As we’re scurrying back to our hometowns to celebrate holidays about giving thanks and getting your father to lend you the gold card for a shopping spree, but it’s like totally fine because everything’s on sale, so like, you’re practically making money by how much you’re going to save…it’s important to remember a person without whom you wouldn’t be who you are today…your shopping buddy.
In my lifetime, I have found only one person who can truly deserve the title of my perfect shopping buddy. A few girls have been ok for a quick fix, but barring the special occasion shopping trip, when you need one specific item for one specific event (plus accessories, duh), I prefer to shop alone. I know it’s supposed to be some sort of bonding experience, but the only companion I usually need is my dad’s credit card. Maybe I’m old-fashioned…or maybe it’s just some good, ol’ Catholic guilt, but I can’t go clothes shopping with my mom. I feel way too awkward having her follow me around as I grab the things I want, have her sit in the fitting room hanging up clothes and then buying them for me at the end. That can’t be that fun for her. I mean, I know she likes to buy things for me, but people generally shop together because they both want to go home with some brand new, shiny merch. We can do DSW together (because my mom would never DREAM of abandoning her high heels) but that’s pretty much it. I’m not 11, we don’t need to be following each other around the mall going into stores the other has no interest in. Plus, her fashion sense is…well, it’s mommified. She looks damn good for a ## year-old woman, but when I say she dresses cute that “for a mom” clause must be added to the end of it.
With friends, shopping can be just as bad, if not worse. As much as the end of the day “my feet are tired so I’m being a bitch for no reason” fight with mom sucks, with friends, that fight is just passive aggressive awkwardness. While I feel bad about making my mom wait for me to try on 500 items without reciprocating, I don’t feel that bad. With a friend, you need to be conscious of the other person.
There are several factors to consider:
You can’t go shopping with someone whose budget is way different from that of your own. It’s awkward to go into stores you can’t afford and sit there and pretend you have any interest in buying something…I’m sure, and it’s even more awkward to be in a store with someone who can’t afford to spend the money there. Anything that makes you aware of someone’s finances is awkward and weird, and I prefer not to have any part of it. The ONLY appropriate shopping buddy is someone who is willing to spend just as much on a shopping spree as you are: no more, no less. That way, they can tell you if something is really worth it to you given the price…and you don’t have to feel guilty going home with bagfuls of things when they are practically empty-handed having spent a mere $200. Oh, I mean…$200 is a respectable shopping spree, and if you’re like me and exceed that often, you may have a problem.
Your styles should be different enough that you don’t pick out the same things, but similar enough that you can look at a particular piece, know that you wouldn’t want it for yourself, but adore it for your friend. There’s nothing more awkward than that whole “well I saw it first” debate. Of course you can always just borrow that top you’re staring at your friend try on and loving enviously…but it’s just not the same as being the owner of that great piece. You really only get to borrow things once…and although once you’ve been photographed in something you really can’t ever wear it again anyway (kidding, kind of), the occasion could still call for a repeat and it’s just weird to constantly be asking to borrow the same article of clothing. Conversely, you don’t want to be in the situation where you love an article of clothing, and your girl is all like “hmmmmm” about it. That whole “well, I wouldn’t have picked it out, but…” but what? But now I can’t buy it because all I’m ever going to think about is how much you hate my dress. A shopping buddy who knows your style is essential.
You need to go shopping with someone who is comparable in size to you. This seems weird maybe, but it’s mega important. Everyone has problem areas…even the girls you think don’t have problem areas have problem areas, and a good shopping buddy is someone who can tell you when a particular piece is not doing its job to hide yours. (Also, it has to be someone you’re close enough with who knows to look out for those areas on you.) A super skinny minnie CAN NOT go shopping with a girl who is even a tiny bit thicker and has all body image issues. My shopping buddy and I have been the exact same size every year of our life since the 7th grade when we met: we started growing boobs and hips at the same time when our friends were still shaped like little boys, we both gained a little weight senior year of college due to binge-drinking and the depression that accompanied the impending doom that was graduation (and returning to our home town), and we spent our entire year off from life losing it together. It’s amazing really that we’ve ALWAYS been the same. If she had told me during the dark ages that I might want to reconsider that dress I was loving because I looked like a pregnant person and she’d refuse to be seen in public with me, I would have been like “oh, good call” and appreciated the honest feedback. If our friend who has looked exactly the same since the fifth grade (weird, I know, but really, exactly the same), had told me that until I lost those three pounds…ok, ten pounds, I couldn’t buy it, I would have assumed she was an evil bitch and refuse to answer her calls or eat in front of her ever again. The same goes in reverse though, if your friend is the bigger one, she’s never even going to notice that something looks like shit on you because she’s too worried about things looking like shit on her.
4. Devotion To Your Trade (Which is Shopping, Duh)
As I touched on earlier, it is incredibly awkward for one party to sit there waiting for the other to try on a million things. I’ve never been one to decide on an item just by looking at it…if I like something even a little bit, it goes into the fitting room with me. Often, this results in having to make several trips to switch out my clothes (screw you, fitting room associates), and trying on things that I’m like WHAT was I thinking…two minutes ago when I picked this out but, that’s how I roll. I don’t have the energy to pussyfoot around someone who’s going into the room with six items. This is the big leagues. I plan on spending a significant amount of time in this store, buy about 25% of it, do it again in the next store, and then again the following weekend. If you’re not up to my level, don’t shop with me. I don’t want to feel guilty making you wait for me, and I’m sure it’s no picnic for you to watch me go at it either. No thank you.
It doesn’t seem like it would be so difficult to find, but like I said, I’ve only found one girl who truly embodies everything I want in a companion on a shopping spree, and I’d WAY rather shop by myself than with anyone besides her. It’s like our credit cards are soulmates. She’s never let me down before, and I can’t wait to reunite in shopping frenzy bliss. Every day this week.