Monday Musings- Shopping For Your Personality

Happy Monday ladies. I have a bit of an obsession with books. I came by it naturally. Growing up, my Dad had half-read, opened books draped over the back of the couch, stacked on the end tables, towering on the carpet next to his chair and covering the coffee table. My mom on the other hand, never read. Oh, I’m sure she read something, but I never witnessed it. She was a doer, not a reader. I love to do both but if forced to choose one, it would be reading.

Here are a few things on my mind this week:

The Enneagram

Have you heard of the enneagram? I’m sort of obsessed with it lately. The enneagram is an ancient system of personality typing that illustrates how people see the world and manage their emotions. It helps you understand how you operate so you can make changes and grow.

road back to you
The Road Back To You

I’ve always been fascinated by the enneagram and have been taking online tests for years. I’m still not sure what number I am because I have characteristics from so many of them. I just finished listening to this book on audible and I loved it with a capital L. This guy is very funny and his characterizations have gone a long way to help me nail down my type.

My copy of this book is dog eared and highlighted everywhere from years of use.

“The ancient symbol of the Enneagram has become one of today’s most popular systems for self-understanding, based on nine distinct personality types. Now, two of the world’s foremost Enneagram authorities introduce a powerful new way to use the Enneagram as a tool for personal transformation and development.”

                                                            -Don Richard Riso and Ross Hudson


I just ordered the honest ennegram book

Last week I spotted this book which looks kind of fun… Can you tell I am a self-improvement addict? Does that mean I am a #1?


My trip to the newly opened mall last week was a sad and depressing experience. I’d mistakenly thought it would be fun to shop in person. Wrong. The joy has gone out of that for now and possibly for a very long time…if not permanently. The stores I saw haven’t been getting deliveries and employees haven’t been able to work to stock the shelves. They’re doing what they can, but if you want or need anything new, don’t plan to wait for the stores to open in your area. You may be very disappointed. image of shopping mall The best selections have always been online and this is true now, more than ever. For those of us who feel the need to try garments on before we buy, that may be a thing of the past. Many merchants are closing their lower producing stores to try to stay in business which usually means suburban ones. The retail landscape as we knew it may never recover. That’s not altogether bad because we were saturated with stores that were all selling similar merchandise. We were due for an adjustment but I wish it had happened in an easier way.

Comfortable shoes

My post last week on looking chic in flat shoes brought many wonderful suggestions from you, my brilliant readers. It seems many of you are in the same boat as I am with feet that need extra care and support. Here’s a recap of some brands you suggested for comfortable shoes that are stylish or the very least not ugly:)

ECCO– I love this brand and have several pairs. They have wide toe boxes

 Munro– these can be pricey but available in varying widths and very comfy.

Vionic– I don’t have this brand but many of you do and rave about them.

Clarks– I do have several pairs and love them.

Reiker– I had a pair of their boots many years ago and love them.

TrottersEasy SpiritNaotSkechersNaturalizerRockportCork-EaseDansko – and of course Birkenstock.

Several asked about how to wear flat shoes with a skirt or dress so I have an upcoming post with some ideas for you.

What’s on your agenda this week?

Be well and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.


  1. I grew up in a reading family, and have always read several books a week. I am never bored if I have access to books or an e reader. I have done many personality type tests over the years, particularly when working, But I have not heard of Enneagram before, so off to google and try it!
    Here in Australia we have a brand of shoes called Frankie4, which were developed by foot professionals. Very popular with the over 40’s. I love their boots and flat shoes, but not the high heeled ones I have tried. I don’t know if they ship overseas.

  2. I am liking my Grasshoppers espadrilles, for affordable comfort and style.

  3. I came to your blog for fashion news, and I’m so happily surprised to find you and a community who love books. (warms my teacher heart) My mom taught in a one room schoolhouse, grades 1 through 8, and passed her love of books to all. At age 80, she memorized Longfellow’s Hiawatha, and recited it to me, her audience of one.

    Be safe, fellow travelers, next purchase may have to be a wig?!

  4. I don’t like those “tests” that label people. Why do we all need to be nicely filed in a category?

    1. When using those instruments it’s important to remember that they are just a clue to how you interact with the world. They are not intended to put you in a box.

