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What I Learned Shopping at Chico’s

Last weekend, I took my son and mother to the nearby outlet mall for a little back-to-school shopping. My role began as chauffeur, banker and fashion consultant for my 15 year-old son. That was until I dared to question one of his fashion choices and was unceremoniously fired. So I joined my mom, who was really just along for the ride, for bit of retail therapy.


I wasn’t planning on buying anything. I mostly went shopping at Chico’s with her to put some space between the teen fashion plate and me. But there were signs everywhere screaming at me, “40% off the entire store” and, in fine print, “including sale items.”

It was just too much to ignore. I saw a pair of pants and top that I liked. I tried it on and fell in love. I did a quick calculation in my head and decided that with the extra 40% off they were practically paying me.

I made my way to the cashier, handed her my credit card and smiled when she complimented my selection. I watched as she carefully folded and wrapped each item in tissue paper and placed them neatly in the bag.

As I walked out of the store, despite how flattering and incredibly comfortable the clothes were, I knew with that single purchase, that I had finally jumped the shark — I was a Chico’s shopper.

And it wasn’t just any outfit. I bought a pair of elastic waist, stretch crepe black pants with a print tunic that covers the area I still blame on the C-section that brought young Mr. GQ into this world 15 years ago. What could possibly be next? Buying shoes from Naturalizer? (Too late, I did that a few years ago. But honestly, they have really upped their game since my grandma shopped there for shoes to accommodate her bunions).

I know what you’re saying.

“You’re young, just because you’re turning 51 doesn’t mean you have to shop in ‘those’ stores.”

You’re right. And I’d be lying if I told you that I loved everything in Chico’s – some of it actually scares me. At the same time, when I turned 50 last year I was expecting to have some great epiphany. I expected to wake up with a newfound level of confidence. One that would allow me to shed the insecurities of my younger self. After all, isn’t 50 the year that allows you to stand up and tell the world, I don’t give a rat’s ass?

But it never happened. I never felt any different. It seemed I was still carrying around the same insecurities that I had when I was 20 and 30. It wasn’t until I put on those elastic waist pants that I finally felt comfortable in more ways then one. I tried on the outfit again when I got home. When I looked in the mirror I saw a confident woman staring back at me. The kind of woman who knew that she looked good.

The next day I wore my new ensemble to work. On the way, I stopped at Starbucks for my grande, nonfat, latte with one Sweet’N Low. As I scanned my Starbucks app to pay for my drink, the cute 20-something barista behind the counter smiled at me and said, “I love your top. That’s a really cute outfit.”

“Thanks,” I said with a smile. “I got it at Chico’s.”

Read more from Tammy DeMel on her blog, Covering the Grey

Tammy DeMel

Tammy DeMel has always dreamed of being a writer. Now at the age of (ahem) 51, she is pursuing her passion after 30 years as a public relations professional. She has just been accepted to a Master's program in writing and began her blog, which can be found at

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Sherrie Mathieson

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

I'm sorry to read these posts from women as young as 40 thinking they need too shop at Chico's. I strongly believe that although one may get a "compliment" for an outfit from them --it might be totally misleading. Chico's is known for its over styled, trying so hard, splashy prints, colors and overdone accessories. These features often garner compliments from well meaning folks. But! This is not great style and never will be.I have a different philosophy on how ladies of all sizes, backgrounds, and ages can get it together--and for the long-haul. My books ""Forever Cool" and "Steal This Style" were both dedicated to great style (youthful, modern and ageless!) for boomers and older.


Friday 29th of August 2014

I'm glad you wrote about this, Tammy! I've always been curious about Chico's but have been 'scared' to enter their store in the past. Now that I'm 40, I'm thinking maybe I have more license to enter, haha! Seriously, I love their ads and that brunette strutting so confidently always looks so chic. I wish I had her build though. But that's an altogether different topic. *sigh* Anyway, I'm definitely going to check them out soon! Thanks :-) #GetRead

Susan Maccarelli

Thursday 28th of August 2014

I read this a few days ago and just read it again. Love it!! I'm 39 and am sure on a hot sale day I could find some great finds in there! #GetRead


Thursday 28th of August 2014

I heard some comedian say that she knew she was getting old when she started shopping at Chicos. And how did she know that made her old? "Even the mannequins had saggy boobs." I laughed about that for three days. But flattering outfits are flattering outifts. And I'll take 'em where I can get 'em. Even (gulp) Chicos.

Sherrie Mathieson

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Nancy, The comedian was right! Chico's is no joke though.

Jill @ Ripped Jeans & Bifocals

Thursday 28th of August 2014

Love love love this! I have always shied away from Chicos (I'm about to be 48). I have a friend (early forties) who has shopped there for YEARS and I've always given her grief. I gotta say, though, Natuarlizer has come a long way in the style department. This was super fun to read. Off to share you on Twitter! Jill

Sherrie Mathieson

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Jill, Your friend is right!

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