Monday, September 1, 2008

Hell Isn't Other People

Jean-Paul Sartre had it wrong. Hell isn't other people. Well, other people are part of the hell. Hell is shopping for women's dress pants. Yes, women's dress pants. I have a new job (YAY!), it is telemarketing (BOO!), and it requires business attire for no discernible reason other than to make me miserable on a daily basis. So off I went, out into the wild yonder of the mall. And found that there are very few clothing stores that actually carry anything I can fit into. Due to the nature of resizing clothing, I have the unfortunate issue of no longer fitting into a size 2. I used to be able to pull it off; it would be a little baggy, but ultimately acceptable. And for most stores, 2 Petite is the smallest they go. Which is unfortunate, both because complaining about this issue isn't exactly something that garners sympathy and because I have no clothing I can fit into. Which is where the "hell" part of this equation fits in. Trying on pant after pant after pant, having them not fit in the waist, having the odd pant that fits in the waste still be too long even though it is called "Petite", and ultimately giving up in store after store and just buying a skirt that apparently makes me resemble a mermaid is hell. Plus, those people are less than helpful. Seriously, I know retail isn't a fun job; but neither is shopping and I expect something more than a grunt of recognition. Also, waiting forever at the register with my clothing items is also less than fun.

Which is where The Gap comes in. I never liked The Gap before -and prior to this whole job thing, I had planned on buying "green" clothing, made with environmentally friendly fibers and by people who weren't locked in a sweat shop for something like 12 hours a day. I had found a few sites that sold cute dresses and shirts but nothing businessy, so my liberal idealism was squashed and I spent my day in a mall instead -dealing with ill-fitting clothing and crabby employees. Until The Gap. The Gap stocks size zero (only regular, though). The Gap had employees that were pleasant and attentive. The Gap had clean dressing rooms. The Gap had an employee who told me about how Banana Republic's size zero was smaller than The Gap's, that petite pants were available on the website but they were cut differently, that on-line orders could be returned at Gap stores, and that I got 15% off my purchase and 10% off every first Tuesday of the month if I applied for a Gap Visa card. Euphoric from my success, I did. So, The Gap is expensive. The Gap is ridiculously expensive. The Gap was also the most pleasant shopping experience I have had in a good long while. Shopping for women's dress pants is hell, but The Gap was -if not heaven- limbo.


John said...

y'know what's funny? I'm apparently not the skinniest guy to shop at most men's clothing stores. I guess that is a consequence of this whole "thin is in" trend for gentlemen these days, but honestly it's quite odd to imagine that there are enough people skinnier than me for all these stores to stock clothing in their dimensions. Those poor bastards.

I still don't understand why women's clothing is by arbitrary size. Men's clothing is by ACTUAL INCHES. You usually don't have to worry about things running long or short, since a 32-inch inseam is a 32-inch inseam no matter where you measure it.

petpluto said...

Believe me, that is a question that has boggled the mind for ages! Who came up with a size 2? Why don't companies, if we have to stick to a size 2, make the SAME size a size 2? Why can't women walk out of a store with a size 2 with the reasonable expectation it will fit them like all the size 2s they have bought from that store before?! These are the unanswered questions of the universe, my friend.

On a side note, there are guys skinnier than you?! Seriously?

MediaMaven said...

I feel your pain, Petra, since I have had many similar experiences, except that Gap (and Old Navy) clothing doesn't fit me. If it's long enough, it's too baggy everywhere, and if it fits my waist, it's too short and cut all wrong.

To add to your comment, why can't sizes stay the same?! I know what size I take in certain brands, but after a few years a size 5 in Levis is not the same as it was; it's bigger. I don't like looking for lower and lower numbers either, especially since many places don't carry enough of them!

Habladora said...

Congrats on the job! Sorry about the need for dress pants!

jjfs85 said...

Faith and I recently did a work-acceptable clothing shopping trip ourselves. We started at the Gap, due to gift cards, bought about 3 things for $3298573.98, luckily covered by the cards, and then we moved onto this other store. You would not believe the crazy deals we got. I bought three shirts for $20, Faith bought several really nice dress shirts, a couple jackets, a few skirts and a couple pairs of dress pants for about $70. And to top it all off, it was all "green" clothing.

We went to the local Salvation Army. Maybe it's because we're in a pricey area, but they had pristine clothing from The Gap, Eddie Bauer, Merona, Lands End, Talbot's, and Alfani. You should check it out near you. They could have the same types of things. And since it's all second-hand clothing (though you'd never know it by looking), it's environmentally friendly and the store's proceeds go to good causes.

Be forewarned, you will have to sift through some clothing that looks like it was last worn in the 50's, but people do donate some great stuff to these places.

But in the end, did I end up getting several things from Kohl's that the Salvation Army just didn't have. Oh well, at least I saved a good amount of money!