I spent a night last week helping one of my friends figure out what to wear for a job interview. She's in her late 20s, but this is the first time she'd ever had to interview for a "real" job -- you know, the serious kind that includes a 40-hour workweek and benefits.
We moved through her closet, mulling over the many wardrobe malfunctions she wanted to avoid -- exposing too much skin, weird cuts and shapes that might force her to fuss with the fabrics, getting too hot.
She tried on patterned tunic tops and brightly colored cardigan sweaters, but nothing seemed to satisfy. She felt too young; clothes felt too small. She shrugged her shoulders, sucked air in through clenched teeth and gave me looks that clearly said she wasn't feeling any of it.
When we hit up my closet, our luck turned. I've spent a few years cultivating a work wardrobe that has options more fitting for this occasion. She tried on bright white button-ups, blouses with puffy sleeves and sharp black knit tops -- it wasn't all perfect, but most of it would've worked in a pinch.
Then it all clicked into place: a pair of black slacks she'd purchased at Plato's Closet and my gray button-up with puffy cap sleeves. A few simple accessories and she looked chic. Better yet, she felt confident. Her clenched teeth turned to a smile. The sound of sucking air was replaced with happy squeals.
I tell this story because even after writing about shopping and style for a year and a half, it still amazes me how much it's connected to our emotions.
Shopping is social and therapeutic. It's how I unwind after a hard week or have fun with friends or find solace when perusing the racks alone, and I love the adrenaline rush in pursuit of a sale.
And I might have to prescribe a little retail therapy for myself this week: This is the last of my shopping columns you will read in the newspaper. I'm moving on to a different job here in Anchorage.
I'll still be maintaining Shop Girl as an Anchorage Daily News community blog, so you can head online for all the information you're used to: updates on events and store openings, a look at local designers and boutiques and a roundup of must-have products found locally and online. I'm easy to find right here at adn.com/shopgirl or on the blue pull-down menu under Blogs on the Daily News home page.
One more thing before we part: Twice last week I read about opportunities for locals to recycle worn-out Crocs. I chuckled each time, knowing that I had to tackle writing this last column and thinking maybe the call for Crocs -- the shoe I love to hate -- was a positive sign.
If you're recycling your Crocs, Anchorage, you're going to get along just fine without me here every Monday.