Men and Shopping …

Should those words even be permitted in the same sentence together? Some might think not.

Yesterday I took my (almost) 21 year old son to three shops. He coped admirably in Sephora (a beauty emporium to any understandably baffled male or otherwise readers). In a nutshell, when asked at the entrance if we needed assistance, I whipped out my phone, showed a screenshot of what I wanted and boom! We were in and out in less than four minutes. Now that’s a good shopping experience according to him.

Second shop – J Crew for women … even I was bored; uninspiring and rather ordinary clothes with disproportionate price tags. There was also a sale consisting of a couple of rails of crumpled, make-up stained unwanted items, many of which were on the floor being trampled on. I love a bargain like the best of us, but .. So with my son ambling behind me and despite trying to make the occasional positive remark, we lasted rather less than four minutes.

Final shop – J Crew for men … ‘Jacob’ came to our assistance with a friendly manner and a rather natty scarf tied around his neck. Good looking shirts, shorts, trousers all laid out neatly, no fuss, no noise, no mess and and yes, even a sale. And with Jacob folding and refolding everything within his sight, there was order. What more could we ask for? In less than ten minutes we left with a fab pair of shoes, big smiles all round and a joyous Jacob.

How does this happen?

It has been known to take me weeks to find the perfect pair of shoes. And yet, perhaps therein lies the problem. Am I seeking a form of perfection that most probably doesn’t exist?

Should the thrill of a bargain override this need for perfection? Does order and presentation really matter that much?

Dare I suggest that we, the fairer sex, can spend days trawling the shops, searching endlessly with a picture in our minds of a particular article of clothing? Will we ever find it? Or do we actually enjoy the trawling process?

And finally, if we believe that perfectly beautiful clothes will make us equally perfectly beautiful, do men have that same perfectionist gene? Or do they have more realistic expectations?

Shopping is, I find, a frustrating but occasionally necessary pastime. I have no answers except that I clearly need a Jacob to iron out the creases in my life and clothes, and perhaps occasionally I can borrow his rather natty little scarf. It’s really rather perfectly lovely.

Katie

If you have any, please give me some solutions … I have too many unanswered questions here!

42 thoughts on “Men and Shopping …”

  1. I’m not a big fan of shopping but I often find if you go looking for something, you won’t find it. So, even though I’ve gone shopping for a blue jacket, if I find a great pair of black trousers, I’ll buy them. That blue jacket will pop up when I least expect it. Also, if I find something I really, really like and it comes in black, blue, beige and grey, I’ll buy them all.

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      1. Yes, family and friends often insist I go shopping with them. However, I put a time limit on my services, particularly with my two sisters!

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  2. I am not a big fan of shopping and limit myself to a maximum of 2 hours, when I must go I have favourite shops in mind and just keep to them. If cannot find anything I go home. Usually if it is clothes in need I find what I am looking for and include a coffee break in the 2 hours. Definitely no Jacobs here.

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    1. I might have to send Jacob over to you! I like the idea of setting a time limit, although in truth I’d probably spend too much of that time on the coffee and watching the world go by. Actually your idea of the time thing is brilliant because it must surely focus the mind and prevent procrastination AND excess coffee drinking. Yup, I’m liking this method. ❤️

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  3. I’m technically female by birth, and hate shopping. I have no illusions that I will somehow find Some Ideal Thing while shopping, and indeed the only thing I spend money on in the last few years is secondhand books and cds online or in a resale shop, and candles and tarot decks and incense etc. that I use in my business, and at the online sales for organic face lotion and oils from Mychelle and Weleda. There is so much crap in my house that I have to sort out from my old home that anything I need is there already, although maybe not in a size that still fits me. I also buy pretty much any book or cd done by a friend, to support their efforts (although I don’t use kindle or any of that, but will buy physical printed items and cds), and will browse around independent shops–never chain stores–and see if there are things I can buy there to give to others while supporting the place, like independent art teeshirts etc. Part of it may well be that the current things offered in chainstores strike me as crappy and overpriced, and it’s clear they will not make me look good, so I can already look like rubbish for free and save the effort and cash. Living near Woodstock NY, there are good little shops there and nice quirky people working in them, so for me wandering downtown while my spouse uses our shared office is more for social reasons than to hunt and gather things that cost money.

