Friday, December 01, 2006

A Cry For Help

Well, I'm just now back from a semi-fruitful lunchtime trip to Opry Mills with only a few drops of blood hitting the keyboard as I type this. But I've realized I have a problem.

I'm steadily chipping away at RUABelle's Xmas list. I've got every little hint she dropped in the past year squirreled away in my Treo (geek.) Most of the stuff I can handle. Stationery, check. Some household appliance gadgets, right in my wheelhouse. Stuff for the pets, who can complain? Even a nice coat, because she went as far as giving me the item number at JCrew.

But I've hit a brick wall with the silk blouse thing. RUABelle has a very nice sense of style-preppy and conservative, but very classy. I would wear Hawaiian shirts and blue jeans every day if it were up to me. And I did before I met her. Yet, still she loves me. What do they say? Men love women hoping they'll never change. Women love men hoping they can change them.

So anyway, first of all I'm stymied by what size she is. I won't put her measurements or numbers on the internet, but she's about so tall and yea big around. Does that help? I once asked her size and she told me, "I'm a petite large."

Let's let that sink in a moment.

Petite large. Petite. Large.

What the hell?! Apparently, I'm in love with a jumbo shrimp.

Then there's the style and color issues. I wandered around the women's departments of several stores, being careful not to linger in the lingerie. I even went as far as to select a few blouses off the racks and begin to walk toward the check out, only to hold the hanger up and think, "Yeah, this would look really nice...on a hooker." Maybe I should be shopping for Toys for Tarts.

So I'm lost, friends. I need the help of someone from the distaff side. I'm willing to take internet shopping advice or the services of a personal shopper. What's in it for you? Lunch at the food court restaurant of your choice at any mall in the greater metropolitan Nashville area and the opportunity to watch a guy whose generally thought of as a fairly together dude look absolutely clueless for thirty minutes while you drag him helplessly through a store.

Any takers?


Blogger saraclark said...

I spent years at Castner Knott dealing with the puzzled Male Christmas shopper whose every female relative turned out to be "about your size". My recommendation is to figure out what kind of store would carry her favorite kind of silk blouse and purchase a gift certificate for that store. There are a lot of varibles in what makes a good silk blouse, from color to weight, texture and shape.
That said, Macy's is having an extra 20% off coupon sale this weekend and I saw a beautiful silk wrap-around blouse in several colors, for about $39, marked down from $69. There is never a bad time for a Macy's gift card. Cashmere sweaters are also always a good choice.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Sarcastro said...

I made the petite large/jumbo shrimp comparison while being dragged through the SteinMart when the little lady was doing her clothes shopping.

At least the sales associate laughed.

2:34 PM  
Blogger jag said...

Clothes in Petites have shorter sleeves or legs and are cut a bit differently for smaller people. It's just a whole other size system - so you have your Petites S-L, then your regular S-L, and then the full figure S-L (X's added in where necessary on all of the above).

For instance, I could wear a petite large and I'd look like Urkel, or a full figure large and it'd probably be a bit baggy, but a regular large is fine.

On top of all that, every brand sizes differently - I second saraclark's advice. If you pick out something at a nice store, she can always find something else if it doesn't fit. Besides, there's lots of fun in returns and additional shopping.

2:42 PM  
Blogger ceeelcee said...

I used to be built like a perfect square. 16" neck. 32" inseam. 32" waist. A freakin' Da Vincian ideal, I tell ya'. That made me really easy to shop for.

Now I'm a bit more, how shall we say, Rubensesque.*

As far as gift cards go, she ends up either never using them or using them to buy a present for somebody else. Worst of all, me. Maybe I'll just give her Tower Records gift cards. That'll get her on the stick.

* You'll notice I didn't say "Rubenesque" [sic]. Philistines!

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Lena said...

Few girls (unless they's super rich or don't care about what they spend on clothes) will buy themselves a cashmere sweater. Therefore, I say you can't go wrong with this.

There's a huge difference, though, between a cashmere sweater from Macys and one from J. Crew or Banana Republic. Yes, they'll cost about $75 more, but they're 75% nicer.

Also, Banana Republic sells petite clothes on its Web site, and if it doesn't fit, you can take it back to the store.

Personally, I think a fancy sweater looks best in a classic color (red, black, navy, cream, gray or brown) but if your special lady favors pastels, then by all means.

I hope that helps. I love shopping. :-)

3:01 PM  
Blogger Lynnster said...

Everybody else answered it perfectly. I know it's weird about the size thing, but Jag's description is exactly on the money. Most women's tops (unlike the men's 36/38/etc that used to give me such a headache) are all S/M/L and in those three categories. Different women can get by with different stuff, I can usually wear both the Petite L and the Regular L.

Drag Sista out with you to pick out something, she has impeccable taste in clothing and would pick out something perfect, I'd think.

3:35 PM  
Blogger John H said...

good lord, we're (guys) are just so much simpler/easier/less complex. This probably applies to a lot more than clothes sizing I realize..

I love being able to buy a 15" 32" shirt in pretty much any store and know that it will fit (as long as it's not one of those stupid slim/continental fits).

My head is still dizzy thinking about petite/large.

4:28 PM  
Blogger bridgett said...

You do live together, no? Why not look at the tags on her shirts (and the brands on the stuff she likes and wears a lot) that are hanging in the closet? Note the colors she wears frequently (often more telling than what she owns).

Or is that cheating?

Ann Taylor makes a nice tailored silk blouse (good colors, nice heft) and their petites are sized accurately.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Lynnster said...

Came back to co-sign Bridgett's idea, she's got an excellent idea there. If you check out the labels and brands already in her closet, I don't think you can go wrong. Gift card to a store she likes wouldn't be a bad idea either.

9:30 AM  
Blogger newscoma said...

Okay, I have no idea what women like and RQ wears men's clothes most of the time because she's tall and they fit.
So, in honor of being no help at all, I think she will like anything you get her because she is quite smitten with you.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous sista smiff said...

I'll shop for RB if you shop for Mr. Smiff. He won't ever tell me anything he wants for Christmas so I end up getting him things I would like (eg. Dean Martin dvd's).

3:37 PM  
Blogger newscoma said...

I had to come back over here and tell you that my sister started wildly laughing and I had no idea why.
She'd come to your blog apparently and saw the shrimp comment and spewed coffee on Mabel, who was sitting in her lap.
Funny stuff.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous lcreekmo said...

This is the best Christmas post and conversation I have read so far. Congratulations.

That said, I have no further advice to add b/c a. have you seen my wardrobe?? b. I hate to shop. c. You have already gotten excellent advice above. Just pick some and take it!!

Good luck.

2:29 PM  
Blogger saraclark said...

Bridget is on the mark with Ann Taylor. That store is everything that you described right down to the Jumbo Shrimp selection.

Go to Green Hills mall. They have a huge clearance section in the back that has all the blouses lumped together and sized. Quick and easy shopping. I bet they'll even help you. When you're done, look around for Nicole Kidman.

4:03 PM  

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