Commentary By Melanie Patterson

The North Jefferson News

Maybe it’s because I’m not a shopper, but I was amazed last weekend when I couldn’t find a coat at a major department store.

It was by far the coldest week of the year, with predictions of snow and ice.

And yet when I went to exchange a too-small coat that my mom had bought me for Christmas, there were very few choices left in the store.

None of the choices suited my taste, except for one that was far too expensive. So I exchanged the coat for some jeans instead.

There are at least three more months of cold weather, so I was pretty shocked that stores are low on winter wear and are stocking spring clothing.

And yes, I do realize that I shouldn’t have waited almost a month before exchanging a Christmas gift. So I take the blame for that part. But still ... no coats in January!

However, if you’re in the mood to get your Easter basket (Easter is two months away) there’s no lack of them on the shelves. They’re right next to the bunnies and plastic eggs, one aisle over from the Valentine candy.

I know that sounds a little cynical. I’m not against a little bit of capitalism, but I do find shopping trends very frustrating.

Stores apparently stock what you’re supposed to be buying at certain times. But unfortunately, I really don’t like shopping for clothes and so I miss the not-so-subtle clues about when to buy jackets (August?) and when to buy shorts (February?).

I’ve always been very clothing-challenged. When I was in school, my wardrobe consisted of jeans, tennis shoes and T-shirts. In the winter it expanded to sweatshirts and possibly hiking boots.

As I’ve gotten older, my go-to person for fashion advice is my sister Becky. She’s always been on top of the trends. She’s honest about what looks good and what doesn’t, but always without being offensive.

She never says, “You look like the Goodyear blimp in that.” She’ll just say something like, “Umm, let’s try something else.”

I know what that means. It means I look like the Goodyear blimp.

I often have no idea if a certain shirt goes with my slacks, or if my shoes match. Usually they don’t, but Becky sets me straight.

Maybe one of these days I’ll figure it all out. I hasn’t happened in my 30s, but I’m still holding out for my 40s. Perhaps that is when my fashion sense will awaken.

Then again, if it’s something that actually takes effort, the chances are pretty slim.

Even though I feel clueless in the area of clothing, I somehow manage to show up for work every day dressed from head to toe.

You’re welcome.

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