Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I was criticised

yesterday. There is nothing new in that. I am often criticised. No doubt I deserve it. This time it was about clothes.
I am not too bothered about clothes. I work from home. There is no need to "dress up". I like to be clean. I like to be tidy. I think that is sufficient.
I do not own a skirt (apart from my kilt) but I do own a sari (worn once to the wedding of a Hindu friend - at her family's request). I do not own a dress. I do not need these things.
If I do need something like this I can do something about it. I can go to the local charity shop or, for something a little better, I can go to the shop which recycles designer clothing.
I have found new clothing, complete with shop tags in the charity shop. I have a shirt from the designer clothing shop. (It was on a rack outside the shop and caught my eye as I pedalled past.) The shirt was being sold for $5 because it was "last year's". It had been worn once and the woman who had bought it had decided she did not like it. She told me that herself. A neighbour changed the buttons to something less glitzy and I have been wearing it for six years. She put the old buttons on to something that her daughter wanted. Both of us are better off.
My favourite pedalling jacket cost me the excessive sum of $2. It is denim. It buttons on the "wrong side". It is comfortable. It is sturdy. It had been worn but not overly worn. The owner had no doubt grown out of it. I grew into it very comfortably.
I might be the eldest but I almost never had new clothes. Clothing was passed around back then. As a small child my winter coats came from a family with two girls older than me. They wore them. I wore it. It went back to their third daughter and was then returned to my two younger sisters. If there was any wear left in it my mother would pass it on.
The single exception was the coat my mother made me when she was learning Dressmaking III and the material for that was cut from an old coat which had belonged to an adult.
The person who criticised me is appalled at the idea of buying clothes in charity shops. The idea of wearing something that someone else has worn shocks her. She was an only child and never had "hand-me downs". I should not, she told me, buy from charity shops. I did not know who had worn the clothes before me.
No, I do not know who has worn the clothes before me. I just wash them thoroughly before I use them. There are things I would not buy - such as underwear - but the charity shop does not sell those things.
Having cast another critical eye over my clothing the person who was criticising said, "Well, if you won't take advice from me you should talk to "X". She always looks smart."
Rather than argue I agreed that "X" always looks smart and I might talk to her sometime. When she had gone I smiled to myself. "X" does look smart when she is out. At home she dresses much the same way as I do. "X" also shops at the charity shop.


Sheep Rustler said...

Today I am wearing an Australian designer trenchcoat - bought slightly worn from an op shop for $25, which is somewhat more than I usually spend in an op shop but for such a nice, practical coat is well worth it as it will last for years. I LOVE op shops!

jeanfromcornwall said...

Cat I love you: you are describing the way I have lived and reared my three children! Yes there were new clothes, but they were mostly home made - frequently from old clothes. Or the fabric came from charity shops. We belonged to a branch of The Great Clothing Exchange" and I enjoyed thinking of the parcels winging their ways - some of ours came from friends in Denmark even.

I could afford to shop in regular shops these days, but somehow I can never see anything I like enough to pay full price for, so I am still cutting and stitching and adapting.

Sarah Pearson said...

As the recession bites, there are more and more people like us and less and less who think like your acquaintance.

JO said...

Wear what you like!! One of my daughters is fab at charity shops; I'm rubbish at it. Another loves extraordinary shoes but her hair is a mess. We all do things our own way - and have no right to criticise each other.

widdershins said...

Gasp! ... There's such a thing as 'second-hand-clothes-cooties?'

What a wonderful set of experiences this person is missing out on!

On the other hand she is contributing to the food-chain. I bet she doesn't wear her clothes until they're worn out!