What Frustrates You Most About Shopping?


This is a question that I’d love your feedback on.  If you could have the perfect shopping experience what would it be?

When you do go shopping in your non-fantasy world, what frustrates you most?
For me it’s that you tend to find when there is a big fashion trend, that it’s everywhere and it’s hard to find alternatives if that look isn’t any good for the body shape I’m shopping for.  So if I don’t want a V neck, or a puffed sleeve, yet everything is one of these these trends it’s impossible to find anything.
My best shopping experience is at a little boutique I love to visit, where the women who own and buy for it are busty, like me, so most of the clothes they buy somehow fit me and look good on me, and instead of trying to find something that fits me, everything fits and I then have to make the decision of what not to buy!


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • Shopping is an axiety riddled occasion for me. First, I am unhappy with my weight and body shape. I have tried to be accepting, but having been a thin person most of my life, this just doesn’t feel right. I guess that’s why I love to buy shoes!

    I get frustrated because so many of the items I like have puffy sleeves. I don’t really like them on someon my age.

  • I would love to go shopping with a personal shopper who advised me on what would suit me, and only took me to stores where the clothes would a) fit me, and b) I could afford. I get very frustrated with clothes shopping, and do it only when necessary – I don’t do window shopping.

  • This is a great question, Imogen!

    I agree with you about the trends being everywhere. Limited selection, in other words. And I also agree with Rachael about the prices–especially for not so good quality, oftentimes.

    One thing that has helped me enjoy shopping so much more is taking very clear and thorough measurements of my entire body (gulp–kind of scary, but worth it) and carrying those measurements plus a measuring tape to the stores. I can measure a pair of pants to see if it’s in the ballpark of fitting before trying on. So many fewer painful moments in a fitting room now.

  • Rachael – yes – can be a killer!

    Julianne – as I always say, you never feel fat in shoes, handbags and jewellery!

    notSupermum – and achievable dream – just choose your personal shopper wisely.

    Sallymandy – great tip, another way of figuring out if pants will fit is to work out if you wrap them round your neck, if the waistband just fits round, or how much extra they need to overlap by!

  • I want to get into a flow state. What interferes with that is:

    racks jammed together so that if you are carrying hangers, you get caught

    similar merchandise (e.g. smart casual) artificially distributed amongst many “departments” causing you to walk back and forth, often winding your way, across half the store, doing laps

    music with a beat- that will never be the beat at which I am cogitating

    terrible store lighting, either too dim or too yellow or pink, so that I have to keep squinting at things or having to drag things close to a source of natural light – shop window – if available

    no full length mirrors placed in the store – I often carry the biggest hand mirror I can manage

    dressing rooms with limits of three items and no way to exchange for other items because no way to get anyone’s attention. But I hate the limits, anyway. Penney’s in my locale is wonderful for letting you wander in and out of the dressing room as you please. I thought employee theft was the biggest cause of “shrinkage”, anyway.

    salespeople who are *sure* I must be shoplifting (I never have) because I am taking “too” long in the dressing room. “Are you all right in there?”

    a store here that is known to have good, inexpensive bras but has decided you can’t try on anymore and you can’t return

  • Clothing that is too small for or doesn’t cover my bust, but then a size larger is too big everywhere else.

    Also, finding petite clothing that is not dowdy, though it seems to be getting better.

  • Your ideal shopping trip sounds pretty good to me.

    I think what frustrates me most is falling in the cracks. I don’t quite need a plus size but I fall in the section where a 14 is pretty comfy in most things.

    The second frustration for me is that in my size often I find what I’ll loosely call old lady clothes for lack of a better term. (In our area anyway.) I’d like to look stylish (not necessarily trendy) in my size.

    Julianne is right on the money. I’ve lost over 40 lbs and still find it hard because I know I “need” to lose more. I’m working to teach myself that I can’t wait for perfection because I’ll never acheive it.

  • Not enough of my price point (bridge to lower end designer) in my size, 14-16 US. Dressing rooms that look worse than stockrooms. Not enough calf-length cute (not matronly) skirts.

