Fashion, Online Shopping & Self-Love
The Journey of Shopping
Having worked for clothing retailers for several years in my early twenties as a sales associate, I witnessed a lot of women struggle while shopping for clothes. I would, later in my life, experience those same struggles, but more on that later! I cannot tell you how many women I witnessed looking in the mirror over 20 times to see how the piece looks on them, spinning around and around, making sure that whatever their body image issue (in their mind) was, that it wasn’t visible in the mirror, or to others.
I frowned at those sales associates that used pressure tactics – convincing a client ‘that it looks great’, even though the client knew in her mind, having looked in the mirror those 20 times, that the item just wasn’t right for her. You know the ones I am referring to: those pushy sales associates looking for a quick sale and making you buy something that you would never even wear. Why? Because it made you look too much out of your comfort zone. I was never that sales associate, which may be the reason why I was able to build confidence and trust over time with the women I would help. A good sales associate knows what stock they have, what they can get you, and suggests or guides you to the most genuinely beneficial and best suited items. My goal was always to help women get to the place where they would say “I love how this looks and feels”. The second I saw them hesitate would be the second that I pivoted to something else that would fit their personality better! At the same time, it is hard to provide service to someone who you really don’t know and have just met. Not knowing their style, preferences, body image issues they might have, or receptivity to feedback, can make it hard to recommend apparel and find the right pieces. See, clothing is something personal, something that should make you feel good about yourself, like those favourite pairs of pajamas that you wish you could stay in all day. You can be comfortable, cozy, and feel good, but every now and again, you might want to dress it up.
When I started MyMien, it was this journey I went through in my earlier days of selling clothing that made me want to reconnect with these women in need of guidance. I wanted to provide a selection that women could relate too - that’s why I selected Sympli clothing (#symplistyle). I wanted to introduce women to a fashion line that was proudly Canadian-made and that would fit well with the wellness and self-care journey that I want my customers to embark on. Fashion was always something I liked - Louis Vuitton or designers who dared to be different, and of course, growing up watching Canadian Fashion icon Jeanne Beker. That is why I think having a well-rounded wardrobe collection is so important to a woman’s wellness and self-care routine. You see, when you put on that favourite top or pair of pants, you feel and look good. This is how I want every woman to feel. Your favourite pieces do not have to be from a recognizable designer but rather they should be items you love.
The Struggles of Online Shopping
The struggle is real. Even more exasperated since the pandemic. At this point, I keep saying to myself, “I don’t need that shirt or top; I have plenty of old ones. I can wait to buy clothes when things go back to normal, right? No one even sees me anyways and yes, I finally get to avoid those pushy sales associates!”
The pandemic, no matter how you feel about it, has changed our lives and the way we shop. Online shopping for me was always a nightmare. You mean to tell me that I can’t try it on and twirl around in the mirror, deciding if it is right for me before I buy?!? I find myself doubting and asking: Is the size right for me? Is the description accurate? Is that really the color I will get? Will the fit be different when I get it? What if I don’t like it? How do I return it? All of these are doubts I face when making an online purchase and I am sure everyone has asked themselves these same questions when purchasing online. In the past, I always preferred seeing the item, touching it before I purchased it and getting it in a bag instantly. There are a lot of companies who have mastered the online shopping experience now with fast shipping services, better return policies, etc.
For now, we need to maintain a distance in order to stay safe and online shopping is a great alternative until things get back to ‘normal’, whatever that may look like in the future. At the same time, we must remember to keep living and enjoying small moments. Although we aren’t interacting as we once did, we cannot forget to continue to take care of ourselves. See, although we cannot go shopping, we must not forget what it feels like to feel good about ourselves. Wearing a nice top or a comfortable pair of pants isn’t about impressing your colleagues at work, neighbors or friends, but rather it’s about you. It is about not forgetting to do something for yourself.
