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Leave Friends and Family at Home When You Go Shopping for New Clothes

If, while shopping, you came about some poor woman your own age who was being helped by a friend, her husband, and a sales assistant in choosing something to wear, you know how frustrating it can be for an onlooker.

You know what I mean. There’s the lovely lady in her late 50s, or 60s, or even her 70s, already feeling insecure and wondering how to dress her no-longer-size-10-body, trying on something ghastly. Huge pattern, wrong colour, too tight, too short, and just too … (fill in the blank).

It really upsets me when I see this happen, and I usually have to walk out while the husband (who will usually say, “You look lovely!”), the assistant (wanting the sale), and the friend (who has her own agenda) are all doing a great job of talking the women into buying something that belongs on another body.

Making Our Own Decisions

Why do so many women, no matter our age, feel it necessary to have someone else help in our decision making – especially when it comes to clothes? Are we really so unsure of ourselves that we cannot decide if something we try on actually works for us?

I believe a mirror is the only tool we really need. And yet, why do we think we need another person to join us in our shopping?

Shopping with Mother

Back in the day, each of us was (hopefully) our mother’s little princess, and she always happily took us shopping or, as we grew older, came with us. We often valued her input though perhaps not so much in our teenage years!

So, the habit of shopping in company obviously starts young!

Shopping with Girlfriends

Then, having adopted this habit, we often go shopping with our girlfriends.

Like me, you probably remember going out with a bunch of giggling girls and coming home with something that was the wrong colour, the wrong shape, and had totally blown your allowance. And all this because your best friend thought it was ‘divine’.

I see young girls doing the same thing today. They go out in gaggles, one of them is invariably carrying a ‘muffin top’, and they seem to have so much money! Sad to say, they’re still making the mistakes we made. It’s obviously a cross-generational thing.

Grandmother and Friends

I remember my grandmother used to say, “You might as well be out of the world as out of fashion.” How true it was.

But I digress …

Friends always have the best of intentions but not necessarily the same agenda when shopping. While you’re looking for a pair of pants, they may be looking for shoes, which means you’re in the wrong shop… for them!

Likewise, your husband may not wish to say the wrong thing. If, like most women ‘of a certain age’ you have gained a little weight, especially around the waist, he either doesn’t notice or doesn’t want to mention it – which is very sweet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help.

The Major Advantages to Shopping on Your Own

If your wardrobe suffers after a day of shopping with friends or family members, then it’s time to consider doing it in your own company.

The benefits? Well…

You can take a rest when you want and have a coffee in your time frame. And you don’t have to worry that your companion (girlfriend, husband, or whoever) is feeling bored or that they have to be home by a certain time.

And of course, you get to buy the clothes that you like and look good on you.

I developed a passion for shopping alone a long time ago, and I have one dear friend who is the same. When we go out together we split up and arrange to meet at a particular coffee shop at a specific time. This only works if we’re out with a purpose and don’t want to wander.

I’m spending hard-earned money on my clothes, so I like to make sure I get what I want.

My advice? When you go shopping, work to your own agenda rather than that of other people. It’s well worth it!

How do you like to do your shopping? Does shopping with others work for you? Or do you have a variety of clothing items you will never wear because they were chosen by somebody else? Please share your thoughts with our community!

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The Author

Penelope Jane Whiteley is the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully. A writer, international speaker, clothes designer, stylist and traveller, she helps other women to live their lives on their own terms. Her courses include “Lose 10 pounds in 10 minutes,” “The Reboot,” “Just Write the Damn Book.” Find her on, Twitter, and Facebook.

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