Sunday, July 2, 2017

Clothes shopping for both entertainment and use.

Clothes shopping. It's something men don't think of much. And it's something that women always seem to have on their lists of things to do. I find this to be very true for Merio and Marian, as both persona have very different attitudes towards buying clothes.

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Shopping as Mario always seems to be a very simple affair. I'll have something that I'm looking to buy (such as a pair of trousers), and will walk into the store then head directly to the area carrying that garment. I know the fit, color, and fabric of the garment I want, and will often be in and out of the store within 10 minutes of entry with the garment in hand.

Contrast the above with Marian's shopping experiences.  Recently, I was on the way home from Eastern Connecticut. There was a Lane Bryant outlet along the way home. I had no need to buy anything, but wanted to entertain myself by browsing through dresses, blouses, and skirts. As much as I could put together nice looking two piece outfits, I prefer the ease and simplicity of looking "all together" in a dress, and will gravitate to any dresses on display.

On this trip, I saw a LBD (Little Black Dress) on clearance, tried it on, and bought it at a deep discount. And I also saw some nice tunic dresses that I'd have loved to buy if I had excess money laying around. In doing research later on, it appears that these dresses are not in their non-outlet stores, and may have been made just for the outlets. And this wouldn't have bothered me, as I'd have been using them as tunic tops, with leggings as bottoms to complete the outfits.

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I find that dressing as Mario is very simple. It's easy to get dressed when one tends to wear clothes for utilitarian purposes. Since I don't do much "dirty" work (read: I don't get dirty when I work), I have settled on dark trousers with shirts that have button down collars for my everyday wardrobe. The patterns on the shirts tend to be conservative, and I am very comfortable wearing this basic "costume" 99% of the time.

Dressing as Marian is much more complex. Since I like dresses so much, I have to dress them down as not to be overdressed for most occasions. And it doesn't help, that in suburbia, women tend to eschew dresses for the simplicity of wearing jeans. So I tend to look a little overdressed until the warm weather comes, and when women tend to break out their dresses and skirts. Color and pattern selection is very important in a woman's wardrobe, and I've found that a dress (or its accessories) can provide the color I need to portray the person I want to be seen as.

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You'll note that I haven't bothered to talk about buying formal wear. It is much easier for a man to buy a business suit or a formal "dinner suit" (to use an almost archaic phrase) than it is for a woman to buy an equivalent garment. Put a man in a well fitting dark suit and he can attend almost any function - from a business interview to attending someone's wedding. And he can even rent the "dinner suit" for the formal soiree that he might have an occasion to attend.

Women don't have it that easy. It's much harder for a woman to have a business garment that can go from day to night without changing all the accessories worn with the garment. And if she's going to a function that has a hint of formality, she will need to buy a specific type of dress to attend the function. Of course, while a groom can rent his tuxedo, the bride has to buy an overpriced wedding dress that can run into the thousands of dollars.

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So, a woman tends to think about clothing much more than a man, and will often find herself browsing through clothing for possible future use. Of course, without a plan for shopping, she will tend to buy a lot of clothing she doesn't really need, and then still feel like she has nothing to wear after filling her closet. With a plan, she will have a smaller closet, but she will need to carefully accessorize her outfits. Either way, a woman is effectively forced to continually be on the lookout for the "right" clothing, as she may need to wear it one day.

I think this is related to the being the "Gatherer" of a Hunter-Gather species.  Lili has frustrated me while shopping by behaving like a gatherer instead of a hunter when hunting is called for. Contrast this with both the Cat Lady's and GFJ's approaches to shopping. Both know what they want, and will target what they want to avoid wasting time.  In this regard, the women I like and I all tend to be hunters when shopping. We may find an environment which triggers browsing behavior. But hunting seems to be dominant in us. I guess this might be an area where my mind is wired for male behavior.

And on that note, I'll call it a day....

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