Guys and Shopping

I went to a nearby outlet mall today and realized I have a shopping pattern that works for me, more or less. I am a focused shopper. I nearly always know exactly what I want, I know my sizes and I have a clear idea of what’s already in my closet. I go into the store, head straight for what I’m looking for, try stuff on if I see my targeted items, decide right away whether or not to buy and I’m done. I give myself a little room for spontaneity but I don’t do a lot of random browsing.

My clothing is neither in style nor out of style. I buy clothes that fit my own sense of style and that I can wear for years. I think I dress like a ‘casual Friday’ 45 to 50-year old and you and I both know I’m older than that. If you know me in person you also know I don’t especially care. I do like to dress appropriately for various situations and most of my shirts go with most of my pants. I actually like dressing up but I don’t have much reason for that so I don’t own a lot of dressy clothes.

When it comes to money, I tend to pay more than I should for housing and cars but I’m fairly frugal with clothes purchases. There are men’s jeans selling for $70 - $150 or more in some stores but none of them are in my closet or at this outlet mall. A hundred dollars for a shirt? No way. I don’t like to spend that much on shoes either although that is a harder goal to hit. Those are reasons I shop outlet malls. I buy clothes that were sort of stylish a year or two ago and are now priced half or less than they were when new. And yes, I know that some products sold at outlet malls were made specifically for outlet malls and are sometimes lesser quality than other items in the same brand. I’m OK with that. If certain outlet mall brands fall apart too soon I simply stop buying those brands.

Today’s outlet mall shopping list included casual slip-on shoes, jeans, a couple of shirts and some socks. I discovered just how out of shape (or out of style) I am when I couldn’t fit into the same Eddie Bauer jeans I buy every time I go to that mall. I also looked at many shirts there but found none that I liked or that fit right. So I bought socks, gloves (good price) and sleep pants (also good price). Found exactly what I wanted at the shoe store (another good price).

I was in another store looking at shirts when I came across a suit sale. I only wear a suit six or seven times a year but it has been at least five years since I bought my one and only suit, so I looked at what they had. And found one I liked at half the already low price I paid for my current suit. BUT … I usually don’t buy suit separates. Those are jackets and pants sold separately, but supposedly match, which is what a suit is supposed to do. And because they are in various sizes, you don’t necessarily have to have them fitted and altered, which is a plus. I found a jacket and a pair of pants that fit and in the store lighting they looked like a match. When I tried them on at home, however, something didn’t look right. I checked the label and sure enough one was charcoal and one was black. Ugh. Now I have to go back tomorrow to exchange one or the other. Either is alright with me I just need them to be the same. I didn’t see the difference in store light and the clerk didn’t see the difference in the light or on the price tag.

Other random outlet mall observations and discoveries:

- Outlet malls get crowded in the middle of Saturday afternoons. I usually go when the stores open but broke my rule this time.

- I almost always buy Eddie Bauer, Dockers and Rockport/Reebok. This time I bought Eddie Bauer, Bass and Van Heusen.

- I used to like Calvin Klein but I am convinced they have narrowed their product line to specifically appeal to skinny gay men. I am NOT skinny or gay. So much for that brand.

- The specific outlet mall where I shop must sell a lot of plus sizes.

- Not only am I a targeted shopper I am also a fast walker. Outlet mall shoppers seem to be strollers and browsers. Another reason to go when the stores first open.

- I own more shoes than most guys but not as many as most women.

So there you have it. Real guys do shop, but not all that much.