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It has finally happened. Gill has realized that she needs a personal shopper to buy clothes for her. She has always hated shopping for clothes (which may explain why everything in her wardrobe is either blue, blue and white striped, grey or black) but things have reached a crescendo of sorts.

Things were fine when she was living here since I or L’il Sis could be called upon (often unwillingly) to accompany her on her shopping forays. When I went with her, we weren’t often very productive. We’d end up finding inappropriate items or simply devolve into hysterical laughter before she could actually purchase anything. We are both of the same mind: if we see, standing in the front door of a shop and doing a quick appraisal that it holds nothing of interest, we simply turn around and walk away — often just as the perky but annoying ‘greeter’ is about to ask if she can help us. I’m sure it drives the greeters nuts. But if there’s nothing, there’s nothing. Gill never wants anything ‘fashion forward’ or unusual. She just wants pants, tops and socks in the aforementioned blue, blue and white stripes, grey or black. End of story. Do not confuse her with other options. That can only end badly for everyone involved.

L’il Sis loves to shop. She graduated from Fashion Design school and is knowledgeable about what the latest trends are, how to accessorize to good effect, and what looks good on Gill and what does not. She has the patience (again that Gill and I do not) to sort through rack after rack of options to find that perfect outfit. Gill and I would just as soon shoot ourselves in the eyeballs than spend hours searching. So, when Gill and L’il Sis went shopping, purchases were made. Good purchases…often over the protests of Gill, but hey, she took L’il Sis with her to save herself from her own bad choices.

But alone in Bristol, Gill again is faced with the onerous task of clothing herself. That’s not to say she doesn’t look fashionable when she wants to…but that’s the real problem. She doesn’t often want to. If she needs to look good, she chooses from the many cast-offs from my closet –classic pieces that never go out of style. And she holds these clothes to that promise since she’s been wearing them for at least ten years.

She wears what she has to not to be thrown out of her office and told to go dress properly, but beyond that, she wears casual clothes that sometimes look as if she’s slept in a ditch in them. Not often, but it does happen. I get it. She doesn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on her appearance. She has better, more consequential things to think about…like staying one step ahead of the changing immigration policies of the current non-government government in post-Brexit flap Britain. If she’s going to be summarily deported some day soon, it would be a shame to  be wearing a stylish outfit.

Having recently gone shopping with her in Bristol, I can understand her frustration with clothes shopping. There are very few shops that carry clothes that will fit her or suit her lifestyle (that of somewhat reclusive writer, Crohn’s and arthritis sufferer, and comfort seeking wannabe slob-in-training.)

So, after a recent weekend shopping outing with a friend visiting Bristol, Gill decided she needs a personal shopper to rid her of this annoying and time-consuming job. I can just imagine the ad she might put out for such a person:

Personal shopper needed. Must be willing to visit  only three stores — Uniqlo, Banana Republic and The Gap. Must pledge to ignore anything that is not available in blue, blue and white stripes, great and black. Clothes chosen must not be scratchy, itchy, binding in any way, have anything flappy or decorative that impedes movement, is not covered with fripperies, must be washable, does not require ironing, does not show wrinkles if mashed in a suitcase, must be all-season, and must be able to be worn with Birkenstocks, flip-flops, or a five-year-old pair of scuffed brown cowboy boots.

And if Gill finds such a person, she should be willing to pay through the nose…because this person has just been given the most impossible task in the world. But at least L’il Sis and I will be off the hook. With such a person to do her bidding, Gill and I will be able to go shopping simply for the fun of it…hysterical laughter all around as we watch other women struggle to battle the fashion gods.

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