Thrift Stores to the Rescue
Sunday, October 06, 2019
This week I put on a corduroy jacket I haven't worn in a while. I looked at myself in our bedroom's full-length mirror and thought, "I look like a little boy trying on his father's clothes." Another jacket bites the dust: it had gone from too snug to wear all the way to too baggy to wear.
I've blogged about my long-term dysfunctional relationship with my clothes closet before, but here I go again. When I was gaining weight and clothes became too small to wear I just put them back in my closet with the promise to myself that I was going to loose the weight and the clothes would fit once again. I was totally ignoring the reality that by the time I lost the weight the clothes would no longer be in style. I will admit that for one brief moment in the 70s (long before you were born dears) I owned a paisley nehru jacket with a medallion. Google it if you are in need of a laugh.
Over time my closet became an archeological site recording for future scientists how much I weighed during various eras of my life. And as I grew, my clothing options shrank. Towards my heaviest weight I only had a few stretchy, shapeless items that I could wear. The worst thing that could happen to me - as I have blogged before - was to be invited to something like a wedding where I had to dress up. I would avoid facing the reality that I had nothing presentable that would fit until the morning of the event. I would be filled with panic (I can't go to a wedding naked), desperation (maybe I can make a fashion statement with trash bags and duct tape), but most of all shame and self-loathing (which has never been a good look for me).
As I mentioned last week, currently I am down 45 pounds from last spring and down about 80 pounds from my all-time high. Previously I blogged about what a wonderful feeling it was to be able to go my closet and find that everything fit. Now, however, I am finding that less and less fits because the rest is simply too big to wear. This is a novel experience for me.
You might think that a shopping spree for new clothes would be a good way to reward myself for the hard work I have put in. But here's the thing - I've still got another 60 pounds to loose before I reach my goal. I can't afford to completely replace my wardrobe every time I drop another 20 pounds.
Thrift stores to the rescue. As I'm getting smaller a lot of the country is getting bigger. And since many people are not as delusional as I was, they move their too small clothes out of their closets and into thrift stores. You have to be willing to sift through a lot of chaff to find the wheat, but there are some real finds in thrift stores.
But in the meantime I'm wearing a jacket and tie or a suit to work every day, even though - as a professor - I don't have to. My dean nods at me approvingly because she thinks I'm trying to look more professional, but the truth is I'm just cheap. Those jackets and suits were expensive and I want to get some use out of them while I still can.
Which brings me to my final rant of the day. What about alterations? I don't have the skills myself. And this leads me to a question I have for you: If you live in the USA, do you have a tailor or seamstress in your neighborhood? How about a cobbler? When I was a kid we had both in my little town of 1,000 people. But in one lifetime corporations have been successful into turning us into a disposable economy where we don't repair things, we just buy new stuff. That's good for their bottom lines, but bad for the environment and our wallets.
Fortunately for me, I married a Russian. Because when Russians aren't rigging our elections, they are fixing things. In Russia there is a tailor shop in every community, practically on every block. A while ago, I had the zipper break on an expensive hiking jacket I owned. I took it to a tailor shop here in New Hampshire (we still have one for a community of 30,000; the cobbler went bankrupt about a decade ago) and was told that they didn't do zippers. So I took it to Russia the next time we visited the in-laws and it was fixed and back to me in 24 hours.
So if Nehru jackets, zoot suits, and other fashion blunders ever come back in style, I'm all set. Until then look for me to be resplendent in my nearly new threads.
Spark on, friends.