Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Ups and Downs of Shopping

            Shopping is an adventure. The new styles, the outfit ideas, the sales, the clinking of hangers as you search for the perfect article of clothing... Numerous books, magazines, and TV shows make shopping seem so effortless; just pick out what goes together and looks great on you! However, when you want to find a staple in your wardrobe such as a suit, special occasion dress, or comfortable pair of shoes, shopping becomes a daunting task. A staple means that you intend to wear it often because it goes with everything. It has to be the perfect fit, cut, and colour that’s right for you. You have to try on the same item over and over again and compare prices, styles, and fits at different stores. Then you have to make a decision. The blue or the black? Sale or new arrival? What if you just cannot find what you’re looking for? Questions like these can add up to one thing: stress.
             Shopping can be stressful. My usual shopping trips consist of browsing through my favourite stores to see what's new. Recently, I had to look for a new pair of dress pants. I went into store after store and tried on what seemed to be over 50 pairs of pants before buying one. Some stores had a variety of styles while others did not (“Do you have dress pants?” “Umm…we have some yoga pants and leggings that just came in…” NOT the same). In the end, I found what I was looking for, but instead of feeling pleased that my search for dress pants had ended, I found myself exhausted and relieved. 
             My best advice to you is don’t give up. It may seem like you’ve been trying on the same article of clothing forever and that you’ll never find anything, but you will. It’s out there; you just have to keep looking. Prom season is in full swing, and so far dresses are the number one topic of conversation. Everyone’s getting their dress and shoes ahead of time to be ready for the big night. I was lucky enough to find my dress back in January so it could take its three months to be ordered (I know. I have to remind myself that I have one.); but I know a few people who have been looking and looking and haven’t found one yet. Keep going.            
            Not finding what you were looking for after a day of shopping is discouraging. Many people begin to believe that maybe there is something wrong with them, not the clothes. The self-hatred kicks in: my arms are flabby, my hips are too wide, my thighs are huge, the list goes on. Stop. There is nothing wrong with you. The clothes are the problem. The pants are cut differently. The print on the t-shirt is crazy. The heel of the shoe is too high. The clothes don’t do justice for you. The perfect article of clothing should make you look and more importantly feel great about yourself.
            So don’t give up on shopping and look on the positive side. If worse comes to worst, give yourself a break and try on something you know you like before getting back to what you were looking for.
            Good luck and have fun!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Trends

There’s an issue that I’ve been meaning to address for a while (okay, well I just started this blog, so not for that long).  Despite all the snow that’s still around, I can assure you that spring is in fact around the corner.  The fashion magazines have just announced the trends for spring, some of which are vintage, neutrals, colour blocks, lace, and whites.  The magazines all have their own interpretations of how we should wear these trends, and what stores to shop at to buy clothes that fit these trends. 
            Teen fashion magazines are targeted towards, well, teens. I’m thinking around the 13-17 range, maybe even younger at this day in age.  They are students (shouldn’t I say we because I’m a student too?) Most of them just like to have a vague idea of what to look for when they go shopping for new clothes.  I’m sure at one point in time; every teen has flipped to a page in a magazine displaying a totally ridiculous outfit and wondered, “Who could possibly wear this?” (I can firmly say that even I have done this…many times.)  To give an example, in a recent magazine (which shall remain nameless) that I was looking at the other day; I saw an outfit that consisted of a sweater dress paired with chunky high tops and oversized sunglasses.  Other examples that I’ve seen in the past are layers upon layers of clothing and stacked accessories (like 10 bangles on one arm). I don’t see the point of advertising these outfit ideas. We are students. We don’t have time to find the perfect colours and textures that layer perfectly, or the accessories that can be stacked effortlessly. Furthermore, where are we getting the money to pay for all these clothes? Magazines advertise new articles of clothing every month that we simply must have in our closets.  Not to mention that these clothes aren’t very practical. We can’t type out essays with rings that go through two fingers, or sit for a two hour exam wearing short shorts and a tank top in an air conditioned gym.
            Before you go and comment that trends can be practical, hear me out. Yes, we can choose to skip the four inch heels when we have ten minutes to dash all the way across campus, or the chunky accessories when we have to focus on a final.  I recently discovered what I believe is the answer to ridiculous fashion.  The more absurd an outfit is, the more attention it will attract; people might say “that’s different! (But completely crazy!)” Then, they might look closely at this outfit, take it apart and evaluate how the pieces can be worn separately. They may actually go as far as buying one or two things and then pairing it with something they already have.  And voila.  That’s how you can achieve to wear the trends without looking over the top. The same goes for runway shows. The clothes modelled on the runway aren’t practical at all! They key is to look at the individual pieces and incorporate them with things you already own.  This not only keeps you up to date with fashion, but allows you to figure out your personal style.  That’s always a good thing, isn’t it?
            So can we fix the outfit I mentioned above? I would take the sweater dress and pair it with some tights, cute flats, maybe a headband and some pearls, and now it’s totally my style- classic and girly.  Alternatively, I could take a fashion risk and pair the high tops with dark wash skinny jeans, a graphic tee, and a leather jacket, and I could be ready to rock and roll.
            Stay stylish!