Do not be afraid to call and speak to a representative from a retailer you like or want to try. Ask questions that will help you make choices and select items that are right for you. If you aren’t getting good customer service from the beginning, you are not likely to have a good experience with the final product either. At this point, do not be afraid to ask for assistance or suggestions on what products would best suit you, as experienced staff truly knows best. Reviews are not always truthful or accurate, or even relevant to the same experience. We cannot believe everything we read online - sometimes we must try it ourselves to see, so start small until a company’s shopping experience wins you over.
If you made it this far down this post, congratulations, this is when things go from professional to light and fun! Here are some of my tips for online shopping or purchasing those ‘feel good’ pieces. The first two tips are especially important when online shopping. Now, please, I am not claiming to be an expert in any one of these areas, but over time, and through my experiences, I hope I can provide some help to those women looking for some ‘helpful suggestions’.
This is always my #1 recommendation to all women. Know your body proportions. Are you smaller or bigger, longer or shorter in some areas? This is the reason why some pieces look good on one woman and may not look good on another. For example, I am 5’11 and although I am tall - I do not need ‘tall’ pants. Why? Because I am not ‘tall’ through my legs but rather I am tall through my torso, which means I need longer tops. I always hated when a sales associate would tell me to get longer pants. When I put them on, they would drag, and I would be mopping the floor with them. During my high school days, I would unknowingly sport the Britney Spears look, not because I was trying to replicate her, but because my torso was so long - oops, I didn’t know then, but I know now, and I wouldn’t be doing that again! As I was growing, I became more aware of my proportions, and now when I purchase tops, I try to seek the longer looks to hide my midriff.
After gaining 30 pounds following the birth of my daughter, I so desperately wanted to go back to that smaller size that I was accustomed to wearing. Problem was that the weight wasn’t coming off. No matter what I did, my body had changed. I was not losing any weight and I just did not have the time to commit myself to some rigorous gym routine or patience to count calories. I really had to accept that this was the size I was wearing now. I would try to squeeze myself into those tight pants, praying that if I sat down nothing would pop open while I was in a meeting at work. Those tight pants I had grown accustomed to wearing would show those love handles I so desperately did not want anyone to see. And not to mention, prior to having my daughter, I really had never experienced having a larger chest. It was the first time I was experiencing body change of this scale since puberty. It was extremely difficult for me to get over all these changes. As I stood in the mirror, I really felt like I didn’t know myself anymore. Who was this person, looking back at me? My whole body had changed in what felt like such a short period of time! I got into a runt and after a while, one day, I went for a walk and saw this beautiful woman. She was not skinny, but she was put together so elegantly and looked amazing. Probably more beautiful than any skinny girl I had ever seen. In that moment, I thought to myself, I can look just as good being myself. All I need to do is purchase clothes that now fit me and stop dreaming of what I used to be. I needed to stop looking at what I was and embrace this new version of myself. I re-evaluated my size and shape of my body and went shopping. I bought items that now fit me, and I wasn’t worried about anything popping open during a meeting! I felt great and loved the new look that I rocked and everyone around me felt my newfound self-confidence. That woman now stays in my head because she inspired me to own it and I did! I can accept that I may never go back to that smaller size and be happy with the woman I am today.
Pieces we fall in love with can fade over time or not fit us as nicely as they once did. They lose the zest they had when first bought. We should all reassess our pieces at least twice a year to see if the size is right or if there is damage to the item. Also, styles change - new pieces come out that you should at least try. And I think it is healthy to suggest that we should all buy something new for ourselves occasionally. A helpful tip: keep your fabrics fresh by purchasing lavender sachets and placing them in your drawers and closets. Clothes sitting unused start to smell stale. This is just one solution you can try to keep your clothes smelling fine and fresh.
No matter what your journey through fashion is, do not forget to love yourself during it. Things come and go, but self-love should be everlasting.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post and I hope you found some value in it. I would love to hear your experiences shopping online – drop me a comment below! Please share with your friends, visit www.mymien.ca the online store, and happy shopping!