The House

The House

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Other Womens Clothing

I always liked Easter. My Mom would make each of us new dresses, buy new shoes and sometimes outfits for spring and summer.
Swiss polka dotted sun dresses, t-strap shirts with matching shorts, sandles. It made it exciting, special and because it was spring better somehow than Christmas. When I had my first daughter I would make as much of her clothes as I could. I would buy fabric in the fall and spring and make at least five little outfits, till she decided she liked store bought better around the age of ten, not being a little kid anymore. I have tried to make my own clothes most of my life, but the last few years the fabric
has gotten cheaply made and expensive, the pattern styles not to my liking. When I was a teenager I loved "vintage" clothing. Vintage then was anything from 1900 to 1950. Beaded sweaters, jackets with padded shoulders, rayon blouses (which was exotic to me as everything in the 70's was polyester.) I had no problem scrounging around junk stores for a bit of old victorian underwear or slip, scarves, gloves.
It was my style to have a bit of the past over levis worn out and faded naturally over time. Most of my life I have worn second hand. Goodwill, salvation army are treasure troves. I also began to realize that second hand was/is environmentally sound. The making of clothing, the dyes and chemicals that go into them? If I could afford organic I would, but second hand the clothing is clear of formaldihyde. If they were going to fade or fall apart they would have already.
I fantasize about Clinton and Stacy from What Not To Wear showing up to peruse my closet and finding Goodwill tags. I dare those folks to find fashion at Goodwill. I do all the time. The photo is of five items I found just today. Neon, I am told is the color for the season and
I found some, plus silk. It makes me feel smart and creative to buy other women's clothing. I wonder who it belonged to, why she bought it  and then gave it away in most of the time perfect condition. I know some clothing is given by department stores and manufacturers, there will
be store labels on them or I will find the same blouse in different colors. Apparently blouses and shirts are the most commonly donated.  I have never seen jeans, sweaters or shoes brand new from a designer or store. I have a sweater thing. I love them and have a cupboard full including my own hand made.
In all the years of buying and donating to Goodwill (yes I too, buy new and then decide it wasn't for me) I have only seen one thing I  donated on another woman. We have no clothing stores for women in our tiny town unless you count WallMart (which I don't). We have two consignment stores
and two charities to buy from. An Alco sells levis and nurses stuff. That is it.
No one here is a fashion plate, but I see some interesting creative choices. I have been complimented many times on my outfits and will brag; "everything is goodwill except my underwear!"

As I run my hands over the racks I sometimes get melancholy, wondering who "she" was, is she dead, got  fat, lost weight, decided she was to old for lime green, to young to wear baggy t-shirts over polyester elastic waist pants. I see the other old ladies poking about sometimes I hold
something outrageous or horribly ugly and say; "oh honey, its you!" to giggles and rolling eyes. I wonder what my Mom did with all of her nice outfits she bought over the years. They mostly didn't fit me and I was so happy when I did get hand me downs from Mom. A black, yellow and white dolman sleeve sweater by Dion. The brown plaid circle skirt all of my daughters have worn in turn. A little blue beanie with a tiny cashmere stripe a Nun made for her. I wonder what happened to the lovely negligee Dad bought for her when they were newlyweds. That Red dress and the sleeveless mock turtle neck blouse she wore with panties and high heels when she posed for private cheese cake photos for Dad. Memories are in the clothes I touch, the clothes of other women full of harmonal hatreds and flashes of beauty. Trying to look pleasing or just not be bored with comfortable. The cloth imbued with that little contentment or thrill at seeing it for the first time. Tiny pleasures derived from a favorite color or fabrics luster. The pride in being able to tell silk, linen, cashmere by touch alone. I heard once we dress for other women not men, perhaps but I dress in othere women's clothing to feel a connection on an intimate level, an vicarious affirmation of community. Its spring, go buy a pretty something, feel good about who you are what you do. Merry Ostara Easter Passover.


  1. I had to stop today and read this. I've felt guilty the past few days concerning your previous post "Suspicious in a Hoodie". I wanted to post because for several reasons. My fist impression as I sat down to look at your blog is that somehow you'd found some of Ogden Nash's old private photos. By the time I realized it was a video, it was too late, my imagination had already constructed a scene in which you were one of Ogden Nash's beloved daughters who completely understood him and was the wind beneath his wings. He kept relatively silent about your existence so as to allow you to develop your own persona at your own pace. Fantastic pictures came into my head of how it must have been to live in that world. Then it dawned on me that there was bar beneath the photo that demanded: "PLAY".
    So I did.
    I loved the illustration that you made with the video. It makes quite an impression.
    I have to come back later with a comment for this entry as I adore the sentiments in it and can completely relate. At the moment, I have to confess that the heat of this day has absorbed all of the energy I thought I had reserved for tonight's mental Olympics on the Internet. I find as I get older, though, that tired is a phenomenon that comes unannounced. It slithers into my bones and up the spinal column and into the brain where it demands "Sleep, or you will be forced to meet the floor with the force of a blood-thirsty tyrant". And so I submit to tired, reluctantly. But I'll be back.

    1. thanks for the compliment, Nash's daughter that made me laugh. not unlike being Da Vinci's secret daughter? lol.
      I could blame waves of fatigue on old age, but I have been this way all my life, I could fight it better when I was younger. I find watching my bio-rythms very useful. I used to poo-poo them until I got the google gadget for it just for fun and who knew? I plan things around my ups and downs and it has helped. And doing P90X has helped. (damn sound like a commercial for google and tony horton)

      As to the video sure a white old lady putzing around for her jewelry but I had hoped to show our initial reactions. I am not the first to use this bit of theatre. Now maybe I should do one about unwarranted strip searches. would that be a hoot?!