Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shopping For Clothes

I HATE shopping for clothing! Yup, I admit it! I am a female who does not enjoy shopping for clothes!

For many years, I was able to find much of my wardrobe at a Canadian chain called Cotton Ginny. I LOVED that store and spent a great deal of money over the years! Sadly, it closed down a couple of years ago. Many items in my closet bare the Cotton Ginny label. I LIVED in their Organic Cotton jeans! They had just a small amount of Lycra for stretch but - OH they were SO comfortable!

I'd been dreading the day, when I had to shop for new jeans. Those beloved organic jeans have been getting a little thread bare in the last year and wasn't sure they'd make it through another winter. I really should have stocked up before the store closed for good.

Oh well, this past September it was time to face the fact that I needed new jeans. Where to start? Mark's Work Warehouse has a wide selection of garments and I'd found a few tops there over the years, but I'd never gone jean shopping there. Warehouse One was another option. I vaguely recall finding jeans there in the late 80's or early 90's. Oh, for the days of my youth when I could just pick up a pair of Wranglers without having to hit the fitting room!

I'd heard some great things about a store here in Winnipeg on Sargent Avenue called Sargent Blue Jeans. Lots of styles to choose from, knowledgeable staff and free alterations - all at very reasonable, competitive prices. It was a bit out of my way, but if I had to find jeans, I decided to start there.

Sargent Blue Jeans isn't a fancy clothing store. It's focus is on the clothes it carries and the service it provides its customers. As you walk in, the sales counter (large enough to use for a cutting board) is on the right. The fitting rooms are on the left with a commercial sewing machine nearby. Clothing hangs on the walls. In the middle are long rows with a huge assortment of neatly stacked jeans.

The woman at the counter greeted me within seconds of my entering the store. She explained that the owner had stepped out for a few minutes and she was very busy, but would help me when she could. She was in the process of altering a pair of pants, but asked me what I was looking for in a jean. I showed her the CG ones I was wearing and said something like this! CG, had had their own sizing so I had no clue what size to ask for. She looked me up and down and said she would find some to fit me.

A few minutes later, she walked up and down the aisles, stopping occasionally to check through the stacks for a size. She returned with three pairs thrown over her shoulder - showed me into a fitting room and gave me the jeans.

I tried on the first pair and was stunned to realize that they were a perfect fit! I tried on the other pairs. Over the next 15 or 20 minutes, she knocked on the door a couple of times to ask if I needed any help or other sizes. I told her what fit, what didn't and where they didn't fit. She removed the ones that didn't fit and brought more to try on.

This woman was amazing! She just looks at the customer - then walks down the aisles stacked with piles and piles of styles & sizes - picks out a few that she thinks will fit you! She was helping about 3 or 4 of us at the same time AND doing the alterations while we were trying things on! She never once got any of our sizes or style needs mixed up!

By the time I was done, the owner had returned. He was working the cash register, helping customers and ironing newly altered seams.

I tried on eight or nine pairs and purchased two very comfortable pairs of jeans that day - one a dark denim (the first pair I had tried on) and the other a charcoal grey. The total was just under $90 including taxes!

Needless to say, I will be returning to Sargent Blue Jeans for any future jean purchases!

That same day, I was also looking for a wind-breaker. I had been to Mountain Equipment Co-op a week or so earlier but hadn't found anything that I liked that was under $200! YIKES! That was more than I had paid for my winter jacket! Since I was already out, I decided to push my luck and keep shopping!

Wilderness Supply on Ferry Road at Ellice was my next stop. I found a summer weight rain jacket I liked but I wanted to check out Cabela’s while I was out in the area as I REALLY didn’t want to spend $130! The clerk said it was a 14 day return policy or she could also hold it for me for up to a week, but suggested that I should come back on that Saturday as there was going to be a big sale and I could get 60% off! I said that bus service on Saturday wasn’t great so the manager gave her the okay to give me the discount while I was there! With taxes it was $58 and change!!!! Kudos for telling me about an upcoming sale AND giving me the price in advance!!

I was on a roll! I caught a bus back down Ellice to Cabela's. I had to wait a while for a clerk in the women’s wear to be available but it was worth the wait as I found a rain jacket with a light fleece lining that is great for spring/fall and easily layered with my heavy weight hoodie! With taxes – $78 and change!

A VERY successful shopping trip! Three stops, two pairs of jeans, and two jackets for just under $230! If only all my future clothing excursions could be that successful!

A couple of weeks ago, I did return to Cabela's and purchased a pair of water/wind proof pants. I tried on the women's style but they were too short but the men's fit. I'll be layering them over long johns and jeans on the really cold days I venture out this winter.
I don't know how often I'll make it to Cabela's come the new year though as they are moving out near the new IKEA store. At the moment that area has extremely limited and very poor bus service.

I've yet to find suitable locations to buy most long sleeved items or dress pants but I'll keep looking.

With any luck, I'll find more stores that carry items I like before I have to join a nudist colony!


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