Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Middle-Aged Maven Haven

Lately, I’ve noticed that my personal demographic has least as far as clothes and shopping are concerned. Although I still like the clothes at The Gap, my middle-aged body can no longer wear them very well. My high-rise hips have a hard time squeezing into their low-rise jeans. I appreciate the colorful and eclectic look of the merchandise at Chico’s, but their wacky sizes are too complicated for my fading brain. Kohl’s is great and cheap, but unless you look like Daisy Fuentes, everything there is looking a tad too dowdy for me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Dowdy is OK. Dowdy is comfortable. Dowdy is often friendly on the pocketbook. But dowdy is most definitely not cool. And, call this my own personal mid-life crisis, but once in a while, I want to look a little bit cool.

There’s this store that gives me an opportunity to sometimes look cool. I’ve received their catalogs for years and I always find something bright, colorful and a little bit cool-looking. It’s called Coldwater Creek and a couple of years ago, one opened in my local mall. I was pretty excited to be able to see this coolness, up close and personal.

Well, here’s the deal: Coldwater Creek...or should I call it Coldwater Creak, is a really great store with outstanding service. But it is, to be perfectly honest, a middle-aged maven haven. It is shopped at by middle-aged to senior women. It is staffed by middle-aged to senior women. There are women oozing out of every pore of its retail existence. If there are men in Coldwater Creak, they look miserable. Children there would rather be doing homework. There is so much estrogen in Coldwater Creak, it probably gets crabby once a month!

But, for some reason, I like this store. I usually find what I need without breaking the bank. What I don’t like is that I feel like I’m being waited on by my mother. I know this because one of the sales clerks (who was easily pushing 70), was trying to sell me a top that only my mother would like. I was waiting for her to ask if I’d gotten enough rest the night before. Maybe it’s just me, but I want the sales clerks to look much cooler than me...or my mother. I also want them to be able to hear me without me shouting. If I want to shout, I’ll go and visit my parents.

And to add insult to injury, when you go in the changing rooms, they ask your name and put it on the door with a Post-It Note. I know it's so that they can glide by and inquire: "Everything going OK, Karen?" But part of me wonders if it's so that you can remember your own name when you go back in.

Look, I’m all for women going back into the workplace. I’m on the cusp of being an empty-nester myself. I’m just a tad uncomfortable to be hanging out in places where AARP cards are more prevalent than iPods. I wish that they’d mix it up a little bit and hire a few youngsters (without the ‘tude, please) so I didn’t feel like I just walked into the Shady Acres Gift Shop. I realize that I’ve matured past the point of shopping at American Eagle, but it would be nice if the folks at “The Creak” would be a little less obvious about it.


At 3:22 PM , Blogger Star said...

I know what you mean. We are at that in between stage. Too old for Old Navy and too young for the "wpmen's World" section at Macy's.

At 5:01 PM , Anonymous tommy said...

Well, had you gotten enough rest the night before? Don't leave us hanging on such things.

Thanks for stopping by via Michele.

At 9:47 AM , Blogger verniciousknids said...

Your "high rise hips" comment really made me smile!

Michele sent me.

At 11:05 AM , Blogger kristen said...

heh heh! a post it note!?! that's funny.

i'll be coming back to check out more.

i'm here from michele today :)

At 2:48 PM , Anonymous rampant bicycle said...

*chuckle* I have the same problem. When, oh when, will they realize that we don't necessarily WANT to look frumpy just because we are no longer 15? *sigh*

Thanks for visiting me today!

At 3:12 PM , Blogger kenju said...

I KNOW I left a message here last night. I said that I love Coldwater Creek too and that at our store here, they seem to hire nothing but plus sized women - and I look small by comparison.

Michele sent me back!

At 10:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say shop where you need and want...because it all looks the same anyway...and I like cold water creek...and I am only 29 :)

it is a nice store :)

Michele sent me :)

At 10:37 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

I found clothes that I like at The Gap and Old Navy, and I keep buying the same things, over and over.

