There are two kinds of people: those who love to shop, and those who can't stand it.

I've always been in the second category.

So when my daughter-in-law suggested I try an online clothes-shopping service -- and lured me in with a $25 credit for each of us -- I jumped at the chance. Why not?

"It's amazing!" she said. "You tell them your style, answer some questions about your shape, and they send you great stuff that you can send back postage-free if you hate it."

It sounded pretty low-risk, though describing my style gave me pause. I've never figured it out. But not to worry. The service offered five pages of online questions to help me nail down exactly what kind of gal I am. Not just height and weight, but propensities -- toward tight or loose, classic or bohemian, and how much I wanted to flaunt my legs, shoulders and cleavage.

In case words weren't enough, they offered pictures of possibilities and let me rate them on a range of "hate it" to "love it." For example, I hated the gold lame miniskirt and leopard stilettos but thought the black jeans and teal top were "OK."

I took it as a possibly bad sign that I "loved" absolutely nothing they pictured, but went ahead and invited -- more like dared -- them to "send me a fix" and make me love it.

Within days, a box arrived, goodies wrapped in tissue paper as if from a fancy dress shop and accompanied by a note from my "stylist" -- a woman named Alyssa.

In it were -- no surprise -- black jeans. Also, a huge purple paisley scarf and three tops. In case I did not fall in love with all of them, Alyssa invited feedback, so she could get to know me better.

Here's where I spotted a flaw in the system.

Alyssa already knew me so well she chose two items nearly identical to what I already owned: a tunic top and too-big pair of jeans. I nixed the scarf, which was big enough to be a mini-skirt, and a beautifully fitting top that unfortunately had fluorescent-ish embroidery. But she scored -- surprisingly -- with a funky ruffle-sleeved blouse.

Apparently encouraged by my funkier-than-expected style, she sent my next "fix" with a white-lace kimono, above-the-knee "swing" dress, and way-smaller-than-me jeans. I kept only one item, a very tailored shirt, and Alyssa promptly resigned in favor of Karli, who apologized I'd been "unheard."

Karli came along with a slightly longer dress, a maxi skirt, a "cold-shoulder" blouse that showed my bra straps, and a black T-shirt just like one I already own. I acquired another tailored shirt -- gotta admit it was perfect -- and a sudden desire to go shopping.

It's not so much that I love to shop, but now I have something to prove. Like my grandmother, who never saw a store-bought dress she couldn't make better, I'm convinced I can buy something better and cheaper than any online stylist.

And -- oh, yeah -- I wouldn't mind finding one of those above-the-knee swing dresses. I kind of regret sending that back.

Balancing Act author Pat Snyder is a northwest Columbus resident and life-balance speaker and coach. Find her at