Monday, June 18, 2012

Treasure Hunting

I wonder if I've already written a blog by this title about the bliss of "op shopping." If I have, I make no apology;  I truly love this activity.

In a few short days I'm going away. It occurred to me that I didn't have many clothes to bring with me. The SAHM/writer's 'uniform' of windcheater, tracky dax and uggies, enhanced by floppy tits probably isn't a good look outside of the house, let alone outside of the state. I decided it was time to visit my local Salvos store.

Teenage Son and I had been there very recently. He had a lovely outfit for Husband and my vow renewal ceremony but was lacking a smart jacket to set it off and, more importantly, keep him warm. We found a man's dress jacket in small. It was navy blue pinstripe, worn so infrequently that the pockets were still sewn closed. The tag read, $6.99. I thought they were seriously underselling themselves. When we got to the check out, however, that tag colour was half price. Consequently, I paid $3.50 for Teenage Son's as new dress jacket.

That day was difficult for me; we were on a time limit so I had to just buy the jacket and leave. Today, however, it was my turn. After scouring the racks I had about 15 garments I wanted to try on. The point of trying on so many is elimination. There are so many brands, all of which run to different sizing. My size in one brand can be too big while in another too small. Like Goldilocks I have to keep trying until I find something that's just right. To me, that's part of the fun of it all.

Clothes shopping is something I dislike. Back in my thirties, as I was leaving Mother's house one day, she said, "You still dress like a uni student." A couple of - all right, many - years later that's still my style. I love jeans, boots and scarves. Even more so, I love individuality. I don't want to dress and look like everyone else. It's difficult to retain one's individuality at a chain store. Op shopping, however, is something I love. It's much easier to find those hidden treasures that speak to the individual within at an op shop.

Ultimately I came home with five items. I got a tapestry patterned waist coast, a beaded denim skirt, a plain black skirt and plain brown top which will act as the 'straight men' for some of my fancier things and a pair of dress pants. It came in at $25.

It thrills me that one of my favourite pastimes is also perfect for the Footprints Project. The clothes are secondhand so not part of the supply and demand chain which can lead to unethical practises and environmental degradation. Furthermore, most op shops are linked to a charity, not profit driven businesses. I'm not thrilled with the comments made by the hierarchy of the Salvation Army this week in relation to homosexuality. However, the Australian branch is trying to distance itself. In addition to that, the money I spend at the store helps people who may be struggling to keep warm this winter. Sometimes I have to make a decision based on 'the lesser of the two evils.'


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