    And increasingly, poor finishing: nylon thread, puckery and skimp hems, and plastic buttons even on a $1000 piece.

  • Quite a few things frustrate me about the clothes shopping experience.

    One is that although there are plenty of plus-size women, there are so few shops that cater to them, making choice very limited.

  • I agree with you on the trend overwhelm issue. And it’s even more tragic when it’s a COLOR trend. I love purple so I kinda like that it was in but when it’s a color I don’t like much like green or pastels.

    And since I live outside the US (where I usually shop RTW), it’s quite a shock. People, you have to try this: Walk into a store and look around. Chances are you’ll just see colors, not styles.

    I’m also 5′ “tall”, LOL, and it always feels like they only cropped 10% of their stock. Or they think only mature short women care to shop? And that these women are way into Austere Chic?

    Though I’m a 6-8/M according to them, I often think of my Plus Sized sisters. Short and curvy girls must NEVER shop because I so seldom come across their sizes!!!

    And Vildy has quite a number of my peeves. The dressing rooms are so blah (if not yuck) that it’s as if they DON’T want you to try the clothes on at all.

    I solved this by vowing to sew everything for and by myself!

    There is no joy in shopping, sometimes.

    And, Julianne, I would say the same about shoes except I must have crazily wide/fat/high feet because there too, it seems I can’t fit them in a lot of shoes. Like sandals with straps across the toes. Hélas!

  • I also hate the ubiquity of trends. I’ve been looking in stores for a reasonably-priced, non-athletic jacket for about a year now. Why haven’t I found one? Because silly me, I want a jacket that has full-sleeves. Not cap sleeves, not big puffy half-sleeves, not 3/4 sleeves, but full sleeves. Because it’s a jacket, and I’d like it to keep me warm. Granted, I don’t shop much, but you’d think I could have found something by now.

    Arielle – you are right. This short and curvy girl never shops because no one wants me to wear their clothes. I’m 5’3 and a size 14ish, and when I actually manage to find my size, nothing really fits right or flatters my figure. I don’t know what fit model these different retailers use for double-digit sizes, but it doesn’t work for me at all.

    I’ve read articles about how stores don’t want to stock short sizes or plus sizes anymore. Sure, they’ll sell to you online, but with the kind of fit issues girls like me tend to have, it means that you have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of clothes, and then ship most of them back when they don’t fit. Given our culture’s prejudices, I can understand why these retailers don’t want fat girls shopping in front of their thin and perfect customers (since we’ll obviously scare them all away), but what’s with the anti-short-girl thing? Why are only short women who like pleated tapered pants and awful cardigan separates allowed to have clothes that they don’t need to hem? Are we all supposed to belt our pants around our ribs and wear 6″ heels so our pants don’t drag on the ground?

    Having dealt with a lack of fashion choices for many years, I’ve just learned to repress whatever girly-shopping instincts I have and I just wear the same boring clothes all the time. I never look really good or on-trend, but at least I don’t waste my time and money on expensive-yet-poorly-made clothes that don’t fit. Instead I choose to spend my money on more important things, like alcohol, travel, and electronics.

  • Few shoes offered in size 9 1/2 UK, 43 European, 10 1/2 (US)…..

    After two kids my shoe increased from 9 1/2 to 10 and then finally 10 1/2 US size. I am a true 10 1/2 — not a 10 and not an 11, a 10 1/2. For some bizarre reason most shoes go to size 10 and will offer a size 11, but not a size 10 1/2.

    It’s unbelievable frustrating!

  • Ideal shopping experience is in a foreign place, preceded by a great lunch and followed by a drink in a chic bar. I’d find a series of terrific stores – all of which suit my aesthetic – and when I’d start trying on clothes, everything would look gorgeous and be on mega sale.

  • Vildy – I’m so with you on the lighting and too loud music, there are some stores here I can’t enter because the music keeps me out

    I hate limits on numbers too – so annoying, at least when I’m shopping with clients I can always talk to the sales person about taking in 20 garments at a time and they let me do this 99% of the time.

