Warning: This is a frivolous post about shopping, so if that isn’t your bag you might want to bypass this post. Also, at the end of the post I put a link to every item I discuss here; since I stole Free People’s pictures I figure it’s only fair.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend and I went to the Galleria Friday as a kick-off to summer vacation. She and I have been good friends for about ten years, even though there’s a 14-year difference between us and our lives are pretty different – she has two small children and I, of course, have none, and she keeps very busy and involved in her church and community while I, of course, like to hole up in the house by myself when not at work. But we have a love of shopping in common (among many other things) and we have a definite routine we follow: we like to get to the stores right at 10 AM, and usually break for lunch around 11:30. Then it’s a few more hours of bustling about before we head for home, timing our departure just as the Galleria starts to get crowded. We’ve followed the same pattern for years.
I’ve been on the prowl for wide-legged pants lately, as I am starting to see them re-appear in fashionable stores and I am quite over the skinny-leg trend at this point (with my pear shape, they’ve never been great on me, but as with all trends I have found ways to make it work). I am what you could call a clothing optimist: there are a lot of cuts and styles that I love even though they are terrible for my body type, and I will continue try those styles on anyway under the assumption that eventually I will find the one or two magical pieces that will look good on me. Pencil skirts are one such style; the cut in no way works on my body type, but after about two years of trying them on repeatedly I found one that actually worked, so I bought it in two colors and was happy. The same goes for maxi dresses and long flowy skirts – not what typically works on my frame, but if I try enough on I’ll eventually find some that work.
But back to the wide-legged pant thing, and one of my favorite stores that rarely has anything that looks good on me, but I always try: Free People. I adore their clothes, but if you check out their website, you’ll get a good idea of the body type that works best in their designs – super-tall, cylinder-shaped twentysomethings. I pretty much love every single thing Free People sells, but 94% of it looks horrible on me. Everything is ruffled and pretty shapeless and overly embroidered, but fabulous in its own way. I hit up the Free People store every time we go to the Galleria and drool over everything, but usually only end up buying jackets and tops from them because the dresses and bottoms accentuate my lower half in a non-flattering manner. But again, I am an optimist, so I always try a ton of things on when I go in there. I’ve gotten over feeling ridiculous being a good 15 years older than everyone else in the dressing room, because I trust myself not to buy things that will make me look like a middle-aged woman shopping in a store geared towards teenagers even if that is what I’m doing (and interestingly, checking out the reviews on their website reveals that a lot of middle-aged women do love their clothes. So I’m not alone).
So, in to Free People we go, and my friend sits in a chair while I browse because our tastes are completely different, and she probably wouldn’t be caught dead in anything from that store (I’m a boho kind of dresser, while she is very classic in style). I find several long flowy jacket/tops not too different from the cardigan I posted above, and on my way to the fitting room I spy some wide-legged rayon pants in a rust color with a pretty floral pattern. Both of us commented on how horrible they were going to look on me, but being me, I decided to try them on anyway.
Lo and behold, they looked fab! When I walked out of the fitting room in them, we were both a little speechless; Candace even appeared afraid to actually say that the pants looked good on me, because it was so unbelievable, but the mirror didn’t lie – the pants looked great. They were baggy, yes, but in all the places I really needed them to be, concealing my flaws without accentuating them. They weren’t overly long, and even though they had slight pleating around the rather wide elastic waist, the pleats weren’t bulging out the hips and making me look larger than I am. And, even though they were in a drape-y fabric (I usually require a sturdier fabric on my lower half) they still looked marvelous. I was in love. Being Free People pants, though, they were not cheap, and neither was the amazing jacket the salesgirl found for me to wear with them, nor the other long flowy top I tried on that was also awesome, but I went ahead and said to hell with it and got everything.
The jacket I got to match the pants is on the left (but I got it in a cream color), and on the right is the other top I splurged on. I blame Candace; she completely talked me out of putting anything back.
Then we went to lunch, and I did what I always do when I discover a long sought-after item of clothing that works on me – I realized that the pants were so fab I should look them up on the internet to see if they came in any other colors. They did, but they weren’t in stock at the Galleria store, so I ordered them to ship to me. They fit so perfectly that I figure when these wear out (and FP’s clothes do not generally wear out quickly) I can take them to a tailor and have more made, because they are just that awesome.
I really have no point here except to say that no matter your age, stores to which you are drawn can still have some amazing, unique pieces you can own. It’s well worth a look as long as you are willing to try everything on and be OK with the fact that a lot of it will make you look shapeless and terrible – it’s totally worth it to discover the awesome things that you’ll adore forever. I love the items I’ve bought from FP over the year or two that I’ve been shopping there, and the pieces have all become signature staples in my wardrobe.
Here are a few more pieces I’ve picked up there recently that have become favorites; the poncho was pretty cheap (for Free People anyway) at $48, and even though it was a risky purchase as it felt flimsy as hell and I was half convinced it wouldn’t last three wears, it is still going strong (and I wore it out one day when it was really windy and even Candace mentioned how great it would look in pictures); I’m not going to mention how much the tie-dyed tee-shirt was, because it was pretty ridiculous, but the colors were so unique I had to get it, plus it’s super-soft and I’m a sucker for soft comfy fabric.
To finish this off, I’ll share one more collage of items I am currently lusting over from the website. If anyone wants to get on my good side, feel free to buy me any one of these things.
And now, here’s a link to everything I posted a picture of in this post: