facing my fears, retail edition

So, the big Office Overhaul has not been completed. It began, but things got in the way. No worries; I’ll finish over the weekend. What’s important is that while I wasn’t able to complete that task, I managed something even more impressive.

I went shopping.

Let’s pretend this fledgling blog has readers who don’t already know me. Grocery shopping? No problem. Household goods? Presents for others? Books? All good. Clothing? For myself? That I have to wear in public? That aren’t fitness gear? I am out of there!

This is the reason that, for my sister’s wedding, I used Nordstrom’s personal shopper service (thank you, Emily! That was the BEST idea! I may devote an entire blog post to my astonishingly fantastic experience). If left to my own devices, I enter a store, poke about a while, decide nothing will look good on me. Should I dare to try anything on, I fret about my problem areas, decide that once I lose those last however many pounds, I’ll come back and try again. Minor panic sets in. I find it hard to breathe. I flee.

I know I’m a work in progress. Most of us are. I also know that I’m harder on myself and my body than Stacy and Clinton or any personal shopper or helpful salesperson will ever be. Well, maybe not Stacy. I suspect she’d judge the hell out of me. Thing is, work in progress or not, I still have to live my life. Though most of that happens in old yoga pants and dodgy sports bras, there are times when I need to look somewhat respectable.

It’s probably no surprise to any of you if you absolutely must shop, it’s best to do so with a trusted friend. I’m blessed to have a great number. Yesterday, the task fell to my fellow kickboxing instructor and naturally gorgeous gal, Sabrina. Seriously, y’all. She makes burpees look effortless. I have no idea how she does it. Anyway, that was the day we’d planned to start up our circuit training partnership once more. Before that, however, we’d hit a local boutique. Little did I know she’d informed them I had a fun-but-casual-but-special event this weekend. When I walked through the doors, they were ready.

Here’s where I shout-out to  Hip & Chic. It’s a small shop that is packed with an array of styles and accessories that manage to fit any sensibility. Eileen set up the two dressing rooms with anything Sabrina and I wanted to try. She was ready to fetch different sizes as well as things we needed to model just for fun. I tried on two halter jumpsuits, you guys. Two. And I’m not going to lie: they both looked kind of great. There was a lovely, long and swingy sweater vest. A simple sweatshirt with an asymmetric neckline. A micro-suede, fleece lined grey jacket. Gorgeously draped black palazzo pants. As it was, I made it out with just three items, one of which was a serious splurge. No surprise the latter was something I never would have tried on myself, a fit and flare dress in purple and black and a hint of gold that Sabrina handed to me within minutes of entering the store. It fit beautifully. It had pockets. It was a perfect cut. And, as I later found, it happens to be the exact same designer who made the dress I wore to my sister’s wedding. These people. This label. They get me and my strange proportions! Would it be weird to send a gift basket?

I bought two other items*, drooled over a lot of jewelry, and resolved to make my life much more interesting and fabulous so I might have occasion to wear well made, tasteful, cool clothing. If I can shape myself to those same watchwords, all the better. I rather like the notion of having my own style, of having the teensiest bit of swagger, or finding fashion that fits my personality and vice versa.

*again, most of you know me, so you may have seen the picture of the cropped sequined top I posted on Facebook. Still… I can not believe I bought that. Or will wear that. But I am going to. I’m not getting any younger; that’s beyond my control. I can, however, work on being more fearless. : )
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