    Can’t try on a bra? That’s ridiculous.

    Brown Eyed Girl – I’m so with you on the bust issue – I have that problem myself, in so many stores I have to try on an XL just to fit the boobs in, then the rest of it swims.

  • Modest Mum – I find that Australian 14 – 18 the hardest to shop for as it’s between regular sizing and plus sizing. Often a regular size 14 is too small, but a plus 14 is enormous! The choice is limited and it can be so depressing!

    Duchesse – if you’re paying that kind of money the quality of construction should be there! It’s terrible when it’s not, I feel like the designer is just saying “you’ll buy this piece of junk that cost me $10 to make that I’ve marked up 1000% because of my label, sucker!”

    I have the most fantastic bespoke tailor, and when I have someone who is getting to that price point we often go down the bespoke road instead as we can control quality, fabric and fit so much better, plus design a flattering garment.

    I often find my skirts in boutiques with small labels (New Zealand labels can be great and creative), rather than any department store or high street retailer.

  • Angela – being outside the Australian size 8-10 (whatever that is in other countries I’m less and less sure) makes shopping very hard for anyone!

    I once heard a plus size retailer who had made lovely plus size clothes and then stopped say that the reason they stopped was because plus size women weren’t prepared to spend good money on their clothes as they were always about to lose weight, and would wait until smaller before purchasing. Of course, this often can take years and years! It’s a vicious circle.

    Arielle – taking control and sewing yourself is a great way of actually getting what you want. It’s just a pity no one caters to you.

    I too have noticed that short and curvy is incredibly difficult to find. Just because someone is curvier, doesn’t mean they are taller.

    So much of the plus size clothing is aimed at the 7′ tall woman and is so long and needs to be taken up a mile to make it work!

  • Stephanie – I feel for you, and how terrible it is that you have repressed your desire for pretty clothes because there are none for your shape. Have you tried altering garments to make them fit?

    Kellystp – so true – large shoes for women are hard to find. I had a client the other day who has large feet (size 12 Australian) and ended up calling up an image consultant friend of mine who works with transexuals to ask where she shops with them for shoes.

    K.Line – I think we all need a drink after this litany of woes!

  • Where do I start … I care very little about clothes most of the time so shopping is a chorse.

    Then, I decide I need some decent clothes so I can avoid looking like I got dressed going through a hedge backwards, but I either can't find what colours I want or what style I want.

    So I end up wasting a couple of hours, getting sore feet, and not getting any new clothes.

    At least with op shopping I don't mind not finding anything because that's the nature of the op shop. And if I buy something that's not quite right, it's cost me $10, not $150.

    Oh, and like some others, being short & curvy doesn't help either.

  • Mine is, not surprisingly, the fit of RTW clothing. It sucks. I am always having to settle for “close enough” in RTW shirts and dresses. I do a little bit better shopping for skirts and pants (provided the waistband has a bit of elastic or some other “give” to it, and the pants come in a Long/Tall version).

  • Oh, where to begin?? First, the stuff that’s just too overwhelming:

    –too much merchandise crammed onto racks, have to fight with the garments just to see them
    –loud music, flashing lights
    –or on the other end, sparse racks with single garments all in size 00
    –sizes all jumbled together, don’t even know if it’s worth looking…will they even have my size?

    And the frustrating:
    –Not being able to find styles that work for me…wrong cuts, colors, fabrics
    –No middle ground between Amy Winehouse and Bea Arthur
    –poor construction
    –no sizes above a 6 (most of the “better” lines here are guilty of this)
    –indifferent sales staff
    –Having to wade through hundreds of items to find the few that work
    –speaking of work, doesn’t anybody work anymore? I need clothes for the office, not the beach or a club!

  • Firstly , being in Australia with our small population – we do not get the range and varitey the bigger countries have.
    I do not like the fact that the market seems to address the younger set the most. I do not want to wear what a teenager wears.
    What is available for the older woman is shocking!