    2. Katherine Cramer says:

      The Enneagram is not intended as a way to label people. Each person chooses their own type number after studying the whole system. It took me months of study, classes, panels of types and testing to decide my personality type. Ideally a person can go to gatherings (back before shelter-at-home) and hear different people speak about how they move through the world as a Type One or a Type Nine etc. It is very enlightening to hear people describe how they are like the Personality Type they have chosen and in the ways that they are not. We are Individuals yet we often act and react in ways that have been distilled into nine Enneagram types with influences from ‘wing’ types and our possible unhealthy ways of being. I’ve enjoyed studying the Enneagram and it’s wisdom helps me many days to embrace Empathy and Self-Compassion.

  5. annie vanderven says:

    still on lockdown in ct who knows for how long. Was in the fashion industry many moons ago and now get my fix watching the fashion shows on youtube, I feel the shows may be a thing of the past although have heard they may be limited to 2 a year….

    Retail was already in difficulty before the virus, so no surprise there.

    Thank you very much for all the efforts you put in your mails it is very much appreciated.

  6. I’m in no rush to go out to stores, especially now. I understand the reasoning behind closing fitting rooms, but that would be a big deterrent to me. I might as well shop from home and have it delivered. Yes, returns can be a pain, but if I have to wait to try something on until I get home, there will doubtless be returns then as well. Another trip back to the store. No thanks.

  7. I had not heard of Enneagram before so I just googled it on line and found a site Trusty.com which has a 10 minute free test online. I’ve taken the test and found out my number. Very interesting!

    1. Katherine Cramer says:

      Sharon, I’d keep being curious about the Enneagram and all the nine types. An Enneagram test is not the end-all in your search to know more about how you might use the Enneagram as a base of insights. Just as someone can’t ‘type’ you (like the results of a text)–only you can name what type you may be. The more you learn–the more you may know your test result feels like a good fit or you also learn by staying open enough to all the types and how they also fit in some way with you.

  8. Vickie Swenson says:

    I’ve been following a Well Styled Life for a while and really enjoy the blog itself and the comments. So much common sense and inspiration!

    I’m in Minneapolis and just heartbroken about everything that has happened here and across America.

    I agree that it’s hard to purchase clothing on line. Regarding comfy shoes – I love Grasshoppers. I wear the navy sneakers. I work in jeans and a polo shirt, so these sneakers work well. I order a new pair every spring and they never disappoint. Just received a compliment on them last week.

  9. The enneagram is very intriguing. I immediately knew my number. What I find fascinating is how did this originate? No one person can know all the attributes, idiosyncrasies and personality of eight other types. One can only know oneself. The detail is incredible. As far as shopping, I haven’t been out since March 11th except for a haircut. Hubby does grocery shopping. We get drive-thru lunch twice a week. Online clothes shopping is pretty much a fail. And shoes…forget it. I read that many stores did not put in orders for fall and winter merchandise. We are in a mess, ladies. The good news is it’s summer!

  10. The mall in my small city was empty before the pandemic. My online shopping (for clothes) has been a total bust. Weird fits. Poor quality. I am shopping my closet for now.

  11. I know the blog is meant as a Pandemic escape at the moment and I appreciate that. But today my heart is broken and I need to try to put it in words.

    The protests and the looting, burning and destruction that followed have left our malls in chaos. Also shops, restaurants and stores not in the malls experienced the same level of chaos.

    My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and the other victims. There is a real need for protests but not the destruction that follows. The message is lost in the destruction.

    1. I totally agree. Well stated! Prayers needed for our country!

    2. Elizabeth says:

      It is horrible that property is being destroyed, but killing innocent black men has to stop.

  12. Jennifer, I had no idea you were such a reader!
    I am seriously addicted and read 4 to 5 books a week.
    Try to alternate 1 fiction with one non fiction,
    My dad also was the serious reader in my house.
    Tho I have not been to the mall ( compromised
    immune system) I have heard the same from
    others. It does not mean that you and others
    do not understand the plight and hardship
    of retail stores and especially their workers!
    It just means that it was a depressing experience and who knows if it will ever be the
    I am relatively new to your posts but really
    enjoy them and as a former therapist and
    someone who has two sons that are therapists
    ( yikes it gets interesting sometimes!), I find
    you warm, non judgemental, open, authentic,
    non pretentious and oh yes! FUN.

