Friday, September 3, 2010

Clothes - Thrifty and Happy

Last night I had a bit of extra time and wandered into a local thrift store -- what a treasure trove of delights! I went straight to the men's department to look for Hawaiian shirts. I would rather buy a Hawaiian shirt that has mysterious memories integrated into it, than a new one any day. My first find was a blue cotton shirt with palm trees all over it. But wait, it gets even better -- those palm trees have shadows of palm trees on them! The palm tree is one of my favorite trees ever! I know that when I am in a part of the country that has palm trees, I am going to have a really great time! My second find, which I am wearing right now, was a bright and friendly plaid shirt with a label that reads, "Escape the Ordinary". Then I found a navy Hawaiian shirt that has hot pink flowers all over -- irresistible. My last discovery was a beautiful green and tan flowered Hawaiian shirt in cotton that fit just perfectly. Off to the pants section for a pair of khaki pants and a pair of light blue pants -- both in brand names I already have in my closet and for which I paid full price. The total bill for my extravagant shopping spree? $11.68 -- Hooray!

I have always loved shopping in thrift stores. Of course, I donate to them, too. In these days of "green" thinking, it makes sense to recycle our clothes. I value my own clothes more and more as the years go by for the memories that they hold. I don't even mind paying a high price for something I know I will wear many times. I figure a price per wear factor. If I pay $50.00 for something and wear it 100 times, then it only costs me 50¢ per wear. But if I pay $20.00 for something and only wear it twice, then it costs $10.00 per wear. So, on occasion, I do love to have a little fun at a Chico's or a Coldwater Creek, but generally I laugh in the face of fashion -- which is another way of saying I haven't a clue! If I am ever in style, if only with an accessory, it is just an accident!

I saw a neighbor at a concert once, and she said, "I am wearing my friends!" Then she showed me different items of clothing and jewelry that belonged to her friends or were given to her by them so they could be "present" for the experience of Arlo Guthrie in concert. I wear different clothing and items that remind me of people I love -- a necklace from my sister Barbara, a ring of my mother's always and then supplement with other sentimental items frequently. I have a shawl that belonged to my sister, and whenever I wear it, I feel comfort and loving memories.

Whether we find our clothes in a thrift store or in a high end fashion boutique, they make a statement about who we are. I guess that people must be confused when they look at me, if they try to figure out who I am by my clothes, though! I mix my clothes -- old, new, thrift, bargain, sale, high end -- my goal is comfort and fun whenever possible. I have a dear friend who might be the very best dresser I know. She is a thrift store wizard! When I see her, I have to pause to check out whatever outfit she might have put together for that day. She doesn't just get ordinary clothes at thrift stores -- she mixes, matches, accessorizes, and discovers unusual uses for her fashion finds. Her artistic inclinations shine in the way she dresses. She is performance art in action!

I read an article a long time ago that said if you are thinking something nice about someone, you might as well say it, so I love to compliment people on their clothes. Sometimes they even give me interesting stories in response. The most miraculous thing that happened to me was when I was working at Borders Books and Music at the cash register. I complimented a man on his shirt and he complimented me on my Hawaiian shirt. I told him that I sort of collected them. He told me that he went to Hawaii on a regular basis and kept buying Hawaiian shirts that he never wore and would I like them? I tried to turn him down, but two hours later, he turned up with a huge bag stuffed with Hawaiian shirts! Wow and wowee! You can bet I think of him every time I wear one of them.

I end in gratitude for every piece of clothing I have ever been privileged to wear - from the clothes I wore home from the hospital when I was a baby to the thrift store outfit I am happily wearing today!

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