Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"element" of surprise

Today's LLVS moment: I looked down, did a quick tally, and realized that, as usual, my entire outfit originated from Goodwill. Well, nothing actually originated there...that's the point. I commented to Baby Daddy the other day  (Him: You look nice today. Me: I got everything I'm wearing except my intimate apparel at Goodwill. Him: I'm glad your underwear hasn't been in someone else's buttcrack. Me: It's important to have standards.) that even if we were wealthy I would buy 9/10th of what I wear second-hand. (At my most flush, my shopping destination was still Salvation Army, or Sally's Boutique as my San Francisco fashion icon Denise Laws called it.) Especially if living in a wealthy community, with its couture cast-offs -- a total LLVS bonus. There's nothing like the thrill of the find, especially when the tag color on said find matches the day's 1/2-price sale; the satisfaction of not adding something new to the waste stream; the mystery of why something nearly or brand-new was discarded by its previous owner. Sometimes the answer will never be known and can be chalked up to a change of taste or a need for closet space.

Other times the reason doesn't become apparent until  the item has already been welcomed into one's wardrobe, which certainly adds an element of adventure to the thrifting experience -- like when I scored these tall leather boots in pristine condition for $20, sidestepping (literally) my commitment to not buy leather, fur or wool*, wore them all day then took them off for the first time and my stockings and porch floor were covered with brown flaky bits of the lining. A troublesome but not insurmountable feature, boot dandruff, and worth removing them outside or in reach of a dustbroom. Or when I wore a Banana Republic skirt bought still bearing the original store tags to my new corporate job and, although it had a built-in slip, it clung and bunched up between my legs like a black crepe diaper when I walked (luckily it's a desk job). Or when I detected nothing amiss about a beautiful winter-white cashmere sweater, had it cleaned, then midway through its debut day detected someone else's body odor emitting from its -- my -- pits, which is way worse than smelling your own B.O., which at least is where it belongs: on you.

My local Goodwill is so fancy that I found this recent news item hilarious! I'm still trying to figure out the "element" to whom she's referring...I'd say the primary clientele are either middle-class savvy shoppers or designers and antique dealers who cull the discount racks, then raise the prices 400% for their own nearby shops. Does she mean the elderly male employees who graciously unload donations from the trunks of Audis while the charitable sit behind the wheel with the engine running? The young woman with Down Syndrome who orders shoppers out of the store promptly at closing time like a harried mother way past bedtime, soundly flouting the ever-cheerful stereotype associated with her condition? The mellow, pleasant clerks? Whatever her concern, I am grateful to be among the thrifting riff-raff in our tony community, and to be wearing: JCrew wool trousers that are too spiffy to be called "pants" ($10), a cozy cotton turtleneck sweater with sweet decorative buttons on the collar ($7), brand-new gold matte round-toe high heels that put a little Bob Fosse in my step ($12), and a sassy, coral color wool JCrew swing coat ($25), all of which fit perfectly and haven't revealed any weird surprises in the wearing.

*if new


the ubiquitous mom said...

Will you take me shopping with you post-no.2's arrival? I don't have the eye or patience to sift through racks like that, and could use a seasoned guru to show me how!

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