Introduction: Earliest memorable shopping mistake: shopping for the 8th Grade Winter Dance, dresses required of the young ladies. Looking back, in the abstract this was a great dress. It was black-and-white mattress-stripe silk taffeta with a black silk ribbon belt, scoop-y neck, tiny cap sleeves and slightly belled skirt. The mistake was in not verifying how many more of them were lurking in the stockroom. I was horrified to enter the gym and see the three creepiest nerds in the class all wearing my dress. Apparently they had planned to dress alike in the hope of attracting attention. They did. So did I. Any sympathy I might have had for them vanished in an instant and I spent the rest of the evening in a phone booth begging my mother to come get me. Now.Please.
We continue: The It Sweater. Everyone but me had a particular cardigan from a particular store, and it was selling fast. So fast, in fact, that by the time I got there, the only ones left were a pale mint green one size too small or one in a truly awful sienna brown two sizes too large. I went for the pretty pale green. Not only did it not fit when buttoned, it hung funny when left open, and the pretty pale mint green went with nothing that I had. I looked like I was trying too hard. Bad mistake.
Time passes. I learn that clothes suitable for out-of-town assignments depend more on where I'm going than who I am: I can be whoever I need to be to get the job done. I am not my clothes. My clothes are one of my tools. Thoreau said it best: Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes.
The overscale plaid satin New Year's eve blouse and peplum jacket with velvet skirt, plaid sash. Suffice it to say that when something seasonal is marked down mid-season, there's a reason. There are a few things that are only worn once: wedding dress, prom dress... How often could this get-up leave the house? Wasted money.
Buying unreliable cashmere more than once. My own fault.
Buying one component of an outfit that's meant to have a matching or toning other component, before making sure that the other piece of the outfit is available. In my size. This leads to early disposal of an unworn item, or, just as bad, looking like Little Orphan Annie was your stylist.
Buying stuff while travelling (usually after a long and viniferous lunch). Navy leather jacket that had to have the sleeves expensively shortened from the shoulders (his). Antique brass headboard. And footboard. It's so antique it jingles when we get into bed, or even if one of us just sits on it. We tighten it up regularly, and it loosens up regularly.
Strange furry jacket with cute collar (mine - no place to wear it, because it's the wrong length for a pencil skirt, but with pants it looks like exotic skiwear from an indoor airconditioned ski slope in Bahrain).
$10 dress from the bargain store that I bought to wear to a firm dinner when I was sick of wasting money on formal dresses that I'd wear once. Spent the entire evening worrying that the dress would "malfunction" when I should have been working the room.
What are your shopping mistakes? Does an expensive or embarrassing blunder live in your memory? Have you overcome a bad shopping habit?