Thursday, June 2, 2011

I bought a sundress without trying it on -- and it fits

Never Done: I bought a sundress without trying it on -- and it fits

I have been trying to figure out how to get some clothes that fit, that aren't worn out, that (sorry if this is too much information) aren't so old that they are permeated with BO under the armpits. I know that for most people there's not much to "figure out" here, but for me there is. Because when I go shopping, it doesn't take much for me to decide I don't need -- or want -- something. When I try on clothes, it's easy for me to decide something doesn't look good on me, and once I've gone through the first batch of clothes I brought into a dressing room, I rarely have the wherewithal to go back for more. If something isn't completely perfect, I usually determine it costs too much to buy if it's not completely perfect, and there you have a recipe for being an unsuccessful shopper.

I was heading to a meeting when the subway (F train at 34th street) let me out literally inside a JCPenney store. In order to get outside, I had to walk through. On my way walking through, I saw some sundresses I thought I might like. I didn't have time to try anything on, so I was about to walk on by, when it occurred to me that if I didn't try a dress on, I couldn't reject it. And maybe if I would get it home, in a calmer environment than a Manhattan dressing room, I would find a way to wear it (with all my bra options) that would work for me. I reasoned that I could always return it if it was a disaster, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it would work out.

I chose a cream cotton jersey sundress with flowers on it, size medium, and took it straight to the register. When the young woman rang me up, the dress price was half what it said on the tag. I asked her how long the sale was lasting, and she said -- oh, this is isn't a sale. All our clothes are always less than the tag. So I had been willing to pay $28 for a dress, and here it was, only $14. Did other people know that about JCPenney? What about other stores? Have I been rejecting clothes as too expensive for years, when their prices would have been randomly reduced at the register? Do people who enjoy shopping know all the ins and outs of deals and stores the way I know about, say, gardening or baseball?

These are the questions I asked myself as I tucked my new dress into my bag, and headed out to my meeting. And later, when I got home, I tried on the dress -- and it fit. The part I thought might be weird is weird, but it is workable weird. (It's cut for someone with smaller boobs, so there's a seam across my bust, but it's stretchy so it's basically OK.) I am not sure if I would have rejected this dress in the dressing room, and I am trying not to think about it too much -- just appreciate the fact that it's already 80 degrees at 8:30 AM, and I have a cool dress to wear today.

And maybe I've discovered a new way to shop that will take less time, and actually be productive. We'll see if it works a second time.


  1. Nope, clothes aren't always less at the register, just sounds like you got a good deal! As someone who often has trouble finding things that fit my bottom half, I feel obligated to tell you that there's a great, cheap tailor on Orchard Street between Rivington and Stanton that can make $14 dresses fit like a glove (although their changing room leaves a little to be desired)!

  2. So ... you buy things that fit your top and alter the bottom? Or the opposite?

  3. I buy things that fit the bigger parts and then tailor the rest, though I don't do it all that often--only for things I really like or that almost fit but not quite

  4. Thanks -- this is a portal into a whole new world of shopping.