I was sitting at the kitchen counter on Saturday flipping through my various beauty/fashion mags and mentioned to my brother-in-law, Steve, that I hated shopping for clothes.

“Whaaaat?”  He asked incredulously.  “I never thought I’d hear that from YOU of all people,” he added.

Just to set the record straight, I’m not some uber-fashionista.  But my family, being from preppy Boston, sees my wardrobe as pretty fashionable.

“Oh, I like nice stuff,” I explain.  “I just hate the process of shopping for it.”

And I’m not alone.  Empirically speaking, shopping in NYC can be tough.  There’s A LOT out there and it’s expensive as hell.  So, being on the cheap side, I’m always challenging myself as to whether I REALLY need something.  And if you’re not willing to pay top dollar, there’s an obvious quality and style trade-off you have to make.

But the real reason I hate shopping isn’t rational.  It’s emotional.

There’s a part of me, despite what I preach, that still regards activities surrounding beauty as less important than a host of other duties, such as work, child rearing, exercising, cleaning the bathrooms (OK, maybe not that).

And because fashionable clothes aren’t truly necessary, I see them as gifts to myself.  And then I ask myself, “Do I deserve to pamper or reward myself?  Have I worked hard enough to earn these rewards?”

Whoa, you’re probably saying.  What’s up with this chick?

Thankfully, the second issue has become less and less of a problem for me.  I see how critical looking good is in the workplace.  Fashionable clothes and beauty items aren’t gifts, they are necessities!  Plus, if they make me rock, we’re all benefiting!  Also, the older I get, the more I realize that I can reward myself without having to PROVE that I succeeded in some venture or another.

Phew.

But I found yet another practical solution to my practical and psychological issues with shopping: consignment shops!

Because consignment shops (especially in Manhattan) are stocked with high end fashion at slashed prices, you’re getting the best of both worlds!  Great quality and style without feeling like you’re going overboard price-wise.  My fave is Designer Resale on the East Side.  At first I had the hebegebees shopping in a used clothing store (e.g., did someone die in these clothes?)  But the stuff is in great shape and most likely came from a photo shoot or a trophy’s wife’s closet, and thus worn once, if at all.

Plus, there’s an air of intensity and speed in consignment shops.  Since there’s pretty much only one of any item, you have to grab it first.  Also, I tend to go at the last minute and have only an hour or two to spare.  This means I can’t think about the clothes TOO hard.  I can’t start over-analyzing my feelings about shopping.

So, if you’re at all like me and have issues with clothes shopping — for rational or emotional reasons — try consignment shops.  They might change your life.

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