Friday, September 25, 2009

identifying the problem

Some of my favorite clothes were found in thrift shops ("Charity shops," for my Irish friends). I love thrift shops, and they seem to love me, based on the amazing number of wonderful finds that have come to live in my closet and take turns going out with me on excursions, draped over my body.

There are not usually a lot of things in my size, but what is there is usually choice. . . . I've often wondered why someone would be getting rid of some of the things I've found, and have started to conclude that perhaps it no longer fits. Thank God I've stayed somewhat trim in this land of large and getting-larger people!

Anyway, that was my conclusion when I snagged a gorgeous red and black houndstooth plaid that looked brand new a few weeks ago at my favorite hospital thrift shop. (Hospital thrifts shops, by the way, are notorious for great clothes - all those doctor's wives. . . .) Granted, it was a petite (and I almost didn't even try it on - but that fabric!) still, the waistband was snug even on me, who normally wears sizes smaller than the stated "10". Well, that's what needle and thread are for - as buttons are easily moveable. The pleated skirt fit fine otherwise, and I got it for a dollar.

I've worn it several times, now. Ironed, it could go to the office, but it's also washable flannel, so I've worn it around the Greenwood, and wiped dirty hands on it, and gathered the last of the tomatoes in it, scooped up in front, the way Nana tells me she used to gather chicks in her apron.

Today dawned overcast and chilly with rain. I found myself resistant to wearing the red flannel skirt, though, and couldn't quite tell why. I thought about it, and realized I'd avoided wearing it several times already, so I put it on purposefully to see if I couldn't find out why. I found out pretty quickly. It's scratchy around the waistband! In five minutes I was irritable. Hmmm. Maybe it's not just a function of moving the button. The skirt is just uncomfortable. That might be the reason the former owner never wore it and eventually got rid of it.

Fellow former lawyer turned writer Gretchen Rubin writes a blog called The Happiness Project (book out in December), and one of her happiness commandments is "Identify the problem." She's right: it's amazing what you can solve once you've identified the problem!

I took the skirt off. Inside the waistband, sewn on with some sort of nylon thread that sticks out and into your skin, was the label. Well, that's what seam rippers are [also] for: trying to take brand labels off clothing without making a hole. Sorry, Eddie Bauer! If you can't afix a label that doesn't make me irritable and chafe my skin, it's coming off! Either the skirt, or the label.

It appears the first owner took the skirt off - and eventually got rid of it.

I just got rid of the label.

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