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Why shopping is actually more pain than pleasure

Elizabeth Kesses
By Elizabeth Kesses Published on 15 August 2011

I am a terrible shopper. In fact whilst I love clothes and fashion I really dislike the process of getting them.

Why shopping is actually more pain than pleasure

For a start I cannot stand changing rooms - the mirrors are too damn close for comfort. The times I have tried stuff on has been, more often than not, humiliating.

I remember one day I was in a cool store in Paris, The Kooples., and my beau, the style guru, had persuaded me to try some stuff on.

It was painful... He chose skin tight trousers that made my butt look more “watermelon” more than “peach”. Everything I tried looked hideous. I left empty handed and depressed. So we went for afternoon tea. That day shopping not only made me grumpy but also fat.

I also can't bear trawling around shops for hours or Umm-ing and Ahh-ing about the colour, fabric, length of skirt, etc. I start seeing white light and need a lie down.

I also get REALLY irritated when sales assistants start asking you a million questions about what you want. No matter how many times you say you are fine and just looking they try and break you down. You end up agreeing to some rubbish scarf or t-shirt just to get rid of them.

Nor do I like the concept of shopping with a girlfriend - it makes zero sense as you usually like the same things so end up looking like the pair from Single White Female. Or there’s that awkward moment in the changing room when your mate asks if you she looks good in the lime green slinky dress and you daren’t tell her the truth. There’s a fine line between what’s considered as brutal honesty and what sounds like plain old bitchiness.

Online buying is as painful - less physical effort but without any of the pleasure of seeing or touching. It’s like pressing your nose against a shop window when it’s closed.

There are some exceptions to my shopping phobia. Galerie 66 on the Champs Elysees is about having fun not just purchasing. It does not feel like a store more a giant lounge. Everyone’s cool, no one hassles you and the changing rooms are so big you could have sex in them. Ok, ok... I’m not saying I’ve tried it!

Fundamentally when it comes to finding the right things I believe in instinct - if you are drawn to something buy it straightaway. There and then. If you're not drooling over it straight away, it wasn't meant for you. I have friends that take pictures on their iPhone before they make a purchase - to see if it will match their current wardrobe. They then return a few days later to seal the deal. Of course it often means they miss out as their size has gone.

However the downside of being a snappy shopper is that I often make a mistake. Multiple mistakes. I get home, open the bag or box and have a total meltdown. Heels too high, skirt too tight or more often than not something just does not look right.

I then shove the rejected garments at the back of my wardrobe. Probably secretly thinking they will make good recycled presents for others. A few weeks later I come across them like abandoned pets and seeing the triple digit prices I have an attack of guilt and trundle back to do an exchange.

To be honest it’s the same effort if not more than the 'cautious' buyer. My favourite exchange was a pair of Hermes boots my beau had given me. These were rather too S&M for me with zips all over. After a vigorous night out dancing one zip obviously broke.
After trying to fix it they handed me a credit note. I had a stash of Euros to spend! I waltzed around the store like a kid in Santa’s grotto. I spotted a beautiful limited edition bangle - art deco purple pattern on a metal band. Then I tried some of my fave perfume.

This was all in the first five minutes. Then I remembered I had some presents to buy. Birthdays were looming. For my brother-in-law a quick and easy cologne. My beau was trickier to buy for. It’s hard to buy for someone that is not actually that materialistic.

I spotted a cigar ashtray all spanking in gold with a stylish logo. But I could not quite see it all dirty with ash. I plumped for a grey and navy cashmere scarf.
It was a wonderful feeling to make all these purchases without spending a single euro. I suddenly realised my beau had actually bought his own birthday present. Oops.

Oh well it’s the thought that counts. One pair of boots transformed into three yummy presents for me and two for others. I’m not a shopaholic but an exchange-a-holic.
To be honest my beau is a better shopper than me.

Vive la metrosexualite!

Brit Chick recommends
The Kooples
38 Place du Marché Saint-Honoré,
09 52 37 59 29

Brit Chick says: "Funky chic, laid back gear like leggings and groovy t-shirts. Also try Galerie 66 and Hermes (George V)"


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by Elizabeth Kesses