I’m trying to remember the last article of clothing I bought for myself that wasn’t gym-related. The only thing that comes to mind is a white blouse, and that was several months ago. Other than that, I’m wearing the same pieces I wore this time last year.

Folks, I just can’t stand the thought of investing in clothing while “in transition.” Because I don’t work in a traditional office, I can get away with it. I have a handful of, um, forgiving dresses and suits reserved for client meetings.

But, my job search has begun in earnest – I may have told you I’m ditching my biz of 10 years to return to the 9-5 world (preferably with a nonprofit) – and I’ve had some pretty good conversations so far.  I’m thinking it’s time to invest in a great in-person-interview outfit.

I know, I know. The economy is awful, and good luck getting to the interview stage, right?  Oh, ye of little faith. It’s not about the economy; it’s about something far more important. Visceral. Spiritual.

It’s about shopping.

Some of the best shopping of the year is just a week away, and whether you’re feeling cow-like or not, it’s time to hit the malls. Me, I’ll be heading down to the Smithfield outlets for starters, then work my way back north, towards home.

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Last time I was there, I was surprised to find some interesting pieces (but I didn’t buy anything). Despite my strong dislike of all things Lane Bryant, there’s an outlet down there with prices even I wouldn’t mind paying. I prefer stores like Liz Claiborne, which has a section for the eponymous “women’s” sizes.

I have to be honest: It’s going to be weird shopping for something new. I’m not even sure what size I am now.  That’s disquieting. I saw this fab outfit at my fave store, Belk’s, and imagined how sharp I would look in it. It was a business-casual, linen outfit that was a perfect match for my personality, and I wanted to try it on, but I didn’t.

I think it was because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Does that make any sense?

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Here I am, down about 30 pounds – hang in there; I’ve been yo-yoing, but will give you an update from the doc’s office July 8 – and don’t want to try on a snazzy, new outfit.  What’s weird is that if I weren’t working so hard at making a change, I wouldn’t hesitate to try on two or three different sizes of the outfit to see which one looks best. Now, I just admire it on the rack and keep on stepping.

I’m no psychologist, but it probably is the “disappointment” thing.

But hey, I’m betting July 4th sales will signal a turning point, and I’m setting aside some pennies for the occasion. I’d like to come away with single, fab piece that I wouldn’t otherwise buy – that I can also wear to my new workplace, Lord willing.

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The only rule is don’t be boring and dress cute wherever you go. Life is too short to blend in.  ~  Paris Hilton

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.