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I had to go clothes shopping today.

You have to understand that this was a difficult thing for me to decide to do. I loathe clothes shopping. It’s not that I hate clothes — in fact, I really enjoy piecing together outfits from what I have, coordinating the colours and whatnot. I just hate the process of acquiring clothes. I hate the way clothing stores never cater to the short and skinny — whoever came up with that myth deserves to be shot, since it simply isn’t true! I hate the fact that trying on clothes is so time-consuming, especially when you factor in the time it takes for a booth to become available. I hate the sheer expensiveness of clothes — I’m not paying $40 for what is essentially some fabric that got cut up and sown together again, no matter how pretty is. The process of acquiring clothes is extremely frustrating, and I despise it for that.

However, the situation had become urgent. I realised this when attempting to dress myself last Friday morning. Ordinarily, my choice would have been simple — school uniform or detention? — but last Friday was casual clothes day, and things were different. I had to somehow put together an outfit that was presentable, that fit me, and was not the same thing as what I wore last time. I couldn’t find anything that fit all of these criteria. I searched high and low, getting increasingly frantic as the minutes ticked away. I tried lowering my standards. These pants that looked like they were formerly owned by ABBA — were they a possibility? Quickly I realised that they were not. These jeans with a broken zip? These pants far too wide for me? These pants covered in tissues sent by idiot relatives through the wash? No, no and no. I wore the same (unbroken) pair of jeans I wore last time. Choosing a top was similarly problematic — every item I’d actually wear out of the house seemed to be in the wash. Concealing a substandard top underneath a nice jumper wasn’t an option, either; all my jumpers are a size or two too small. Damn.

These school holidays, I decided to rectify this dire situation. Since I’m lazy, and since I loathe clothes shopping, it took me until the fifth day of the holidays. However, I knew I’d thank myself once the ordeal was over, so today I dragged myself to the station and caught the train up to Spencer Street.

My poison of choice was DFO Spencer. DFO because of the wide range of clothes and ostensibly lower price tags, and Spencer because it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere like the other two Melburnian outlets ((I mean… Moorabbin? Essendon? How does one get to these places?)). I may not be a natural shopping whiz like Amanda, but I was determined to see my money stretch as far. I adopted a rigorous methodology to ensure that I’d only buy clothes I’d actually wear, and to make my money stretch as far as possible. This methodology was as follows:

  1. Before I left the house, I worked out the kinds of items I was looking for. This was so that I wouldn’t be wandering aimlessly — I’d have some kind of purpose. Something to look for.
  2. I also worked out how much I was willing to spend on each item. I said before that I think $40 is unreasonable, but how much did I think was reasonable?
  3. Upon arrival, I did a circuit of the warehouse in which I did not buy anything. I didn’t want to buy a $10 top only to find a virtually identical one for $5 later on. I compared things and made mental notes of promising-looking shops.
  4. On the second circuit, I revisited the shops I’d noted on the first. I bought some things, but where I’d forgotten exactly how two items compared I decided to come back for a third examination.
  5. On the third circuit, I made the tough decisions and decided which brands and items I would purchase.
  6. By this point, four hours had passed and I got to enjoy peak hour congestion on the train trip home. Exciting!

In total I spent $111, and for this I got ten different items. I’m satisfied with my haul; the priciest item I got was $20, and that was still the cheapest skirt I could find in the whole of DFO. (Yes, really. There is much I have yet to learn!) My greatest triumph, in my opinion, is the brainwave which struck the mods before me: rummaging through the children’s clothing stores. If you come away with only one thing from this entry, let it be this: children’s clothing stores are a godsend for the vertically challenged.

For me, I was looking for a pair of jeans. I hunted through four or five different stores which claimed to specialise in jeans, but they were obviously all lying because all their jeans were the exact same length — and too long for me. In desperation, I thought, “Well, children wear jeans. Let’s see if CHILDREN’S JEANS are small enough for me.”

They were.

And not only that, but they are fantastic. They’re comfortable, they have pockets, they look great, and — better still — they were only $14.951.

The store itself had a lot of nice clothes, and were running a sale in which everything was $15 or less. I’m not sure how comfortable I feel about supporting a store which is encouraging fashionable dress for children (admittedly, it’s a lot better than skimpy dress for children, but…!), but I prefer to look at it as fashionable dress for people my size. In addition to the jeans I bought a bolero (for $9.952), which will probably see a similarly large amount of use.

So, in summary? If you want to be a super-cool shopper like me: put any expedition off for as long as possible, develop a strict methodology which will ensure you get as much for your money as possible, and then trawl through the children’s stores because you never know what you’ll find there. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to recover from the psychological trauma I’ve inflicted on myself.

  1. Originally $39.95 — yay sales!
  2. Originally $24.95 — more yay sales!


  1. Haha I’m the same exact way about clothes shopping. I absolutely hate doing it even though I enjoy clothes and picking out outfits.

    I wore a uniform in high school too. When I went to college, I had to go shopping and buy an entire wardrobe. It was horrible!

    Glad you found some things. 😀

  2. “Moorabbin? Essendon? How does one get to these places?” They are both near airports – perhaps they are catering to people who fly in from… other small airports?

    Sounds as though you not only have an incredibly sensible system for shopping, but also a great deal of patience. I went shopping the other day for jeans and lasted approximately five minutes.

  3. Haha, well I’m about five minutes from the Moorabbin one, so that’s usually my DFO of choice. Whereabouts do you live? Near South Yarra right? We’ll figure out some day in the school holidays (either next week, or next holidays I guess…), and I’ll come pick you up and take you to Moorabbin. Definitely worth the drive!

  4. Caitlin: I don’t actually mind having a school uniform. My school’s colours are white, black, grey and red, so the uniform actually looks pretty decent. Also, it’s fairly comfortable and practical. It does mean that I have an excuse to put off clothes shopping, though!

    Naomi: My sister was amazed at how long I managed to keep shopping. “YOU? YOU spent four hours shopping?!” Anyway, it does seem to be something that requires a lot of patience… which is probably why I’ve always been so bad at it.

    Amanda: Not really close to South Yarra — further out than that. Another shopping trip would probably be a good idea, considering I still need some more skirts and pants. XD Thanks for the offer!

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