I Traded Passion For Fashion
I became a zealous clothing collector through a series of timely mishaps. I have always appreciated nice clothing, shoes and handbags. This typical appreciation morphed into a near sickness as I gradually, unconsciously swapped the passionate attention of my husband for stylish clothing and accessories.
One Christmas my husband decided to try to buy me a present at an upscale boutique near our home. He bought a blouse and a sweater. I think he spent a little over $300. He didn’t notice the sign in the shop that said there were no refunds, only store credits. When I opened the gift on Christmas morning, I wasn’t particularly thrilled. My husband told me I should have no problem returning the items to the store after I tried them on if I decided I didn’t want them.
When I tried the clothes on, they did nothing for me. I wanted to like them, but they just weren’t quite right. They were definitely nice, just not nice on me.
When I went to the store to return them, I started browsing the high fashion, pricey things in the shop. They carried unusual, art-like clothing. The woman who owned the shop was very friendly with a Russian accent. I tried to explain I wanted to return Christmas gifts. She talked so much she obfuscated what should have been a simple transaction. She was very high energy, buzzing around the store showing me exciting clothes to look at. I wasn’t able to pin her down as to the prices of my gifts so I could figure out how much I had to spend on an exchange after she explained that she didn’t offer refunds, only store credits. She put the gifts aside and started collecting clothing for me to try on.
We got to talking about my disability. She offered to help me change. I quickly was manuevered from returning gifts to shopping for clothes. Rita was a master salesperson. She barely came up for air.
She helped me into one super stylish outfit after another. They all looked especially good on me. Rita kept talking. She quickly brushed over questions about prices and just put the clothes in 2 piles for things I should have or not.
Rita was very impressed by my story about having a stroke when I was only 35 and expecting my second child. She flattered me about how well I looked. I was finding the process exhausting, even if she was helping me change into one outfit after another.
I called Uncle after about 2 hours of trying on clothes. I thought I was just going to exchange my 2 gifts for something else and be on my way.
Finally, it was time to tally up what I was buying and exchanging. Rita did a quick add of the pile of things I wanted then gave me credit for the returns. Before I knew what happened, I was giving her my credit card to pay for $1300 worth of clothes. Alterations were included. She pinned a few garments that needed hems and told me they would be ready in a week.
My new clothes made me look better than anything I had bought anywhere else in quite a while. I did not need any new clothes, but there is a glitch in my brain that tells me I need all kinds of things that I don’t. Some of this is because of an insecurity about how I look because I’m disabled. Buying things gives me an illusion that I’ll look ok, and gives me a little self esteem boost.
Here is the story of how I acquired enough shoes to last the rest of my life:
I enjoyed my new clothes and went back to see Rita in a week to pick up the pieces that were altered. If you haven’t already gathered, Rita is a slick salesperson. She listens very carefully to everything you say and can spin it into reasons why you should buy this or that. She casually dug deep into details about my life as we were trying on clothes.
For example, she urged me to enjoy my life so much more because I nearly lost it. One way I could enjoy life was to buy things from her.
I was still with my husband for a few years after I met Rita. He had gradually been losing interest in me and our marriage to the point of not being interested in having sex with me. It felt good to at least look sexy and attractive even if it did little to fuel our romance. Being ignored by my husband chipped away at my already fragile confidence. Buying expensive clothes gave me a temporary, flimsy boost.
There seemed to be a cycle developing of something always needing to be altered for me in Rita’s boutique which kept me coming back to “pick them up”. Of course, it was never that simple. I allowed Rita to play my emotions like a fiddle and manipulate me into buying clothes that I barely had occasion to wear. She was downright nosy about my personal life. I could tell she was lonely and bored out of her skull sitting in the shop by herself for hours on end. I remember taking out my credit card once to settle a bill for $4,000. That’s a lot of money for clothes for a woman who doesn’t work outside of the home. It felt like it just happened without effort or will on my part.
I didn’t realize that my husband’s distance was actually the start of him slowly but surely walking away from the marriage. It took a few years for him to own up to the fact that he was done being married and wanted to separate. I built quite a wardrobe as he was drifting away.
Of course, after he left I needed nice clothes and shoes to start dating. I could never say “I have nothing to wear!” I always looked great and had confidence on a first date. My closets are bursting at the seams. Luckily, some extra space was freed up when my husband moved out.
Thank you for reading. :)