? How long are you other online clothing shoppers spending at this? I think I could spend an hour a day just finding stores that might sell things I like; then I have to carve out more time to actually look at those things. And in the end, the checkout process takes longer than I think it will and I give up and go read a magazine. Am I alone in thinking that successful online shopping sounds like black magic? No wonder I subsist on $12 “Favorite” tees I get when I’m actually shopping for toilet paper and cheaper-than-at-the-grocery-store juice boxes. Plus, if your kid gets a runny nose when you’re out of the house and you don’t have a tissue handy. . . well, you know, favorite tee to the rescue.

 But, I am ready to class it up. (Low bar, right?) So I have been shopping at Nordstrom. A great start, to be sure, and I am obsessed with their return policy–which might be the most important part of shopping–but it still leaves a lot to be desired.

Take, for example, the Night Out tops selection for women, sampled online on May 5, 2015. I am looking for things that I can still wear to work but are perfect for date night. Nordstrom is a classy place, so I figured they’d catch my ‘married-with-kids, trying-to-stay-awake-past-10’ date night vibe. I guess not. As I scrolled through pages of options, I felt like a stranger to this planet.

Who wears that? Never, in my entire life, have I seen someone wear something like that. And I thought I had been to lots of places.

Where do you go such that you feel like that is a good idea? Are the other people sequined racerback tankwearing things like this as well? I grant that a lot of it is probably “clubbing” attire (do they still call it that?  Last time I went I wore a work blouse and stood in the back complained about how loud it was.) But clubs are dirty and the people don’t care what you’re wearing because its dark and everyone kind of smells. So, who is buying the $1,400 sequined racerback tank for those events? And what do they do if the “Night Out” occurs on a cold evening?

Are old people–like, over the age of 24–allowed to “Go out”? I mean, I thought that is what I was doing all of these years on Saturday nights with MI, but it seems like I DO NOT have any of the clothes I need for it. So, I guess I have been doing something else.  What have I been doing?night out sheer tunic

Clearly, I am out of my league here. I have given up online shopping (just like I did in a fit of anger in 2012) and set up a consultation with a personal stylist.

She asked me to send ideas of what I liked; I found some things. But a large part of my email was dedicated to “Things I Don’t Like,” in which I mostly felt like I was describing . . . clothes these days.

I am quite curious to see what she comes up with.

If all else fails, I can fall back on wearing gym clothes all day. My happy place.


Algorithms aren’t funny

Apparently math has a minimal sense of irony. That’ll teach me to do sarcastic research affiliated with my own account.

Last week I started pulling together information for a blog entry on a topic of great importance to me: workout attire. My initial ideas for the post were inspired by this insightful Redbook article, “How to Wear Workout Gear All Day.” I read the article, intrigued because I had previously thought that there was just one way to wear workout gear all day: put workout gear on in the morning and then. . . don’t change. Boom: workout gear all day.

Turns out, it was advice on how to ‘style’ workout clothing like real clothes. But, in my humble, finely-honed-and-generally-correct opinion, the advice was ridiculous. Like, ‘wear leggings with a sweater.’ OMG, finally good news on this! Someone should tell high school girls they can wear leggings all the time like pants. I anticipate that trend will be BIG. And universally flattering. ‘Wearing tennis shoes with whatever you want’–did you know that worked?! Pause for a minute to think of your growing wardrobe and how you can jump next to your toddler as he scooters way more comfortably than you would have in your heels. And I assert that an Anorak is neither a workout item, nor a work item. Even if you cuff it asymmetrically.

So, with budding insights like these, I decided to create an alternate list of how NOT to wear workout clothes–a list I think we can all agree is more important. So I began research, looking for ideas and images of some of the worst, weirdest workout outfits, gear, and trends out there. I had a good start. Like:

1. Cropped workout sweatshirts and long-sleeve shirtsReebok crop. Now, I liked cropped shirts as much as the next person: hardly at all. This is not ok, amIright? How often do you need to wear long sleeves but nothing on your stomach? Never, workout warriors. Never.

2. The other side of leggings: those paired post workout with a top that doesn’t cover your rear. Buzzfeed tried to help with the “Am I Wearing Pants?” flow chart, but a lot more education needs to be done on this topic. Learn the rules. Tell your friends.

3. Underwear as outerwear. Think of it as the slip dress of Crossfit. Like this, which is good for skiing under two other layers. But not by itself. Repeat after me: this is not a shirt. This is not a shirt.

4. Mesh: this is the new hotness in workout catalogs “to keep you cool.” Ok, with some of them that have venting in the back or knee or underarm. But companies have, as often happens, misapplied the trend and lost track of what we are trying to accomplish. This doesn’t keep you cool. Things like this and this keep creepy guys coming to group fitness classes and we need to work together to stop it right now.

5. Low crotch “jogger” pants. Fitness gear inspired by hoodlums of 1994.  Pass.  I like to be able to actually move in my workout gear. Plus, I think they are also called “harem” pants. Let’s reflect briefly on that as a society of empowered women.

I wanted *eight* things for my own list, though, to nicely parallel the Redbook article, so I ‘saved as draft’ and went to conduct more field observations at the gym. But before I could make any substantial breakthroughs, though, the magical internet advertising algorithms saw my browse history of unfortunate-looking fitness apparel and revved up its efforts to sell it to me.

So, I still don’t have items 6-8 for my list (feel free to propose in comments below, if you do!) but I see at least one ad at all times that would allow me–usually with free shipping!–to become my own worst dressed list.

Apparently math has a minimal sense of irony. That’ll teach me to do sarcastic research affiliated with my own account. I will be sure, in the future, to use MI’s persona. Just like I did back in 2013 when I needed to learn what “twerking” was (thinking of his ensuing months of article suggestions still makes me giggle).

Lessons learned. Go out there and wear your workout clothes.

Miley-Cyrus twerking day