Shopping is not, or should not be, a group endeavor. It’s almost a rite of passage that every teenager takes her six best friends with her when shopping. It’s assumed that by the time a woman reaches the legal drinking age she has enough confidence in her own taste that she no longer needs a posse with her. Sadly, this is not often the case. She still shops with friends who each weigh in on every garment.
When I reached the age of 12, my mother told me never to shop with my friends because my friends all had ulterior motives. I might consider buying a dress that is too expensive for my friend and since she can’t have it, she tries to steer me away from it, too. Or the dress looks so terrific on me that she’s jealous. You get the picture.
Ideally, shopping is a solitary occupation unless you care to bring along one trusted adviser whose taste you greatly admire. I always shopped with my parents who were both very stylish and whose taste I shared and admired. I knew they would never steer me wrong, having my best interests at heart. Today, since they’re both gone, I shop alone.
So often I see a group of young girls shopping together, each giving her opinion, running in and out of the dressing room, bringing in clothes for others to try on. Usually the group talks one into buying something she shouldn’t. Either they do it deliberately or their collective taste is no better than hers. Or the poor girl is so confused by all the things her friends talked her into trying on that she ends up buying nothing.
The only time I may shop with a friend is if I go to Chinatown for my beloved Chinese shoes. Almost all the Chinese cotton shoes look alike so it’s just a matter of finding my size. If I do see something unusual that I like, I never ask my friend’s opinion; if I like it, I buy it! Conversely, if my friend swears that a particular thing would look “amazing” on me and I don’t like it, I just smile and keep walking.
I advise you to do the same.
Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity agency in Manhattan. She may be reached at email@example.com.