I took my daughter on a “girls’ shopping day” recently. We used the excuse that we had to stock up on long underwear and other necessities to help get through the rest of this bitterly cold New England winter. It’s the truth. Well, what can I say, as a native Texan, I truly believe in the power of retail therapy, (as long as what you’re buying is on sale).

What the mannequins look like to me.

So off we went, listening to tunes from Pitch Perfect. (And in case you’re wondering, I sang along too.) I have to say we enjoyed our day out. I realize that in a few short years, going shopping with mom is going to be more “torture” than a “treat” for my daughter even if it includes an entourage of friends and a stop at the local frozen yogurt shop. So I celebrated her still being nine and we drove to Garden City with big smiles on our faces.

We had a ball, walking around the adorable shops, trying on sunglasses and scarves, smelling candles and gathering home design and fashion ideas.

Then suddenly, like a sugar crash following a Pink Berry frozen yogurt with chocolate drops, my mood changed. The moment we walked into a store that was one of my favorites in my 20’s and 30’s, the ugly truth came to me.

The mannequins looked anemic.

Every skirt was too short.

Every top was way too trendy.

And every pair of skinny jeans looked like they were made for an American Girl doll.

Whether I wanted to believe it or not, I had outgrown this store, and it had outgrown me too.

You know you’ve outgrown your favorite clothing store when:

  1. The sales associates don’t even bother to make eye contact with you.
  2. You are never greeted with a friendly, “May I help you?” because every sales associate (that looks 14) can tell you’re 20 years and two dress sizes beyond their target customer.
  3. You try on one pair of “stretchy skinny jeans” and get depressed.
  4. Nothing fits no matter what you try on. And if it does, it makes you look like something that begins with the letter “h” and rhymes with “looker”.
  5. The horrid lights in the fitting room accentuates every lump, every dimple and cellulite you didn’t even know you had.
  6. Even the pieces on the sales rack no longer appeal to you.
  7. If you attempted to tie a “skinny belt” around your waist as many times as they tie it around the anorexic mannequins, you would embarrass yourself even more because you’d soon be surrounded by paramedics on the dressing room floor.
  8. The sales associate announces that all regularly priced button-down shirts are 20% off, but she doesn’t share this information with you. She shares it with the 20-year-olds walking around the store.
  9. Even the headbands are too tight for your head.
  10. You walk in and out without buying ANYTHING.