I’ve really gotten into online shopping lately. America Apparel. Ebay. Amazon. Target. Whatever.
Part of it started when my Friend Boy invited me to be his date for a military ball in May 2013. Of course… I needed a dress. Immediately, I thought of the Two Birds brand of Bride’s Maids dresses that I saw on David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding. You can wear it about 50 different ways because the straps are so long they can be wrapped around you endlessly, strapless, one shoulder, halter, blah blah… But the name brand is like $300, so… I kept searching for a “similar” version. Finally Von Vonni…VV makes a comparable version of the same style of dress, but they call it the Transformer. I found one on eBay for 1/3 of the cost of the Two Birds version. And I got it… well Friend Boy got it… I am his lady and he likes to contribute to my happiness and feminine appeal, so he bid on it.
He also didn’t mind doing this because he knew that I was sure I wanted that particular dress. He knows because he listens to what I like. I’m always raving about convertible dresses and clothing that can be transformed into a different piece, like the American Apparel Le Sac Dress and their Bandeaux Stretchy Dress… ah, heaven for a girl like me who strives for an integrated life of simplicity. The three weeks before the ball, I spent every weekend trying on the dress… trying it this way, or that… Ironically, like always, I ended up going with a version I didn’t even think I’d like all that much. But it just seemed right… the most comfortable.
All dressed up with somewhere to go, Ft. Campbell, KY Military Ball with Friend Boy, May 2013
Generally, that’s how I make decisions lately… no more second-guessing, just peace and preference. I’m famous around my friends for “over-analyzing.” It’s a cute way to say I’m neurotic. :)
I’ll say, “Susie, I was thinking of wearing this, but then I thought, ‘It might rain’ so now I think I might wear something else because I won’t have enough room to carry my umbrella and if this outfit gets wet, it might get ruined and I won’t have time to figure out how to fix it. I’ve got such a busy week coming up. But then again, it might not rain and then I would have missed out on wearing what I really want to wear because of rain that never fell…. maybe I’ll just chance it and wear it anyway. I just don’t know… what do you think I should do, Susie?”
My friends are often as indecisive as I am and often they say, “Well, I don’t want to tell you what to do… just do what you think is best. I don’t know.” Actually, that’s usually how I respond to friends who ask me for advice, too… I don’t know.
Actually, let’s just all admit that we don’t know anything… and then move on. I’ve talked about this all the time… we can’t possibly know how the future will turn out or what the “best” plan of action is that would account for all possible outcomes and intricacies. I think part of my stress about making decisions in the past stems from a false belief that I could, in fact, predict the way things would turn out if only I gathered enough information… this information gathering phase was disguised under the burden of being responsible and determining the best course of action… only, I never got around to making the decision and if I did, I always second-guessed it.
If it did rain, in this aforementioned scenario of an outing with my pretend friend, Susie, then I would berate myself, “Ah, it DID rain. I knew it would rain. Why did I wear this outfit? Now it’s ruined. Well, it’s my fault. I knew it would rain. I am so mad at myself. I knew better.” Of course, I never actually KNEW for sure it would rain….I only actually knew it would rain AFTER it actually started to rain! DUH! It might very well have NOT rained and everything would have gone on like normal.
Making decisions forces us to realize that we cannot possibly determine or even fully guess the future, and so we never know for sure, until afterwards, if the decision was the “best” one for the situation. Usually best means we got everything we wanted and nothing inconvenient or bad happened. But what if instead of saying this was a “perfect decision” or a “stupid decision”, if we instead said, “I’m making the decision that seems reasonable right now… and I WILL have mental resources to deal with any of the consequences of this in the future.”
Online shopping has helped me get over my fear of making the “wrong decision.” Online shopping forces you to make an educated decision without having all the facts. You can read all the clothing chart sizes, materials used, and read all the customer reviews, but you never actually know if it was the “right decision” until you get the item. Even then, you could try it on and it fits fine at first, but the first time you wear it, you realize it’s not that comfortable.
In Argentina, I did some online shopping… I wanted to have some fun, cute items to look forward to upon my return, so I became obsessed with ModCloth! I found this perfect pair of Navy Lace-Up Pumps. Navy is my new color scheme, as of the last year or so…. by 2014, I’d like to have all black removed from my wardrobe. It’s part of my simplistic approach to fashion and my life, part of my Clothing Capsule (Google it). But the shoe came in European shoe sizes, which I’ve never worn. Someone in Argentina told me just to add 30 to my shoe size, which would make me a 38. But then some of the charts on line told me that my Euro shoe size would be a 39. Then I read that the Chelsea Crew brand of shoes I wanted ran small, but I have skinny feet so it should be fine. OKAY! I was soooo uncertain about what size to get. I took a break and came back to it the next day. I decided to: BUY the shoes!
What is the worst thing that could happen? They are shoes. I can return them. Yes, I’ll be disappointed if they don’t fit right. Yes, I’ll be inconvenienced to go to the post office to mail them back. Yes, I’ll be out some money for re-shipping costs. Yes, it’s possible, the next size I get may not fit right, either… then the above inconveniences will re-emerge. But this is all possible, not for sure… I won’t know for sure until AFTER it happens. But what I do remember in this moment is that I WILL have the mental resources to deal with these consequences in the future. I will handle things as they come, not before they come.
God gives us the grace we need for the moments we need it.
Even for something as simple as buying shoes online, I can trust God to provide me with not only the shoes I need, but also the strength to handle my present reality, whether it be a reality of convenience or inconvenience. All things work together for good for those who love Him… right?
With this in mind, I can buy shoes online with confidence, instead of anxiety! With this in mind, I can boldly go forth with my decision to simplify my wardrobe by buying fewer/better items in the same color scheme of navy (pink, green and red look so good with navy!) With this in mind, I can love my enemies without fear because I know who holds the future…no need to prove myself or demand respect from someone.
It turned out that, in fact, the shoes were the WRONG size. I was sad. But I handled it one moment at a time. I called the customer service and asked what size I should get. She said 39, not a 40 (which is what I thought because the shoes supposedly ran really small). But unfortunately, they didn’t have the size I needed in the color and style I wanted. Long story short, I found a similar style in the same brand and color that I ordered from the same company. I haven’t gotten them, yet, so I don’t know if they fit. But with all the research I’d done in the past, coupled with my previous experience of the 38 not fitting properly, along with the advice of someone with specific knowledge, I made the best decision I could and decided to order the 39, instead of the 40. We’ll see… what’s the worst that could happen?
That’s part of the reason that Friend Boy knew I was serious about this Navy Transformer dress that I wore to his ball. I’ve done research, I’ve excluded things, I’ve watched David Tutera enough to know I think this style of dress is amazing, I’ve bought other styles of convertible dresses from American Apparel… and navy IS my new color scheme.
My decisions and troubles with fashion merely represent my deeper life decisions. Some people might think it is shallow to be concerned with a clothing capsule or color schemes, but to me it represents being able to decisively decide what is important to me and to clarify what I want. They might think it’s shallow, but I think they might be shallow thinkers, who can’t see the bigger life picture that everyday moments and trials represent.
Being willing to make decisions that may result in an inconvenience is a necessary part of making decisions. There will be times we make decisions that end up being everything we’d hoped, but then there will be times we make decisions that cause more inconvenience than we wanted. But experiencing the inconveniences, remembering that we can learn from this new experience, and moving forward to make a new decisions, is called being flexible… and to me, that is successful. Flexibility to make decisions based off of new evidences and experiences and advice is the crux of good decision-making, not getting it “right” every time.
But still, I hope those shoes fit… they’re so cute and they’re navy…