May 23rd, 2022
Guess what I did yesterday? I went shopping! For Clothes! AND (even better) I found some :) YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!
I love the fun prints, the happy colours and the light weight fabrics. All of them are summery, loose, airy, comfy and, the biggest surprise of all. Every dang one of them has buttons down the front! WHAT?
If you recall, it was not at all long ago that I wrote a piece on how I only owned two button up shirts, one long sleeved and one itchy. That, for whatever reason, I could never find any that fit properly. There was always a gap between the buttons. Or they were miles too big and it looked like I was wearing someone else's clothes. complain complain complain...whine whine whine. Geez.
As it turns out, I was shopping in the wrong stores.
The initial shopping attempt was at Beall's. (similar to Kohl's) There were two tops that were close...but not really close enough.... to a proper fit. Dang. That was disappointing. Next try was looking in a few shops on the Avenue. Excuse me, Venice Avenue, which is the core of our downtown shopping area. It's filled with adorable boutique's and restaurants and other wonderful shops of the cutest and usually rather unique things. It's a great place for Gift shopping but I've only ever once purchased anything for myself on that street. It was a tie-dyed hoodie and I still have it and wear it and it was only ten bucks. Sooo awesome job there, Sam.
Anyway, one day as I was checking out the shops via their windows displays, I saw in one window a very cute top that happened to be button front so I strolled on inside to check it out. It was cotton, which is perfect for hot summers; it was machine washable, which is an absolute requisite; and it was my size! huzzah! I took it off the rack and scanned the store for the dressing room. Then I happened to catch a glimpse of the price tag. I took a second look. One Hundred and Twenty-Five dollars. For a shirt. Cotton, thread and buttons. $125.00. Seriously? I laughed and laughed, hung it back on the rack and walked out of the store. Geez!
Now let's keep in mind here that other than some desperately needed underwear, I haven't shopping for clothes in more than 3 years. I do laundry twice a week. On really hot, sweaty, dirty days (like yard work days or hiking days) I even change clothes after a mid-day shower. Between hard wearing and lots of laundering, our clothes really get a workout. I need clothes that will stand up to abuse. There is no point in spending money on flimsily made garments that will be consigned to the rag pile or thrown out after only a few months. Nope. I expect my clothes to last. But even the best made stuff only lasts so long and some of mine were starting to look a little worse for the wear. Especially my favourites. Of course! Those things get worn the most!
BUT I am absolutely not spending $125 on one shirt. That is laughable. (which is why I did) So on Saturday we went to the mall in Sarasota. The UTC Mall to be specific. The one that used to be referred to as the "fancy" mall. Probably I called it that because it's new and shiny and maintained beautifully. Also it does have some higher end stores in it. Since I delight in shopping on sale and clearance racks, the higher end sales price didn't worry me. I have found many amazing deals in really nice stores at sales. Not this time.
I did find a few things that I would have tried on except that even at the sale price, things were kind of stupid expensive. How does a cotton top, at 40% off, still be $60 ? I mean it is a vast improvement on the $125 I saw on the avenue but really? Sixty dollars? Sorry I just cannot do it. Not for everyday wear. These are not clothes that I will be wearing as I have tea with the Queen. These are the things I will be wearing as I scrub toilets and grocery shop and do the noonwalk and make cookies. These are clothes that will be at some point covered with flour, smell like furniture polish (just from proximity) and salt encrusted from walking the beach. $60 tops are saved for special occasions.
I was a little discouraged. Tim tried to boost my spirits by reminding me that there are other shops, off-island, but still local that we had not yet checked out. I nodded and said, "Well I suppose I can look at Walmart". Now, that said, let me now clarify that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Walmart clothes. I have been buying Walmart tee-shirts for myself for years. BUT the cheaper price (and they are cheaper for sure) also means more cheaply made. They just don't hold up well. Generally anything I have purchased at Walmart lasts one season. I was hoping for something that falls between Walmart and Nordstroms. Usually Beall's fits that slot nicely. Just not this time.
However, yesterday Tim took me to a different shopping plaza in Venice. Off-island but still officially in our town. Right in a line in the same plaza there was Beall's outlet, Marshalls and Burlington. Ok now we are talking!
My methodology is to go through the racks in my size and pull everything that fits my criteria. I don't care what colour it is or what the print is or anything else, just my basic criteria. My size (of course), reasonably priced, loose, soft fabric, cotton or cotton blend and machine washable. Once I retreated to a dressing room, I zoomed through trying it all on. I can tell in very short order what is or isn't going to work. Is it comfortable, is it massively too big or small and is it hideous. Quick easy questions to answer. We left the outlet store with one top and I honestly, I felt like it was a massive success. I was so very encouraged by that one selection!
I was ready to go. We found one top, why push our luck? It was enough for me. But not for Tim. "Keep going!" was his command so next we went to Marshalls. I think I was in a Marshalls one other time ever, life time total. And that was back in Connecticut! I left there empty handed and unimpressed. This time however, I found LOTS of things to try and it was a unicorn moment because every single solitary thing I tried on fit and looked good. Dang! With Tim's input I settled on five tops. FIVE! And now I feel like I have an entire new summer wardrobe. AND all of it together cost considerably less than the one really expensive top from the boutique on the avenue. Wow! Didn't even bother to check out Burlington. Perhaps another time.
Everything is in the wash today so by tomorrow, if I want to, I can start wearing my awesome new summery clothes! Funny how a little thing like a new top can really perk a person up! I am fully perked.
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.