This week I went shopping for jeans (for myself).
I haven’t bought denim in a couple years and was due for a year-round pair I could wear with flats or tuck into boots. I thought I’d find what I needed at The Limited, where pants have worked well for me in the past.
I tried on a couple pairs, but found the styles at The Limited more jegging than jean, and I needed something more sturdy.
I moved on to Macy’s and tried on just about every affordable pair I could get my hands on. Lucky, Levi’s, Bar III, Free People, and Maison Jules to name a few, without any luck.
I began to think I wasn’t going to find denim today. I was looking at myself different in the mirror…noticing the wideness of my hips, the thickness of my thighs. I began to despair. Why was this so hard for me to find a pair of jeans? As a Denver style expert? Why couldn’t it be easy, like it is with The Style Shop by Sandi Mele clients? Where was MY Denver personal shopper?
I continued on, resolving to look another day and put more research into discovering the right pair before hitting the stores (I really should treat my own shopping sessions like I treat client sessions…).
But something had shifted. I wasn’t excited about it anymore. The anticipation of feeling sexy and skinny in a pair of jeans felt more like a far-off dream. Shopping sounded more exhausting than entertaining, and I was beginning to think I should stick to my colored denim ritual rather than seek out a good pair of jeans.
I wandered into Gap and drifted toward the women’s denim. Reluctantly pulling a few pairs off the shelf, I slowly meandered back to the dressing room. I didn’t expect much after such a disappointing afternoon, but the first pair I tried on made me pause.
I wanted to sulk, so my mind automatically sought out the flaws. The length might be a little short…do I even want ankle-length? It cuts off the very bottom of the leg. Does it make me look shorter? Stockier? Does it draw attention to my bulky legs?
I almost threw in the towel again, but just in time, I realized I was doing the exact thing I’ve urged so many clients to steer clear of. The trash talk. The negative voice. The critical eye that only sees the flaws and misses out on everything else.
Trust me on this. If you let the trash talk rule, there’s no Denver style consultant who can help you. You’ll never feel pretty. You’ll only notice the things you don’t like about yourself, rather than all the beautiful things everyone else is noticing. The majority of the time, NO one even sees the parts of you you are most insecure about. And that’s a fact.
I stood in the mirror torn. One part of me wanted to sulk, and the other part of me was curious to hear the Denver style expert's opinion. Hmmm…well, the front of the jean doesn’t sag. And the higher waist is very flattering. The length is very convenient for use year-round, and the color isn’t so dark that it would be weird to wear in summer. You should try tucking in your shirt! Now look at that. Even with a triangle body type, you can still get away with tucking your shirt into a jean if it’s the right jean.
Surprise surprise, I ended up buying them (with a little nudge from my husband…).
I took away from the experience one thing. Shopping is emotional. Personal.
And many times extremely vulnerable.
I’ve been there. And if I need help remembering the technicalities of what works and why, chances are you do too. Someone needs to tell us to get out of our heads.
Is there something about this story you can relate to? Do you avoid shopping because of the emotional toll it takes? Have you ever battled feeling beautiful in a dressing room? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.
And stay TUNED for an upcoming post on The Style Shop by Sandi Mele's blog - how to pull off skinny jeans no matter your body type (with new discoveries from today’s visit to the mall)!
With warm wishes & a big heart,