As I continue my foray to Fashion Blog Land, I consistently find myself seething with jealousy at my bloggers in New York, Los Angeles, London or hell, any big city with a quality mall or two. I shake my head at their stories of gorgeous vintage finds at their fabulous secondhand stores or a taking a quick break and popping into Banana Republic during lunch.
It’s not an option where I live. To be fair, there is an outlet mall that is, for an outlet mall, amazing. However, sometimes I need something that’s a little higher quality than what the outlet mall provides. For that, I have to drive 45 minutes or more. And that pisses me off.
I’ve become a huge fan of online shopping. (Probably too much of a fan, if I’m honest.) Who doesn’t love a big package from J. Crew on their front stoop after a long day at the office? Online shopping only really works if you order from stores whose clothes you’re sure will fit. Case in point: I ordered four blouses and a skirt last week from The Limited. Everything fit – technically. But nothing fit perfectly, and I ended up having to return everything. I’ve done that with my favorite stores, too. It’s a pain.
Online shopping isn’t an alternative to shopping in person because there is nothing like trying clothes on. Feeling the softness of a sweater or the crispness of a blouse is one of the best parts of shopping. And forget jeans/bras/swimsuits/shoes – those, you HAVE to be in person to buy (or have to buy the exact size at the exact store that you know you fit into for it to work). How did I know that I actually went down a pants size? I tried the shorts on. And nearly screamed with happiness in the dressing room.
Finding quality clothing that suits budget, size and style continues to be a challenge for us small-towners. And it shouldn’t be. My town’s Old Navy only lasted a few years, and then the space got occupied with whatever craphole of a fireworks/Halloween costume store that decided to squat.
I’m sure online shopping has closed the gap between people in small towns and clothing companies. That’s great. But we need in-town options, too – preferably ones that do not have the words “deb”, “21″ and “mart” in them.