Stuck Between Hip and Hip-Fracture

One of the joys of losing weight is going shopping for new clothing when everything starts getting baggy. (What? Were you unaware I was losing weight? You must not be reading my weight loss blog then!)

Such was my joy this weekend when I went out to Kohl’s for a little “me” time in the evening. I had gift cards from Christmas, I had a coupon, and I was ready to spruce up my wardrobe.

I walked in the door and was immediately distracted by the cute dresses on my right. The pull of ruffles and stripes and soft fabric drew me to the racks as I quickly found myself immersed in spring fashions. Another woman, younger than me, was also browsing in this section.

One top caught my eye, so I started digging through the rack, looking for my size. The other woman was practically right next to me looking at shrug sweaters. Not finding a large, I muttered out loud to myself (because I talk to myself all the time), “Darn, I wish they had this in my size. I doubt a medium would fit.”

The other woman – who really couldn’t have been more than 22 or 23 years old – looked me up and down for a split second, and then replied, “You’d probably find more for you over there,” and nodded across the aisle with a sigh and a withering look on her face.

(Were she 50 years old and southern, she’d probably have added a “well, bless your heart,” to the beginning of that statement. Instead, I got the teen “geez, mom, you’re so out of touch!” tone of voice.)

“Oh, thanks,” I replied, not realizing what she meant. A moment later, it came to me: I was in the Juniors’ section of Kohl’s. The area she was nodding to was the Womens’ part of the store. You know, the area for females who are of a certain age and should be dressing a certain way.

And for just a moment, I was truly embarrassed. I shuffled away from the soft ruffles and left the Juniors’ section to those without wrinkles, hoping no one would point or stare at the old lady thinking she was young again.

I mean, I’m four months away from 35 years old, where I’ll officially be in my “mid-thirties” and can no longer pull off the “early-thirties” label. I don’t plan on wearing an ultra-mini skirt anytime soon, but I didn’t realize that the entire Juniors’ section was off-limits for me.

But I like some of the clothing there. Sure, I won’t be wearing anything that bares my midriff anytime soon, and Juniors’ jeans are simply never going to fit my legs. The tops and dresses, though, are a mixed bag – some are really cute, and while most aren’t work appropriate, I could see wearing them on a casual Saturday afternoon, out with friends, or even to a blog conference. No inappropriate baring of skin, no squeezed into something like a sausage – just trendy ruffles and floral prints and clothing cut in a way that makes me feel happy. 

To be fair, I like some of the clothing in the Womens’ section, too. This is not a rant against matronly clothing for those of us who can’t like Justin Bieber without it feeling kinda creepy. I buy most of my clothing from that area of the store, to be honest. I just don’t see why I should feel guilty shopping in the Juniors’ section as well.

So tell me: is a thirty-something mom of two considered too old for clothing from a Juniors’ section, or does Miss Teen Fashion Police need to zip it and let women shop where they want?

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  1. Shop where you want. Totally.

    I have a deep love for a particular juniors-ish store because of their jewelry and their wear-to-work clothes. Of course, I don’t need those now, so I just bought a lovely comfy shirt the other day. WITH RUFFLES. WOO!

    I shop where I find clothes that fit that have classic lines with a bit of fun flair. But I do lie to one friend who thinks that any juniors-ish type stores (or discount stores, for that matter) are beneath her.

  2. Well I get to scope out the junior’s sections at will because of the teenage girls I have, but I say shop were you want. Just be forewarned those stupid juniors clothes will make you get something way bigger than you actually are size wise so that it fits. It is crazy and I hate what it does to my daughters when they have to get something way bigger than they should need.

  3. tofuforyou says:

    My sister & I have the same problem at Kohls – we walk a fine line between Junior’s & Women’s in the search for non-frumpy, non-skanky clothing that fits a frame roughly 5’3″.

  4. I’m 28 and I think I’m too old to shop in the Junior’s section if that makes you feel any better. Not so much because of the styles, though that is part of it, but also because the way the clothes are cut. They are not cut for a woman. They are cut for a high school girl. I may be a size 4 in the women’s department of any store but there is not a pair of pants in the junior’s department that fits my thighs or chest properly. The clothes just aren’t meant for the fully developed. Not shopping in the junior’s department does not make you matronly.

  5. I say shop wherever makes you darn happy. I usually find most of my clothes in the men’s department. I know this will sound sarcastically bizarre, but Kohl’s doesn’t carry carpenter-style jeans in the women’s section, and as a carpenter I find that carpenter jeans are in fact darn handy. I shy away from the juniors section for the most part, but I think a large part of that has to do with the fact that I’m a heavyset/muscular petite woman and modern fashion doesn’t cater to the fantasy dwarves set.

