Friday, July 16, 2010

Why Is Clothes Shopping So Hard?

I had a spare hour or so between meetings yesterday so decided to head over to Stanford Shopping Center to try and do some clothes shopping.

I find buying clothes to be a painful and highly frustrating process. This is because I suffer from two key failings that render me particularly ill-suited (pun intended) to successfully accomplishing that most simple of tasks: a) I am short and skinny, unlike the majority of the male demographic around these parts, and b) I'm not gay. Taken together, this renders 95% of what's exhibited in stores out there utterly unsuitable unless I somehow gain 50 extra pounds overnight or suddenly take to liking pale yellow shirts with shoulder tabs. However, "needs must" as they say and so I ventured forth regardless. Which brings me to a third reason it's a futile quest: I am the wrong age.

Quite sensibly from their perspective, malls such as Stanford cater largely to the clientele to hand, namely rich kids under 25 in their case. Therefore, SSC abounds with stores catering for the young and trendy rather than the middle-aged and indifferent, the latter category being of course the one in which I am counted. In fairness, however, I should point out that the larger chains at least also have to cater to the older crowd, but largely that means they just carry stuff made by Ralph Lauren. Please, God, preserve me from that fate. I have never played polo and likely never will, and what's worse polo, when it is played at all, is done so by the likes of Prince Charles, someone that no one wants to dress like unless they are certifiably insane. And yes, I know the Macy's and Bloomingdales of this world sell suits, too, but I don't know who buys them. Indeed, when I went up there, purely in the interests of checking out the vibe, the answer appeared to be "no one at all" because the entire floor was utterly deserted.

However, I finally did find a cheap shirt at J. Crew ($15 in a sale, a level to which I bet they weren't sure their price guns could sink to) and a pair of "need to look vaguely smart in the office but without actually bothering to wear a jacket" trousers from Banana Republic, also on sale.

With luck, that should see me through until well into 2011, by which time I have no doubt that the problem will have become even worse.

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