the two kinds of shopping

Life has been a little bit up and down as of late. I finished my long-term temping assignment more abruptly than I expected to, went directly to another two-day gig (the second of which was today), and am waiting to hear if another longer term gig will be coming through. All the while sending in all the applications and resumes I can (and getting...pretty much no response. It's hard out here for a pimp recent grad!). Basically, I was feeling a little down in the dumps and in some desperate need of some retail therapy.

For me, retail therapy is as much about the experience as the actual purchasing. Plus, there's the experience both before and after: the fun of shopping, hanging out with a friend, and then getting to integrate a new piece into your wardrobe, making new outfits, and (hopefully!) getting compliments! The first half of the experience is what separates the retail therapy sort of shopping trip from targeted shopping, when you know exactly what you're looking for.

DVD Bonus Fact: You can tell which pictures I took because they're slightly blurry. Just call me Shaky Hands McGee

My retail therapy trip was, surprise surprise, with the fabulous Kaitlin Disdainbrook. We actually talked about posting this to my blog and both laughed about how all of you probably think she's my only friend. I promise she's not! She's just the only friend I have who lives close enough visit with any regularity (and even then, she lives just over an hour away!). Plus, she's awesome, so you should be jealous that I get to hang out with her and blog about it.

This trip, the tone was set when we walked into Old Navy, and I discovered brightly colored peacoats (drool!) were marked down to a mere $35! Kaitlin and I are both big fans of colorful outerwear; I support bright winterwear 200%! The season is monochromatic enough as it is, why not stand out? We each slipped one, and it was clear as we admired each other's coloriffic flair that we both needed to buy one of these coats. And from that moment on, this shopping trip had a theme: twinsies!

Dang, look at those fierce kitsches. We're obviously utilizing our ANTM know-how and smizing as hard as we can

Yes, the two of us bought matching coats, almost-matching necklaces, and corresponding hats. If we wore all of these things out together, we would look like huge nerds: perfect! Unfortunately, with me up here in Milwaukee and her down by the stateline, we have far less opportunities to rock the twin look. Still, we each loved the individual pieces, and they all worked great together. We were shopping for fun, but we didn't stop thinking about what we needed. Neither of had a shorter coat or nice ear-covering hats, and Kaitlin only owned one necklace (a time turner! What a nerd). Our purchases will serve us well, but we also had a lot of fun window shopping and trying on lots and lots of hats that looked like animals.

Coats: Old Navy
Necklaces: Francesca's Closet (I realize I didn't actually get a pic of these -- soon!)
Hats: JC Penny's

Now, the second kind of shopping is a carefully planned hunting trip. My quarry: boots. My sister got a pair of great boots last year, and this year, Kaitlin joined her in vexing me with their fabulous footwear. No longer! I would have boots of my own!

Because I knew what I was looking for would be a larger purchase and (hopefully) a big part of my wardrobe, I needed set criteria for these boots. Otherwise, I might be easily swayed by a bargain or even a pair of gorgeous boots that just weren't for me.

My boot criteria were:

  • Neutral color. Brown was preferable, but gray and black would also be considered.

  • Mid-calf to knee-high

  • Moderate heel (I wanted to be able to wear these out and about without worry)

  • Easy to get on/off

  • Wide enough to tuck my jeans into

  • Buckle detailing

  • No fur (faux or otherwise)

  • Awesome

Not an unreasonably long list by any means, but it was specific enough that I was able to stay on track, resisting adorable ankle boots and amazingly sassy numbers with sky-high stilettos. Surprisingly, the fur was always a difficult point for me; it often looks very cool when the boot is on the shelf, but I've always felt really silly wearing it, so I knew it the end it wasn't for me. I kept my eyes out whenever I shopped, and because of my list, I was usually able to take a quick walk through the aisles and leave. Either I liked it, but it just didn't match up to the requirements, or it didn't immediately catch my eye...thereby violating the awesomeness criteria.

My sister came home for a brief midterm respite from the wilds of academia this past week, and while she was here, what could be on the agenda but shoe shopping! We hit up DSW; it was my first time in the store, but it will not be the last! I had a great time prowling the boot selection (and forbade myself from even looking at the heels and flats...I was on a mission!). I tried on several pairs, but there was one I just couldn't stop thinking about:

This is Hali from Kelly & Katie (DSW's store line), and can I just say: L-O-V-E! I've worn them the past two days (to work on Monday, where I was super pleased to be complimented on my outfit by my supervisor, and out for burgers on Tuesday) and they felt equally appropriate in both settings! The heel looks a little high, but it's very stable and they're a dream to walk in. The fit is great; I wear a size 10 (I know, wowza!) and they fit me very accurately. The calf opening is quite generous--it doesn't squeeze on my calf at all (though they do stay up), and I think someone with wider calves shouldn't have too much trouble with them. I didn't get a picture, but as you can see on the website, they also come with little removable knit insert that looks like a pair of ribbed socks coming out of the top. Very cute!

And there you have it: a grand week in which I experienced both types of shopping. They were both pretty amazing, in different ways; I really enjoyed spending time with Kaitlin, giggling over hats that looked like chipmunks and roosters. My retail therapy shop was an experience, and one that definitely lifted my spirits. On the other hand, getting those boots felt like a real triumph. I've been looking for them for a long time, and I finally snagged them! I want to wear them all the tiiiime.

Do you notice that you have multiple shopping modes? Which do you prefer? Do you want to tell me how great my boots are? Because that's understandable, they're totally boss.

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