By Megan LathamIt has become commonplace to talk about the importance of shopping for clothes.
But when a woman’s body is put through the ringer on the shopping process, the result is often an uncomfortable experience, not just for her, but for her partner and for anyone who’s been there.
“She’s walking down the aisle, and the clothes are just as uncomfortable as the man,” says Stephanie McKeown, a partner at McKeon, Waltham and Associates, who counsels women.
“There’s a certain amount of discomfort.”
While this is true, there’s a reason why women’s shopping has become so normalized: we’ve spent so much of our lives doing it.
A study published in March 2017 in the Journal of Social Work found that women’s health and happiness rose by 5% when shopping in a store, which translates to an extra $300 a year.
And the research doesn’t stop there.
Research shows that women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s shop more than men in their 30s and 40s, according to the National Shopping Research Group.
In fact, they shop even more than their male counterparts, the group found.
But what if the woman shopping for a new pair of jeans is in her 30s?
It’s not that the clothes aren’t comfortable; it’s that they aren’t the right size for her.
“There’s definitely a certain lack of confidence when you walk into a store and you have to make sure that your size is appropriate,” says McKeons senior researcher Jennifer Wieser.
The researchers also found that the majority of women who buy a pair of shoes at a store are between the ages of 30 and 35, and yet those women are more likely to be uncomfortable shopping for them than their female counterparts.
This lack of trust is partly why a growing number of women are starting to explore how they can make shopping more comfortable.
In the past few years, online shopping has gained traction as a way to make shopping a bit more fun for women.
The sites allow women to create a shopping list with the purchase of goods and services, with options like a “buy-one-get-one” coupon or an “upgrade-one coupon.”
In addition, many of these services, such as “buy and wear,” offer discounts and coupons.
And with online shopping, there are also the benefits: women have access to a whole new level of comfort when shopping.
“Online shopping has been proven to help women feel comfortable shopping online, as well as to increase their confidence,” Wiesers says.
In this sense, the site Shopping.com is nothing new.
In 2013, women were asked to rate the ease with which they would be comfortable shopping with a company called Target.
“Target was able to create an experience where women felt confident that they could purchase from a variety of brands, from all different price points, all with an equal level of confidence,” Target CEO Susan Wojcicki said at the time.
The company’s website has also come under fire for its lack of women’s-specific products, such the T-shirt line that included a large, pink bikini.
It was criticized for “shaming” women who wanted to wear bikini tops in order to “make women feel better about their bodies,” as one user wrote in a Reddit thread about the product.
And, of course, Target has a history of promoting products with harmful messages about women’s bodies, like its 2015 ad campaign, which depicted a young woman in a bikini with a gaping hole in her bikini line, which the ad campaign was criticized over.
“Women who have experienced shopping with Target are often shocked to discover that their purchases are not the ones they thought they were buying,” says Wiese.
“We have been able to reduce shopping anxiety by making shopping more fun, making shopping feel better, and making shopping fun for everyone.”
While the rise of shopping-oriented services like Target and Amazon.com have opened up a new world of shopping experiences for women, they haven’t eliminated the discomfort that comes with shopping for clothing.
“Women have always been asked to shop for clothes in a certain way and we have a responsibility to support them,” says Schuster.
“If you don’t support that, you’re not going to make your body and your self-worth stronger.”
For women who are uncomfortable shopping, Wiesen recommends starting with a simple, practical solution.
“When you’re shopping, look for products that will help you feel comfortable and comfortable in the process,” she says.
“Try a new shirt, or try a new bra, or a new skirt, or even something new and different.
Wieser says that while she can’t promise that her tips will solve all your shopping problems, they are useful tips to remember and a great starting point.
“It’s all about trust and