I'm relentlessly conventional that way, but at least it allows me to dispense with the next-to-useless sales folks. Anything that allows me to minimize my shopping time is a good thing.

I wish I could mail order everything.

I dropped in from Michele's tonight, Karen, but I would have come on my own anyway. I hope you have a lovely Friday and a relaxing weekend - though I'm sure I'll be back before then.

At 8:23 AM , Blogger Yaeli said...

Hmmmm... shopping... It's been a while since I've had a real splurge. Practicality kinda takes the fun out of shopping though. I miss the days when I had enough money to go buy a new outfit on my lunchbreaks.

Michele sent me.

At 9:06 AM , Anonymous Last Girl On Earth said...

I couldn't imagine a place where they put your name on the fitting room door with a stickie note! That just WOULD NOT go down here in NYC! We like our tryon rooms a little more impersonal! I guess you could always just order from the catalog and then you don't have to deal with the older clerks. Michele sent me today. Hope you have a great weekend.

At 9:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

LoL! Too funny! I can relate. I've found stuff I like at Eddie Bauer.

BTW, thanks for stopping by my blog.

At 1:22 PM , Blogger Just a trumpet player said...

I can totally relate... When the only things that seem to fit are at Macy'S or Sears...

Michele sent me. Have a great weekend !

At 4:43 PM , Blogger Zazzu said...

I've been in a couple of Coldwater Creek stores (felt more like Seizure World). Their merchandise really does seem geared to the over-60 set. Apparently, that demographic likes lots of purple, fakey gold, and butterfly motifs on EVERYTHING. Very grandmotherly stuff.

At 4:56 PM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Well, being of a certain age myself, I'm glad to hear that Voldwater Creek has not fallen into the Youth Thing! Good for them for hiring women that are "mature"...(Like how I did that? lol).
And truthfully, as long as the clothes work for you---what the heck! Enjoy and shout, if you have to.

At 6:19 AM , Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

I guess as we mature, we change subconsiously the sort of shops we visit.

Michele sent me here.

At 6:29 AM , Blogger moon said...

I can understand what u mean, but also get what oldoldlady is saying, I think the best compromise would be for a mix of ages working at the store, atleast they have no prejudice about hirering more mature ladies.
Here from Michele's..have a great day

At 9:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am only familar with the catalog..which I love..but cannot afford....I have yet to find the style to match my mid-life transition...will be checking back for some fashion suggestions :)

At 10:20 PM , Blogger Sandy said...

LOL! Truthfully, I find some comfort in knowing that while I'd like to be able to stock my closet with the price point of Old Navy the fact that such clothes rarely fit may not totally be the excess pounds on my frame. Simply my age and mother-to-two status. Right?

Michele sent me over. Glad she reminded me of what I had been missing. It's good to be back here again.

At 11:05 PM , Anonymous kontan said...

I hate shopping for clothes then finding something adorable the try on, only to find that I will have to get three sizes bigger than what I normally by just to get it to look like it is not painted on. I don't mind buying a larger size, it is all relative anyway. I object to going back and forth to the dressing room.

Read your supply post to...bahahaha!

At 9:18 AM , Blogger Gypsy said...

My mother takes me shopping and wants to buy me navy pants suits. I've tried to explain to her that I'm not, nor will I ever be, a woman who wears navy pants suits.

Perhaps you should buy online? Less interaction with the dottering sales ladies. ;)

At 12:17 PM , Blogger charleneshotwell said...

I just found your blog and I absolutely love it! You have a knack for showing what a typical Mom's life is like with accuracy and humor!

My cousin Kathy is obsessesed with COLDWATER CREEK! I had to send her this link.

I too can sympathize... After having two kids, my body too is no longer able to fit into the "younger and hipper" clothes... But I too want to draw the line at "Mom Jeans." I found that wearing LOTS OF HIP JEWELRY is a nice compromise! Jewelry is one size fits all and people love to compliment you when you are wearing nice jewelry. :)

Keep 'em coming!


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