Lent, Day 12: Thrift Store Shoppin’

March 8, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Okay, so Michelle (and her friend Lisa) made good on their threat to get me out to the Thrift Store and teach me the sacred art of Thrift Shopping.   This is, admittedly, an approach to wardrobe developent which I had not given an adequate shake before, but it’s clearly the ideal situation in cases like mine, where I’m apparently switching sizes every couple of weeks.

I really have nothing against Thrift Stores, to be honest.  I have made a couple of forays into our local Goodwill store, even.  I just found the experience to be overwhelming.   There’s SO MUCH clothing to look through, and they’re not necessarily organized in any particular way.   They’re usually on racks of a given size range and clothing type, but beyond that you’re on your own.   It’s a matter of sorting through, checking tags and making guesses, and then the one thing I dread most — trying things on and seeing how they look.

See, when I shop for clothes, I tend to try to make it as quick and painless as possible.  I haven’t seen the inside of a changing room since I was, like, 17.   Since then I’ve been a ‘check the size and hope for the best’ kind of shopper.   This has, of course, led to some unfortunate choices and occasional wastings of money, but I think in my mind, if I’m going to feel humiliated because something doesn’t fit, I’d rather feel humiliated at home than in the store… Although why this makes sense to me I’m not sure.

But Michelle and Lisa were determined.  I arrived at the store they directed me to after a couple of near-misses, and I was directed to the mostly-appropriately-sized (well okay, actually a little smaller) rack and instructed to go through and pick out any shirts that looked like something I’d wear.  I was told to ignore sizes and tags; just grab and go.   Uh..okay.

It took me a little while to warm up to the process there.  Ignore sizes and tags?  Are you kidding?  Sizes and tags are the beacons by which I guide myself when I’m shopping for clothes.  They are soft, soothing voices of reassurance.  “Yes, you can put this on without worrying about splitting seams.  And you’ll be able to get it back off without having to contort yourself like a circus performer.  It’s okay.”   But I gave in and did my best, and meanwhile they also picked out things for me to try on.   That was good, because both Michelle and Lisa are more fashionably daring than I am; left to my own devices, I’d have selected nothing but knit shirts in solid colors, probably.

So anyway, then it was off to the changing room.  There were all of these daunting signs all over it, hand-lettered, yellowed and mostly torn up that threatened consequences more dire than death if we A) took more than three minutes, B) tried to try on more than three items, or C) — God forbid — left hangers in the changing room.   The efficacy of these threats was underscored greatly by the four or five hangers that were already lying under the chair in there when I arrived.  Lisa and Michelle also assured me that there was no danger and pushed me into the curtain with an armload of slacks ranging in size from 14-16.

From there it was put on, look, take off, put on, look, take off, put on, ask opinions, take off.  I learned much during this exercise, actually.  For example, I learned that if the pants are too short, nothing short of a willingness to turn them into capris makes them worth buying.  I also learned that a hook in a changing room (which was sadly lacking in this case) is a Very Important Thing.  Ergo, I guess, one who aspires to Thrift Shopping often should prepare oneself with some of those removeable suction cup-style hooks so as not to be tripping all over one’s clothing and potential purchases.   I also learned — or remembered, anyway — why I have avoided changing rooms for so long.  Mirrors tell no lies, cloud no realities.  I’ve lost a lot of weight, sure, but wow..there’s a LOT of pudge left on me. -_-

Despite the latter, the whole experience was pretty positive.  It was gratifying just how much of what they picked out not only fit me, but even looked GOOD on me.   By the time we finished, I had literally an entire cart full of ‘Yes’ clothes, and there were enough of them that I could easily dump every oversized thing in my closet and get by just fine.  And the best part?  Apparently on Sundays, this particular Thrift Store marks everything down by half.  The whole purchase — I’ve not actually taken the time to count, but it was enough to fill a large garbage bag — cost about $56.   Not bad.

That was quite an experience.  I can’t wait to take it all back and buy the next batch when I drop another size. 😉


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