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    1. What a lovely way to shop … and I’m with you on the physical printed book thing. I haven’t yet gone down the Kindle route because I just love the feel of a proper book. A lot of the big chain stores here in NY are in the U.K. too so I’ve not really been in them much, but down in the south of manhattan are some lovely little independents that I keep finding – they’re great and the customer service is really good too! Thanks so much for sharing, it makes writing all the more worthwhile. X

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  4. I was just thinking of you because I’m watching the Tour de France (Which yiunraced behind, right? 😉 ) and wondering where and how you’ve been! Need to read your post but just saying hi and welcome back to blogoland!

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    1. Thanks so much! I’ve been moving to New York which seems to have sapped rather a lot of energy! We’re in our apartment now and I’m starting I hope to find some semblance of normality – a routine would be good, but I’ll get there! Do hope you’re good and all is well with you. Katie

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  5. Katie, when are you going to put your blogs into a buy-able book? I’d love to buy one! I have missed a ton of your posts because I’ve been busy writing my own, but I can truly say you and Gene Kiepura (spelt that wrong I’m sure) from ‘Scraps of Life’ are my 2 all-time favourite bloggers. Seriously, when emails from you two pop into my inbox, I get so excited because I know there will be a fantastic read ahead. I sometimes sit in bed and read them aloud to my hubby. But alas, I’ve not had time to do that for sooooo long. I’m gonna try to catch up on yours today, so expect a miriad of pings on your phone 😊

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    1. Aww you’ve just absolutely made my day! Thank you so much! I’m working on my book at the moment and that’s of a similar ilk, so if (and that’s a very big if!) a publisher likes it then I’ll be sure to get a copy straight to you!! I’ll have a look for “Scraps of Life” … sounds like I might rather enjoy it! X

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  6. Katie, great to see a new post!

    On the topic, I’m not sure it’s simply a male/female thing. Some people see shopping purely as an exercise to acquire something they want or need, and want to make it as efficient and hassle free an experience as possible. Others see the whole activity of shopping as a pleasurable pastime in itself, regardless of whether they buy anything.

    And of course the same person can experience both of these differing approaches, depending on the item(s) being shopped for and the type of shops.

    With me, food shopping for example is a pain because there is so much choice it takes forever to find what you want. But give me eBay’s photography section and I can happily browse for hours – the same would be true in an actual used camera shop.

    That said, I had an unexpectedly emotional conversation with our 10 year old daughter the other week. Me and our son were heading into a local town just to look in a (video) game shop. I asked our daughter if she’d like to bring some of her money and if there were any shops she wanted to go to. In my head I expected a list of perhaps two or three shops we could go in, but she (and my wife) seemed unable to be specific about a particular shop, and just wanted to browse.

    I understand browsing in one particular shop, but I needed to know which shops she wanted to browse in, so we could plan to go to them, to facilitate said browsing.

    Tears ensued because I was trying to get a list of specific shops. I was, and still am, rather baffled.

    I don’t if she expected to just wander around the whole town (which she knows well enough to know what shops are there) and then go in and out of shops on a whim. Needless to say she didn’t come and we were out of the car, in and out of the shop, and back on our way home again within ten minutes, mission accomplished!

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    1. Ahh yes, I understand the emotional tears! You sound very much like my husband, practical and logical. He would have been exactly the same. I suspect that you’re right and she wanted to wander and mooch and be free to go into a shop on a whim or if the shop window looked particularly appealing that day. I am the same, it’s all about the feeling rather than the practicality! In truth, I would love to have a little less emotion as it would make decision-making substantially easier if that makes any sense. I am governed by my heart and not my head and dare I say it (forgive me) but hormones can sometimes wreak havoc on everything!