    I have a few flashy, colorful, playful shirts that I roll out on special occasions, but 99% of my typical outfits usually consist of beat-up scene shop clothes or my stage blacks so I don’t feel like I can literally afford to have too many clothes that aren’t Practical ™ in nature, but darnit if I see something I like in the Juniors section and by some freak miracle it fits me, I have no shame in buying it.

    My ruling is that the woman was rude and out-of-line. Sometimes a store will have almost identical outfits in both the juniors and misses/womens sections with the cuts altered to make the best of both types of figures, and maybe she was suggesting that Kohls had a similar setup, but by her indicated attitude this was obviously not the case. Miss Teen Fashion Police needs to zip it.

  6. I had a similar experience at Kohl’s a few weeks ago as I walked past some of the tops in the juniors section. I’m a larger gal (also on a weight loss journey) so I knew nothing on that side of the store would fit but some of those items were so! pretty! and feminine. They should at least hide the really pretty things in the back of that section instead of right along the main aisle!

    A few days later I was in a store at the mall and couldn’t even find the “average” woman section, much less the plus-sized section. Talk about disheartening!

    I say if you find it in your size, you like it, and feel good in it, you should wear it, no matter where it came from.

  7. Shop wherever you’re happy. If I could still fit into the juniors section I would totally shop there – and I’m about to be 40.

  8. I love looking at the clothes in the Junior’s section and pretend that i am looking for my girls, not myself. I think I would wear some of the things, but the sizes are off and I don’t fit into much of it.

    I say if it’s comfortable, wear it. And tell the junior fashion police to take a hike to the children’s section.

  9. I certainly don’t try to dress like my young adult and teenaged daughters but some pieces in my wardrobe ARE from the juniors department.
    This almost 49 year old GRANDMOTHER of 1 and mom of 5 wearing Juniors fashions????
    Shut the front door!
    I prefer clothes that fit well and are comfortable and mostly classic but I have to admit an occasional fun top or skirt or dress or scarf livens things up. I often check out In Style magazine because they will take a trend and show it for 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. That helps a lot in figuring what might work or not so much.
    FTR, my young adult and teen daughters and friends tell me and others all the time that they like my style and I am pretty cool without being cougar-like. I guess the bottom line is if you are comfortable and wear it well then it is okay.
    I’m dealing with the a similar question where women of a certain age shouldn’t wear their hair past their shoulders as friends and the blogosphere celebrates Jen Aniston finally wearing an age appropriate hair style and this woman of a certain age is growing her hair out, hopefully shoulder length in time for BlogHer.
    so proud of you and can’t wait to see how awesome you look at BlogHer. You are going, right?

  10. The other woman was, of course, extremely rude. Shop where you like! I’m 35 and I still get clothing from the juniors section. Heather is absolutely right about the sizing, though.

  11. Rachael says:

    To me it’s less about the section and more about knowing what is appropriate for your age/life/body. You can find stuff that will look good or terrible in ANY section!

  12. Condo Blues says:

    The girl was out of line. With vanity sizing you never really know what your size is until you try it on anyway.

    Shop where you want. As long as the clothes fit well and you like them, buy them. It’s OK to shop Juniors. Heck, I buy shoes at Stride Rite for myself because the grown up stores rarely have shoes in the adult section for my tiny feet.

  13. I think she was rude!! If Junior clothes have a style, fit & size you like–go for it! I definitely browse that section when I’m shopping…which isn’t often these days…but no reason why you can’t 🙂

  14. I say wear what you like, shop the department you like, and tell the rude little punks to stuff it!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    OMG!!! TODAY!!!!! First time ever did a Target employee say the same thing to me!!! I was shopping and she asked if I was looking for a medium shirt, I said large. She helped me find it. A little later I was gathering a few more items when I made a comment of how I hate shopping for clothes and every style fits different and is a different size basically same capri pants fit differently..etc. When she said she never has that problem because she finds all clothes of her size fit perfectly…. she shops in plus she said….because she shops in her proper department and I would also be able to find all clothes without trying them on, because they would be the same size if I were shopping in my proper department and not in juniors. I didn’t say a word and kept browsing as if it didn’t mean much…BUT OMG I was so mad. I can shop where I want and any department is going to have the same issue. Depending on cut and brand it fits differently and yiou still have to try it all on to see. So her point made no sense. I bought all t shirts and capris and cargo pants in juniors size large, medium and 10 …they fit me, so why not?? I am 38. I also have long hair and do not like what I see in women’s section of most stores.