My Nordstrom personal shopping experience ended in me crying and other fun tales


I need clothing. Badly.

So I thought I would try out a Nordstrom Personal Shopper. [For the uninitiated, a Nordstrom personal shopper is someone who pulls clothing for you to try on based on your personal preference and size. (You can read about my background with Debbie here.)]

My dream: A Nordstrom personal shopper would be an attainable version of a Dorothy Store. A Dorothy Store is my fantasy where I walk into a store and all of the clothes fit and are flattering. By purchasing them, I will present to the world an entirely new, fashionable me. Men will want me, women will want to be me, and I will never have to pick Dorothy Store clothing off the floor as I will always be motivated enough to hang them in my closet once I’m done wearing them because they are that fucking special. It should be known that I am willing to throw down some money on a Dorothy store. 

Reality: Debbie, my Nordstrom personal shopper, pulled a bunch of Not Your Daughter Jeans for me, one Shearling vest and a $1,000 leather jacket. And I started crying.

This Shearling vest looks great on this model. On me, I looked like a worn-out sheep herder.

Is this the image I present to the world? That I’m an elderly shepherd who hangs out at pricey lesbian bars on the weekend?

[Caveat time! NYDJ’s are FINE and you are not “elderly” if you wear them. But maybe it wasn’t the best thing to see considering I’m currently emotionally fragile about my figure and place in life after two children (something I made clear to Debbie). Maybe throw in some Levi’s or Joe’s just to make me feel not so …. maternal? ]

Is this the image I present to the world? That I’m an elderly shepherd who hangs out at pricey lesbian bars on the weekend?

It was so stupid, you guys. Because I felt the familiar shame and hot tears in the corner of my eyes. WHY WAS I CRYING?  I’m 36. I’m successful. I have two beautiful children, a lovely life and I’ve worked really hard at getting back at shape. I look fine. I would allow myself to say “appealing.”

But nothing — and I mean nothing — in the world can make me feel more frustrated and helpless than a bad dressing room session. And it’s stupid because it’s just clothing. But if it doesn’t fit or doesn’t look right, I blame myself.  So I took deep breaths and called to Debbie.

Here is an example of an outfit she pulled for me. Am I wrong in thinking I could just as easily get this outfit at Old Navy or Lord and Taylor?

Me: No cardigans? [I really wanted some cardigans. Because I’m elderly and chilly…. Maybe I’m beginning to understand why she thought I was an elderly shepherd.]

Debbie: Not really, no.

Me: Okay. Any other jeans?

Debbie: Let me grab.

So she did. And I tried them on. And they were fine. But then I did that thing where I questioned the rationality of spending $200 on something that is just “fine.” I mean, Old Navy sells pretty great jeans for $50 and they are around the same level as “fine” for me.

Ugh. Shopping is so hard.

Anyway, I composed myself and took a look around and got my head on straight. And realized I was just in the wrong store. As, maybe, Nordstrom doesn’t cater to people like me. People who work fulltime and have young children and zero down time and who need synthetic fibers and who can’t pull of an elderly shepherd look.

So I left, but not before seeing this outfit.

This is what I want Dorothy circa 2016 / 2017 to look like.

And was like: Yo, Debbie! THIS MANNEQUIN IS WHAT I WANT DOROTHY CIRCA 2017 TO LOOK LIKE EXCEPT WITH AN UNDERSHIRT. And she broke the news to me that it was dry clean only. And $350.

In an alternate universe, maybe I would have purchased it. But then I thought about my children getting something on it and how upset it would make me and then how it would literally sit in the trunk of my car for months until I would remember to drop it off at the dry cleaner. I do not currently have it in me to maintain anything else  besides my family, body and house. (I’m exhausted just thinking about a theoretical sweater. That’s where I am in my life.)

As I was leaving Nordstrom to take myself where I belonged (Macy’s), I saw the “Althleisure” department and felt compelled to do a little Buddhist bow to it. As, I finally get you Altheisure moms. As you know what always fits and is easily washed? Leggings, vests, and moisture-wicking hoodies.

I’m happy to report I had more luck at Macy’s. A place rife with synthetic fibers and good price points. Clothing which, if a baby smeared food on it in the morning, I could wash it and I wouldn’t be too upset if it were ruined. Where I bought a leather jacket for $100 and got $10 off because it was my birthday month, which made me feel pretty special indeed. And the worker there said, “Nice jacket! Happy birthday! Here’s a coupon.”

And I didn’t cry once.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. nell's dish says:

    Made me laugh! I so feel your pain! I want to throw out my entire wardrobe and start over! Have you tried stitch fix?


    1. Dorothy Robinson says:

      I have! But, again, I feel like it’s a high price point for not great quality.


  2. Anonymous says:

    You need to go shopping with Lucy! She is a fabulous personal shopper and has a great eye for what looks good on different body types! And, it can all be done at the outlets!


  3. Anonymous says:

    I know it’s hard to shop for yourself. I’m a working single Mom myself. Next time communicate your desired price point to your personal shopper. I have shopped Nordstrom many times and the same looks can be found in different departments!!! From your photo it wouldn’t be hard to achieve what look you want. I find Macy’s to be almost like Walmart/Kmart when it comes to customer service. Don’t be shy just communicate maybe a little better and you may be pleasantly surprised . I was


  4. Marie says:

    I dislike ppl like you that come into stores like nordstrom to shop, you wasted the prrsonal stylists time


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