  13. Linda Henderson says:

    I love bookstores and your photo at the start of this post interested me. Where is this bookshop? Also, I am sorry your mall experience was disappointing. I love going into a store and shopping. Let’s hope things get better. Online shopping just isn’t as satisfying for me. Thank you for the book info.

  14. I’m sorry that you were disappointed in your ‘finally getting to shop’ experience. However, I think we all have remember that retail stores were flat on their backs for two months and counting…….and just like a person recovering from being down so long, it takes time to regain the full potential. After all, you don’t go from flat on your back for weeks to lifting double your weight and running a marathon.
    Yes, I agree there were too many stores selling the same-ish merchandise. I was so glad to see over the last year or so that Talbot’s reverted back to it’s real strength with the more classic, rather than being flow-ey and statement making like so many of Soft Surroundings and Chico’s offerings.
    No one store can, nor should it try to be, all things to all people. Maybe this will be a time for reassessing target buyers and readjusting, but I don’t think we should write it off yet. We can be a fickle people and our leisure industries and retail industries usually come in for a major hit when the popularity and/or style changes. And the changes and whims happen more quickly than before when trends took longer to develop and longer to change. We all like to say that we are not that influenced by the current trends and styles, but we are forced to be when some of our staples are no longer available. (Have you looked for lined wool slacks lately? Or much wool, period that’s not a cashmere sweater?)

    A large piece of shopping in the store is the person to person contact and the exchange of information and pleasantries. By and large retail staff are pleasers and love to see you whether you purchase from them that day or not. It’s the atmosphere and the personal that can’t be replicated on line and are the real strengths of the store in the mall or down the block. If they don’t have the product in the store they are happy to order it for you and have it sent to your home. It’s also a joy to see other shoppers and see what makes them happy or how they style things.

    Sorry I ran on so……….

  15. Gail Mann says:

    I have been wanting to dive into the Enneagram for some time. Years ago, I studied the Myers-Briggs temperament classifications and learned tons about myself and validated a lot too. Have heard that the Enneagram goes even further. It’s empowering to know why I do what I do. Thanks for today’s post.

  16. I love love love the enneagram. We got into it years ago. I even taught a course at our church…as a lay person because I am no expert. A couple things…women are socialized to be a 2 so keep that in mind that you will have lots of 2 tendencies even if not a 2. Sometimes friends can answer the questions about you better than you. It has been my experience that when reading the numbers, the one that you get a gut feeling and are embarrassed to tell people what number, there is a good possibility that is your number. My husband used Helen Palmers the enneagram in love and work to help with his employees. You are not to type other people because it is based on motivation, not actions, but he would take a guess at what number he thought they were, then go to the chapter that described the 2 numbers at work. If he guessed right, the chapter sounded like his relationship with the employee. He then would read up on the employees number and find out how to better motivate and work with him. Enjoy your journey into this very ancient system!

  17. I have been wanting to dive into the Enneagram for some time. Years ago, I studied the Myers-Briggs temperament classifications and learned tons about myself and validated a lot too. Have heard that the Enneagram goes even further. It’s empowering to know why I do what I do. Thanks for today’s post.

  18. I am also obsessed with books. This is one I haven’t heard about so am really looking forward to purchasing it. I don’t seem to have much luck shopping on line. I hate returning things. Weirdly I have pretty good luck with shoes. I wish women’s sizing was more reliable, you just never really know what size you need. Men seem to have it easier in that respect. My husband orders everything and it always fit!

  19. Jennifer,
    Agree on the enneagram studies. We’ve seen Richard Rohr and Russ Hudson at a workshop years ago! Working through this has been life changing for hubby and me and in our understanding of our children! It can be painful to do the self discovery but it is ultimately .y
    such a wonderful journey!
    Ive read a gazillion books during this quarantine! Thank god for our wonderful digital library! A tough read but so engrossing is American Dirt! I’m just now joining, virtually, my daughter in law’s book club and reading old novels(!New to them)….
    My Sister Rachel! And The Thornbirds! Such fun since I read them about 50 years ago first time!

  20. Concerning the shop malls…same here in Spain. Depressing

  21. Your mall experience sounds so discouraging…and I was wondering how many of the stores would just have the leftover stock from the date they closed. Yikes. We have limited opening here (with a small number of customers at a time), so I haven’t bothered to go out yet.

