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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

I will try on anything, but not that.

Cathy and I kept our date for career clothes shopping and headed out just after noon this morning. The first stop was my bedroom closet. What do I have? What do I need? I’d actually done some mental prep work for this shopping trip. I realize if you don’t know me, you don’t quite understand today’s undertaking.

For the last year I have worked full time at an ice cream parlor. My wardrobe consisted of three identical pairs of Brooks running shoes in various stages of hot fudge damage, a couple pair of jeans, five or six t-shirts from Old Navy–same cut, different colors. There you have it, my wardrobe for the last year. Before that I was a size 22/24. Thanks to some serious time using WW online, I lost 40 lbs and am now somewhere between a 16 and 18. (Yes, there is weight to lose, but not in time for work tomorrow.)

I am also in the process of redefining my girly side. That means more than one pair of cute shoes, more than one cute bag, and more than one cute shirt. It means make-up, a blow dryer, and CLOTHES. Clothes that fit properly. Clothes that I can wear to new corporate job and possibly to woo nice jewish boys in.

So we evaluated the clothing situation and headed to a mall with both a Carson’s and a Lane Bryant. At Carson’s I reminded Cathy that I will try on anything. I told her my sizes and we filled our arms and went to the fitting room. Thumbs up, thumbs down. I managed to find two things I like (that were also work appropriate. I tried very hard not to buy going out clothes, but work clothes. If they happen to also be cute or sexy, perfect, but not just sexy.)

Then it was off to Lane Bryant (or Lame Giant as some people call it, but that is simply not true.) Again, I stated, “I will try on anything–I wear an 18 on the bottom and a 14/16 on top.” I also told a salesgirl that. They work on commission and someone deserved to get it. I didn’t comb the racks, I just waited in the fitting room.

Cathy and Shiree brought me everything in the entire store. I tried on bottom after bottom after bottom, all with the same top on. Yes, no, no, Hell No, maybe. Then with a kahki skirt on, I tried on top after top after top. We learned some things. Bollywood is in, but it is not made for my body. Strong vivid colors with v-necks are. Crop pants work and so do skirts. While I’m here, might as well get some panties–right?

But leaving it up to a savvy shopping friend to hit the racks is a good idea. She hit the sales racks and I only paid full price for one item–the cropped pants. Everything else was between 20 and 50% off. Less than $300–a successful trip. I got two skirts, the cropped pants, four shirts, five sets of trouser socks, and six new panties.

Then it was time for shoes. Oy. Shoes are a weakness, which is hard when you wear an 11. But we hit DSW and searched for a brown shoe in an 11. If I didn’t find it, I wasn’t going to allow myself the purple Franco Sarto mules. The brown shoe didn’t materialize, but a sexy (and I mean sexy) Kenneth Cole black pump did. Yum.

From there is was to Old Orchard–to Nordstrom’s, because they carry size 11s. Alas, brown is not in for the summer and there were no brown pumps in size 11 in the house. On a whim, we popped into Aldo’s and I asked the sales girl (with a TON of attitude on my part), “do you even carry an eleven?” “In some shoes.” “In this one?” Attitude, attitude, attitude. All from me, not from the salesgirl. I am so used to not being served that I assume they can’t/won’t help me.

To my surprise she came back with a box and handed it over. “Um, what about these shoes?” She had those too! I walked out with one great pair of tan pumps and headed towards Steve Madden. Just to make sure I was happy with what I had.

The rest of the afternoon we pulled each other away from frivolous purchases and then collapsed into the car. I tried on a million outfits and 50 pairs of shoes. Cathy walked away from just as many cute pairs of shoes, cute jeans, and sexy tops. She showed restraint in purchasing nothing, I showed restraint in buying only for work.

I am ready, Corporate World of Public Relations, to join your ranks as your newest temporary employee.

P.S. What was I thinking? I went to Skokie without wearing my star of david. Cute boys in kippah and me without the one thing that makes me “look” jewish.

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