Today I overheard some coworkers discussing various clothing hang-ups. They don't like to buy clothes that don't fit a certain way, for example, on the shoulders or the waist. Or perhaps they prefer a specific type or style of clothing. For some, it's even as specific as wanting to shop at a particular department store, boutique, or name brand.
I was tempted to shared my clothing hang-up, but it didn't seem parallel with the other hang-ups.
My clothing hang-up, lately, is -- does it cost more than free?
In my early 20s, I enjoyed clothes shopping and did not blink an eye at a $30 price tag on a shirt, or a $50 price tag on a nice pair of pants or skirt. For a dress, $75-$100 was acceptable. I wanted to look a particular way, with clothes that I believed would make me feel confident and happy. In my late 20s, I discovered thrift stores. My standards dropped a bit, but I would still routinely pay $5-10 per item for every article of clothing I desired.
Many of these items of clothing that I purchased, I either out-grew, or grew to dislike. Thousands of dollars of clothing gone to waste. A shallow and pointless investment. Nothing to show for it, except a few compliments here and there. And much like getting scratches on a car, I'd be mortified when I accidentally stained them or shrunk them. Eventually, many of these purchased clothes ended up going to Goodwill, little sister, or...the clothing swap.
The glorious clothing swap, the most ingenious way to clean out your closet of unwearable items, acquire new articles of clothing (what's old to you is new to me!), and have an excuse to indulge in a bit of feminine socializing in the comfort of a home. (I'm getting too old for dressing up and going to the bars.) And the host of the party is generally responsible for delivering all the leftovers to a charity.
Three clothing swaps later, I've disowned three piles of clothing, and acquired some of the fashion pieces I wear the most and actually have received the most compliments for. Some of these items, of course, I grew tired of quickly, and they made their way to another clothing swap or given away to the needy. But there's absolutely no shame in getting rid of a shirt, even if it's a brand name, that you never paid for. At this time, I have 3 skirts, 9 shirts, and 2 pairs of shoes that I frequently wear from my clothing swap finds. I also have 2 skirts, 6 shirts, 2 dresses, and 4 pairs of jeans given to me by friends cleaning out their closets.
My wardrobe is gradually being replaced entirely by recycled fashion. True, these clothes don't necessarily make up the exact or ideal outfit I would have dreamed up to wear, but really, in the end, it's just an outfit. I am still tempted by the charming retro-imitation fashion on websites like Modcloth.com or Daddyos.com. But ultimately, my clothing swap outfits are free, fun and stylish in their own random way, and guiltless. And best of all, I can wear them to Europe with all the money I saved up!
p.s. freelance business progress today: met with current restaurant client, wrote copy for current web business client.