    My online experiences have been mixed. Returns are a pain without being able to return to my local stores, and the refunds take forever, so I’ve only purchased three tops and returned two. 🙁 But I do have great luck shopping with Zappos for shoe brands I know – their service is great and refunds are quick. Nordstrom has been pretty good, too, but really only for things I pretty much know will work.

    We are closing on the sale of our house this week and moving in a few weeks. Packing books has been my greatest challenge…I don’t want to part with any of them. But we have SO many and I know I won’t read many of them again, since there are always so many new books I want to read. I’m saving a few bags of them for our local indy bookstore to reopen their used buy/sell section. Even our library has stopped taking book donations, so there are limited options on what to do with them. Hoping things level out a bit this summer.

  22. Our local Mall was struggling before Covid19. I haven’t ventured out to the local shops with the exception of a drug or grocery store. I agree that online shopping is very difficult when purchasing shoes, jeans and so many other items. The color, the weight and texture of the fabric are all important. And now, every year there seems to be changes/shifts in my shape/weight that make it necessary to try on clothing. Yikes!! I am not a certain size anymore! Hopefully some of our favorite stores will survive.
    The enneagram test will say that I am an eternal optimist!! 😂

  23. I have ordered quite a bit online these last few months. It is fun but can be frustrating. Two button down blouses from same design but different fabric. Love both but one is way too big.
    Mostly I won’t order shoes anymore unless it is a brand or style I have worn before. I have a bag in my garage of orders I was waiting for the local store to open to return, but now I am waiting to feel safe enough to return! The stores around here looked packed and I heard the lines were long!

  24. I have never heard the word “enneagram”. I think I will look it up and learn something today…thanks.

  25. I love books and have a library of about 300 in the study. Pulp fiction paperbacks I donate to the local church for their charity shop, but there are so many I cannot bear to part with as I like to read them again. Our shops have re-opened and seem to have their new winter stock in and they are certainly busy. The way things are going in America, you will be lucky to have any shops left once the rioters have finished. Stay safe.

  26. Gail Schwartz says:

    I simply cannot buy shoes on line, and at 72 I am afraid to go to a mall. I find grocery shopping scary but it must be done. I hope things will return to normal when the vaccine comes out

    1. Josephine Riddle says:

      I am a confirmed bibliophile with a dedicated home library but still have bookcases in nearly every room and stacks of books by my bed, on the kitchen counter, and in the familyroom!! So, I was unable to focus on anything but the rolling book display piece on your cover photo! Any idea where that can be obtained? A link to purchase, perhaps??

      1. Ha, I thought the same thing!! My first thought, what a gorgeous sitting room!!! Looks like a book shop however.

  27. I agree, I was so looking forward to getting back in the stores but the experience has changed. No try ones, very little selection after the first few days. I am hoping things get back to normal but unfortunately this means a “ new normal”. Thank you for your post it put what I am feeling into words.

  28. I’m not familiar with Enneagram. It looks really interesting!

    I am dismayed to hear about your in-store shopping experience. On-line shopping works for many things but I find it very difficult to shop online for clothing and shoes with my body shape (pear/pants) and feet (bunions, etc.) Shipping and returns aren’t always easy/convenient either (Canada/rural). I will be shopping in store where I can, especially with small business owners.

  29. Paulette Levy says:

    I have the same complaint on online shopping —the colors—ur fabrics and most things go back or just not worn still have tags on them. I guess I’m an old fashioned buyer, must feel the fabric and see the color and try on for fit.
    I’ll have to wait fir new shipments I think!
    Now books I can get online—no returns!

  30. Jennifer I totally agree with you that the fun has gone out of in person shopping and the face of retail will change. Even going into the grocery store now is a chore I dread rather than enjoy. I miss chatting with the produce guy and the cashiers. Everyone is so serious now.
    Can we talk about online shopping? My biggest complaint is getting the colours accurate. A few times now I’ve ordered what looked like a royal or cobalt blue to receive what was actually a warm teal blue! I wish there was a way retailers could portray the colours accurately on screen or use another method such as referencing the Pantone equivalent of the colour. Or maybe I’m just too picky LOL.

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