How many times has this happened to you? You want or need a new item of clothing. You head out to the store feeling hopeful (and maybe even excited) that you’ll find the perfect shirt or dress or pair of pants. But after a half hour of browsing and hauling an armload of potentials into the dressing room, you stand in front of the mirror tugging on a miniscule sweater, or pants that reveal parts of your body which haven’t been seen by anyone except your boyfriend or husband or internist.
To add insult to injury, the clothing designers seem to ignore people in your age category or who have your body type. Instead, they insist on designing clothes for people who are dozens of years younger, and who are impossibly thin and leggy enough to look good in these outfits.
This experience has prompted me to think outside of the big box clothing stores, with their predictable styles and mass-consumer appeal. Instead, I’ve started shopping online in stores like Etsy.com. It is a place for innovative people who collect or create their own items and display them in virtual shops. Some sell clothing (vintage and handmade), others sell jewelry or kitsch like crocheted stuffed animals and still others sell housewares. Last winter I ordered two shirts from a dressmaker in Thailand who creates and sews fabulous blouses with beautiful pleats and buttons, all priced under $30.00. Last month, I ordered a vintage 1970′s geometric print shirt from a collector in Paris. Each shop owner photographs their items and gives size information. You can also email them with questions before or after you order. It’s an adventure in shopping. What fun!
Do you feel stifled by the clothing selection in stores? Have you found alternatives either online or in your neighborhood? What are they?