  • I must say I love to shop. But I have to agree that the trend overwhelm is irritating. I do not like purple or teal and everything was purple and teal this fall. I also had trouble with a lot of the shapes. I have to say the most annoying thing about shopping is trying to find nude underwear. What most stores list as nude is quite pale on me so I have to end up with black which is not really better. Also if there is the occasional brown bra it is not likely to be in a size 32D. Is that really such an odd size?

    A perfect shopping trip would be unlimited time, unlimited funds and the Grove at The Farmers Market in LA’s concierge to handle all of my purchases so that I didn’t have to have arms full of bags. Along with plenty of vegan friendly shopping options like bamboo sweaters instead of cashmere, and linen or cotton sateen instead of wool trousers, light cotton voile tops instead of silk. And fabulous pleather shoes built like the Natalie Portman for Te Casan and Beyond Skin and Stella Mccartney instead of Payless and Target quality.

  • Emma – thanks for coming by and commenting and sharing your experiences. It would be great if there was some easy way of making it work for all of us!

    ChristineB – Tall is often as hard or even harder than short to find!

    Deja – I know what you mean -and how about when you into a shop and just think ‘not enough fabric’.

    Lady Jicky – so right about the lack of options here. I find boutiques much better for clothes for older women than the chain stores, which tend to run either v.young or v.old.

    Cosmo – shopping vegan would be really hard, it’s bad enough finding clothes when you’re not taking out 95% of the options!

  • I’m a summer and in the winter I can’t find my colours so I end up in brown, black and cream. And people expect this colour woman to show up and here I am in beige. . . that is frustrating!

    ps. Are you talking about a subscription that’s all screwed up? Or the sidebar?

  • The wretched sameness of it all. Its virtually impossible to find anything in the shops that isn’t trend based – unless you’re into grandma chic, or have bucketloads of cash to spend. (this is the main reason why The House of Ebay has become my favourite boutique)
    Another shopping related frustration is SAs who tell you what they think you want to hear. Sometimes you really DO need to know the answer to “does my bum look big n this dress?”!

  • I don't like the limited range of colours, especially in winter. I recently bought a red cardigan that was the last one I could find in the town I live in.

    BTW over at YLF I posted a link to one of your blog posts on the thread titled "Proportions & body type exercise". Thought you'd like to know as we ended up with quite a discussion of your body type analysis

  • I hate clothes shopping for many of the same reasons posted here:
    – at 6 feet tall, it's hard to find clothes that fit; dresses are too short-waisted and sleeves are too short. SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE T-SHIRTS LONG ENOUGH TO COVER MY ENTIRE MID-SECTION!
    – at a US size 14-16, I am too large for many "regular" clothes but too small for plus sizes
    – certain trends that hang around forever. Low-rise pants, for example. I just want a few pairs of sophisticated, high-waisted trousers but have been waiting literally for YEARS to find anything that could fit the bill.

    A few points that others haven't mentioned include:
    – lousy change rooms. I want good lighting; 3-way mirrors; plenty of hooks on the back of the door (shopping in the winter = hanging up purse, coat, other shopping bags, etc); small seat/bench; sales help who will come by often to clear out all the "no" items
    – hassle factors such as no parking nearby
    – rude sales assistants. Seriously: how did some of these women think it was a good idea to work in customer service?

    Basically, I now only clothes shop in the US. They have a wider selection of attractive "me-sized" clothing; their sales help aren't always the most knowledgeable but tend to be friendlier than in any other country; their sales taxes are lower (well, for now at least… we'll see how Obama plans to pay for this stimulus package); their changing rooms are large. It ain't perfect but it's the best I've found.

  • I have been looking for nude colour shoes with a slim (not chunky or wedge) 2 or 2 and a half inch heel – wide fit. The only ones I can find have 3 to 4 or more inch heels. Guess I will have to miss out on this look. I have other wide fit shoes in black and others in grey with suitably feminine heels, 2 and a half inches. Shoe manufacturers have not made many in nude shades with these features. Perhaps I could paint a pair of my white shoes which fit well and have good height and shape heels this colour.
    Really need a range of clothes and suitable shoes for the older woman, so many of the shoes have impossibly high heels.

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