Subourbon Mom

Dress for Success

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want.” Well, I am a firm believer in dressing for the help you want when shopping. If you dress like a tired mom in stained sweat pants and unwashed hair, see how many sales people come up and offer to assist you. You’ll be leper in the middle of J.Crew, all alone somewhere in the sale section. However, if you dress in a way that says you’re ready to buy, and that you have the money to do it, things are vastly different.

A few of weeks ago, I dressed for a day of shopping at the mall, in my good skinny jeans and a sweater that covers up those saddlebags that no amount of leg lifts will eliminate. I even had makeup on because, let’s face it— women dress for each other when they shop, not for the men. Sorry guys, but it’s true. At the clubs it’s a different story—we’re all about you (just keep nodding and smiling, ladies—they don’t know!).

The first stop that day was Lowes, a store I feel lost in the minute I step through the doors. The signs are hung too high, and nothing is organized the way I would do it. Who puts storage stuff behind the gardening stuff? It should go somewhere in the house section.

But I digress…so I walked in, feeling like a delicate daffodil among the burly men prowling the aisles. There were a couple of other women there, too, and I’m sure they were doing something admirable, like fixing the drywall in their kids’ playroom. But I was heading to the mall afterward, and had dressed for the Nordstroms dress section, not the Lowes drill press section.

Eventually, I found the enormous storage box I was looking for. A male employee about my age (we’ll just smile and call it 30) said he would carry the box to the checkout counter for me. Flexing his muscles, he marched the box past two lines of at least 6 irritated people, and opened a new register just for me. I could feel resentment drilling into my back from the other customers. I never did get his name to give to the manager, but maybe that was a good thing. I think he might have gotten in trouble.

A week later, I had to go to Lowes again to make a return. Again, I was looking decent—ok, maybe it’s a subconscious thing—I dress well when I know I’m going into the giant man cave. I made my return, and immediately tried to exit through the ENTER door.

I walked into it.

That’s right, I walked into the door at Lowes.

I stood there for a moment until my menopause brain eventually noticed the backwards ENTER letters. To my shame, as I turned to go out the actual EXIT, a male employee came over and said, “Here, ma’am, let me help you.” He pushed open the ENTER door for me, like I was Cleopatra, and I waltzed through as if nothing had happened. Maybe it was pity for my blatantly blonde moment, but I’m telling you, dressing for the service you want really works.

Now, if I had watched someone like me walk into the ENTER door, I would have rolled on the floor laughing.

The only store I have found where this strategy doesn’t work is Wal-Mart. No matter what you look like, what language you speak or what expression you have on your face, the employees always treat you the same—like cattle going through the chute. But in a way, that’s ok. There’s no pressure. I can go in there at 7:30 a.m., wearing my ridiculous sequined Christmas tree shirt that I break out once a year for the program at school, or I can be in a cocktail dress getting a last minute hostess gift (i.e. cheap bottle of wine), and I get the same treatment.

I’m anonymous, and I love it. Wal-Mart may be a lot of things, but it is definitely the great equalizer.

Every woman wants their Pretty Woman moment—they want to walk into a store that previously shunned them, and get fawned over when the sales people realize she’s now the real deal. If you want that moment, I suggest starting off small, like in a Lowes or Home Depot. Dress in your “I’ve-lost-all-hope-stay-at-home-mom clothes one day,” and then in your Spanx, good shirt and jeans, and supportive bra, and see what happens.

And don’t forget to say as you leave, “Big mistake. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”

14 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wal-mart: The great equalizer. I like it…

Another great place to be fawned all over is Best Buy or Radioshack… or maybe I just look pathetic and lost so people feel like they need to rush to my aid.

Great post!


Comment by Katie Renee

No matter what I wear in Nordstroms, I feel like I’m carrying The Plaguemust be the mom jeans, or the pre-school bead necklace I forgot to take off


Comment by libbyhall

Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!


Comment by Static eliminator

Thanks for visiting! Glad you enjoy it!


Comment by libbyhall

Did you really wear makeup?????


Comment by Debra

I do actually own some


Comment by libbyhall

Hey! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?

My website addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other.
If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by
the way!


Comment by baby girl names

A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think
that you need to write more on this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but
usually people don’t discuss such issues. To the next! Best wishes!!


Comment by paleo Recipe Cookbook

Thanks for stopping by to read it–glad you enjoyed it!


Comment by libbyhall

Bruce, Hubby told me what I said was just mean…you know I would never call you out on stuff like that! 🙂


Comment by libbyhall

Your style is unique in comparison to other people I’ve read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you’ve got
the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.


Comment by baby girl pictures

Thanks for visiting–glad you enjoyed it!


Comment by libbyhall

Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks


Comment by Cheap Christian Louboutin

I don’t have a problem with it! Enjoy!


Comment by libbyhall

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