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      1. Yeh I do get the wandering thing, but you need some kind of plan, so you know where to wander, or at least where to start.

        If your favourite shops are all down one street, but you don’t go down that street, how can you browse in them?

        You can’t just wander up and down every street of a town, well not unless you have endless spare hours and a willing companion!

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      2. Yup! You’re right! And there’s no explanation (unless of course she wanted to look for something to buy for you and didn’t want you to know about it?? … no birthday coming up or anything?). But yes, that aside, a plan is good. It makes life easier all round!

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  7. I only ever visit book shop where there isn’t a Jacob to be had. I used to be very fashion conscious back in the day. Nowadays I have work clothes, running gear and ‘lounge wear.’ Hardly any going out clothes as we rarely go out. Fionnuala loves NYC for the shopping, especially Century 21 & Woodbury Common. Have you visited them yet?

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    1. I did go to Century 21 a couple of weeks ago! I think, in light of your new position at work and the success of the book, you should take a wee holiday and bring the family to NYC. Fionnuala and I can go to Century 21 and then I’ll take you to a great sports gear shop … then ice creams for the kids and cocktails for the adults! Good plan I say. 😀

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      1. Hi Katie Fionnuala here Stephen has been telling me to read your blogs about NYC that I would love them and he was right! You are living my dream right now I’d pack up and move us there in the blink of an eye just need a movie producer to pick up on Kirkwood Scott 😂 You have to go to Jersey Garden Shopping Mall it is amazing my favourite Manhattan store is Macy’s ❤️ happy shopping 🛍 Have you been to the Red Lobster it’s my favourite restaurant there their corn bread is amazeballs. Enjoy every moment of it 😍

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      2. Hi Fionnuala! How lovely to hear from you! I love Macy’s too but I haven’t been to Jersey Garden Shopping Mall … there’s so much I need to see and do. Well when those producers come knocking on your door, you just come on out to NY and we’ll do some shopping together! 🗽🗽🏙🏙. X

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  8. Love your post as always Katie 🙂

    In our household neither of us is madly keen on shopping though, perhaps surprisingly, I enjoy it more than my wife does. I do have at the back of my mind though that any expenditure on my part will have to be justified in triplicate when I get home….

    Recently I went shopping in Montreal with my friend (and fashion blogger) Dominique and it was a fascinating experience to see the process from her point of view. It felt like a window into a different world.

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    1. How funny, I’ve just been reading up on places to go and visit and Montréal came up at the top of my list. It sounded absolutely gorgeous with lovely little shops and cobbled streets … of course the whole French thing is so appealing anyway … Did you buy anything? Will you go back again with Dominique?

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      1. I’ve spent 20 days in Montreal since September and it feels like my second home now so I am a bit biased! I love the city.
        Dominique lives there of course and we are talking about my next visit – probably next spring. We spent an afternoon in her fave vintage clothing shop where she bought several things and we did a photo shoot there too for her blog. Later in the visit we went shopping for a jacket for me too.
        I think you would enjoy Montreal.

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  9. I love this!!

    I used to be a massive shopaholic and fashion hound, but now I’ve nearly swung to the other side of the arc. I’m just like you in Sephora — it’s a 4 minutes job. For clothes, I visit Promod and IKKS on the main road once or twice a year and I’m done. Other shops I can walk into and it’s seriously scanning, scanning… yes. Or no.

    But I still adore clothes!!! And good deals. :)) So I often grab a top from the cheap clothing section of the grocery store on impulse. And usually don’t regret it. 😁

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    1. Ha! Me too! I’m embarrassed to say that my current favourite pair of trousers are a sort of skinny 3/4 length, slightly stretchy black and white check from Costco!! I love them! They were seriously cheap and frankly I wish I’d have bought two pairs! I’m so glad you still adore clothes (and good deals like me!). Katie x

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