Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My Epic Random & Lazy Fashionista Self—Confessions of an Introverted Shopper

S.R. Karfelt, Stephanie Karfelt, travel, writer

There's a brand of clothes on Amazon called Sakka that I've taken a liking to. It's a bit Bohemian and summery, and the price is right. They don't wash easily, and the color fades, but that suits a summer love doesn't it? 

Last fall I was all over PattyBoutik, also available on Amazon. Her tops are longish and fitted. They're also a comfy cotton, unlike the lightweight flowy tops and dresses by Sakka. 

It's easy to be a fan of both brands. They're comfortable and ordering them is easy.

My favorite thing to wear is a pair of ancient Levi's—something so old and thin that you can wear them on ninety degree days and it feels like comfy cotton. I like them with an extra long sleeveless tank top in summer, and a long-sleeve t-shirt in cold months. But I'm trying to step-up my wardrobe a bit. 

Comfort is my big motivator. I've gained weight but feel no obligation to cover my pasty arms. While shopping with a friend she mentioned how tunics hide the bum. I shared my uncooperative fashion nature and admitted I felt no need to hide mine. Sure it used to look better, but if you don't like it I don't really care. Look at your own backside.

It's mine, not yours. 

There's this thing about being female that I just can't get on-board with. You can survive terrible things, become independent and successful in all areas of life, and write books about it—but dammit, woman, why's your arms floppy?

Being strong is what I ask of my body. Can I lift up small children? Can I take the stairs two at a time? Can I pull myself back into the canoe? Maybe not that last one so much very well, but you get my drift.

Despite the super-strength in my massive calves and soft arms, I'm still interested in comfortable clothes that look nice. They make me happy. I'm reading that Walter Isaacson book on Leonardo da Vinci. He liked to wear rose tunics and looked dashing sporting curls. We humans are a vain lot, and not much has changed since his time (he was born in 1452).

I like new clothes for special occasions and sometimes for my travels. In Egypt I settled for cotton t-shirts and capris in olive and stone. They're excellent for climbing pyramids, camels, and into tombs. I thought they gave me a rather Raiders of the Lost Ark look as I dug them out of the bowels of my closet just before my flight. On the way home, I left them behind. Sometimes I do that when I pack light and wear the same things over and over. 

Yes, I literally have worn favorite clothes to death. 

Like you haven't. My favorite white blouse had become one with the desert. It was never going to be white again. Usually when I travel I take a few outfits and shop for something new wherever I go. Last time I went to London, I took my favorite autumn clothes from here in the shire—short suede boots, epic jeans, and my coolest blue plaid jacket. I definitely looked like country mouse hitting the big city.

My London friend said, "Are you wearing that?" when we dressed to go out, giving my AWESOME BOOTS the stank eye. 

When I went back to London a couple months later I knew the rules. It's like in New York City. You can't go wrong wearing all black. You're looking chic now, country mouse.

In Greece I know how to dress, although I've made the mistake of taking jeans in summer. I wear lightweight jeans in the Arizona desert all the time. But it's defense against prickly cacti.

Light flowing clothing is what you want in Greece in summer. Something comfortable in blaring white heat. The summer sun there is so brilliant that it effects my vision. One summer I bought a solid silver bracelet. I like the whiter silver they sell in Greece and pick a new piece each visit. Know why that particular bracelet looked so white? It is white. I didn't notice the decorative white paint until I was on the plane home.

Long ago I used to pack for a trip far ahead. Now I tend to notice that the calendar has rolled into a travel month and I tear through my closet hoping for miracles. The little mall here in the shire has lost store after store, but I race down there full of misplaced hope. 

Shopping isn't my thing, but when I do go through the hassle of getting into a store I buy like it's my job. I might need clothes for other things this year so I stock up. That way I don't have to come back! 

By the time I get home from the maul, all the energy has been sucked from my body. I don't have the strength to look at that stuff again. I throw the bags into my closet. Later I'll pack them for a trip with the tags still on. That's sometimes a problem if I didn't try them on to begin with.

Last summer my workshop trip to Greece was later in the year. But I went to the mall early in anticipation, and because I was running dangerously low on everyday tank tops. Hoping to avoid ever having to shop again I bought one in every color. 

This week I hit Amazon because I've about worn those tops out and even that store has closed now. It's 3:30 a.m. now and I just ordered a couple more tops and a pair of over-priced jeans that reviewers say are so thin they're perfect for summer. How could I resist?

The thing about online shopping that I like best are REVIEWS. Does the dye rub off? Does it fall apart in the wash? Is it comfortable? That's what appeals to me. You'd think I was picking a surgeon I'm so picky about my Amazon and online purchases. I'm not sure it takes me any less time than going to a store. I even impulse buy. 

Yes, since you asked, I could use an agate pyramid!

At the mall I honestly just want to get out as soon as possible. The layout of the stores sucks my life force. I detest the ones that are mazes and force you deeper into the belly of the beast when all you want are underthings. 

That's why I often stick with brands I know and online shopping. Levi's are comfortable, or old ones are. That's again why I wind up shopping online. It's peaceful and efficient and I can find what I need. 

Know what would draw me into a brick and mortar shop over online shopping? Besides if the store carried useful and traditional styles over so much low-quality fluff? Helpful sales staff—that doesn't mean feigned friendliness. Mandatory forced fake enthusiasm from employees doesn't work for me. Sometimes it borders on mania. Customers, like all people, know when you don't mean it. Being polite is enough, being honest is even better. 

It does bother me to see malls shutting down, and I briefly
reconsider online shopping. I do shop local when I can, but here in the shire that is almost exclusively specialty shops. As always a single trip to the dying mall tends to send me right back online. Even when I go into Victoria's Secret or a local shoe store I often end up ordering what I wanted that wasn't in the store. Business is a matter of meeting economic need isn't it? The onus has to be on the shops and businesses. I dream of a store with quality clothing and useful products that's very different from most mega mall shops. Is it me? How guilty do you feel about online shopping? Any other shopping introverts out there? 


  1. I discovered that short dresses are more comfortable than trousers in the summer and they look good. My favourite is a $10 black one I bought in NYC TJ Max. Stylish despite the price and easy to pack