I generally don’t think of myself as a materialistic sort of person. Malls give me a headache. I don’t feel drawn to the latest fancy shmancy new technological gadgets (okay, except maybe cameras….). I love handmade and recycled things. I want to live simply. And realistically, I know I’m called to a lifestyle that means being fairly poor – materially speaking – for the rest of my life. And I’m happy with that. Really.
But…..recently I’ve been kind of discouraged. About my clothes of all things. In fact, some days I’ve been downright grumpy about them. The thing is, I haven’t bought winter clothes for myself since….well, since I moved out of my parents house over four years ago. Everything I wear are clothes I’ve had since then (and were probably a hand-me-downs to begin with) or came from someone’s discard pile (don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the people who have given me clothes and I’ve received some nice things, but they aren’t necessarily what I would have picked out). And it’s been over a year since I bought jeans. And I’ve lost weight this past year so most of most of my clothes are too big. Or worn out. Or both. So I’ve been wearing old, worn out hand-me-downs that aren’t really my style and don’t even fit (whine, whine, whine….)
See? I told you I was grumpy about it. And then I’d feel guilty for feeling grumpy about it, because they’re just clothes….and appearances aren’t everything….and there are so many more important things to worry about….and I should be grateful for what I have, right? But dang it, sometimes I just want to feel pretty. Most days, though, I feel worn out, ill-fitting, and frumpy. Yes, frumpy. But with just my income right now and higher bills then ever, I couldn’t even justify going to the thrift store to buy new things because we just didn’t have money for extras (insert more whining). I tried to alter some of my old clothes to make them more wearable but my sewing skills are still pretty elementary and the finished products weren’t much better than the originals.
So when Derek’s mom sent us some money for Christmas, with the instructions “Buy something you wouldn’t normally get”, I began thinking wistfully of all the clothes I could buy with that. Which made me wince a bit, because clothes would be selfish. Buying myself clothes wouldn’t benefit the house, or even Derek (though hopefully he’d appreciate me looking nice), or anyone else. It would just be for myself. When Derek asked if I had any idea what we should spend our Christmas money on, I hesitated for a minute, then finally admitted, “Well, I know this probably doesn’t sound very fun and exciting, but…what I’ve really been wishing for is some new jeans and sweaters….because none of mine really fit anymore….and I’ve actually been feeling kind of grumpy about it for a while….so maybe we could use some of it for that?” There, it was out (materialistic clang and all). Derek smiled and said yeah, we could do that.
So today we went out for coffee together and then headed over to a thrift store in Johnson Country, recommended to us because it’s in a nicer area where more people donate to thrift stores and less people shop at them. We spent several hours browsing through the store, carefully perusing aisles and weighing options, and in the end came home with:
– 5 sweaters (two thick, warm ones that can be worn over lots of things, one light cardigan, and two thinner sweaters that are still warm enough that they can be worn alone – and happen to be brown and teal, two of my favorite colors)
– 2 pairs of jeans that fit
– 1 pair of nicer brown pants, which also fit (and can be worn to work)
– 1 pair of classy black leather boots (I’ve been looking for a pair of nice, low-heeled boots for a year and a half with no luck, so I was pretty excited about those. Now I can wear skirts again).
– 1 pair of nice tennis shoes for Derek (Nike ones at that)
– 1 pair of corduroy pants for Derek
– 3 t-shirts for Derek
All for under $40 (thanks to their holiday special, everything but the shoes were half-off). Which is still the most I’ve ever spent at a thrift store, but a good deal nonetheless considering everything we got.
So there you go. I went on a shopping spree today (albeit a thrift store one). But tomorrow when I wake up I get to put on clothes that fit and look nice. And materialistic though that may be, it makes me pretty happy at the moment.