Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Retail therapy or retail nightmare?

Having more or less come to terms with what is happening to Mum and how little time she has left, my thoughts have turned to more practical matters. Given the inevitable will happen in the not-too-distant future, I going to need suitable clothing, as will the rest of the Dean household.

It’s many years since I had a customer facing job so I got rid of all my suits. A review of the current state of my wardrobe showed nothing suitable for sombre occasions. I know my mum isn’t one for wearing head to foot black. She likes a splash of colour. Colour I can manage. Every shade of the rainbow, but all of it casual, apart from one wedding guest style outfit.

Cost Center 1’s wardrobe (my daughter) is in a similar state. She has smart interview clothing but none of it is quite right for the occasion. Cost Center 2 had a wonderful three piece suit in grey, but as he has grown out and up, it proved to be a smidge on the tight side. His voice went from baritone to falsetto with the raising of a zipper!

Mr Dean, on the other hand, up till lockdown, had a customer facing job. Now he only needs to be smart from the waist up for video conferences! All he needs to do is put his suit in for dry cleaning, polish up his smart shoes and he’s good to go.

The rest of us had to go shopping. Pre-COVID, I would jump at the chance to go for a good mooch around the shops, snapping up bargains and trying on unlikely clothing just for the fun of it. I’ve never grown out of that silly habit. However, we’re in a whole new world. Armed with hand sanitiser and masks, we headed off to our nearest shopping mall. Within the first 15 minutes, CC2 had chosen a new suit, tried it on, got admiring glances from the assistant and purchased it. A new version of his old suit. He can totally rock the devil-may-care look in the suit as well as the smart, respectful look. Fortunately his feet haven’t grown so his smart brogues still fit well and compliment his suit.

CC1 and I were not so lucky. Everything we looked at was suitable for attending weddings or being Mother of the Bride/Groom. In an unusual twist, we weren’t allowed to try on anything. We could buy, try at home, and then return if not suitable. How unjust. My son can get fitted for a suit but my daughter and I have to guess, go home and try on, hope for the best and then trek back to the mall if we guessed wrong. Fuming doesn’t cover how I felt. My retail therapy was rapidly turning into a retail nightmare.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

In the end CC1 and I left the mall in a huge huff! We tried another shopping outlet. CC1 found a jacket that might go with a dress she’s ordered on-line and I found a jacket that might go with a dress I wore to her graduation. But that left shoes. As I spend most of my time in jeans, I have a great collection of Birkenstocks and Converses. The only smart shoes I have are my dance class shoes (not suitable for outdoor wear). I did see a pair I liked the look of but as no assistant helped or offered advice on how to purchase shoes with current restrictions, I left with the jacket and a handbag. At least I didn’t need to try on the handbag!!

Photo by Cindy Gustafson on

The whole experience of shopping for clothes and shoes is now a nightmare for me. I’m ordering on-line from now on. Thank goodness for garden centres. I’ve promoted them from 2nd favourite shop to absolute favourite, and less stressful too. And breathe!

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