And a good Monday to you, people of the internet. It was a busy and productive day today, including (but not limited to!) starting the second week of marathon training and going into the office to work on syllabi for fall semester. The thing I want to talk about, however, is not anything so studious or workmanlike or athletic as all that. Oh no. I want to talk about shopping! Yes, I have moved on to retail therapy.
This weekend I was in Atlanta with my friends Brunbec (who lives here) and Deebeecooper, who just moved to Atlanta for a new job. We spent a bit of time exploring her new neighborhood and shopping around. There are loads of great restaurants, bars and shops — the more I visit her this year the less money I will have, but I so don’t care!
H&M is a favorite place of mine to shop when in the city for cute things at cheap prices, but it tends to be hit or miss. Sometimes I could easily drop hundreds of dollars in there, but this time there was nothing. Instead, I found myself drooling over things I couldn’t really afford at Banana Republic and Madewell. It was lucky for everyone, my bank account especially, that we didn’t find ourselves in Anthropologie, because I feel like I could really spend an obscene amount of money in there right now.
To ease my pain at not being able to spend too much money on new clothes (I am a teacher, you know; we barely make anything), I decided to check out a secondhand clothing store here in town this afternoon. It’s one of those targeted at the young whippersnappers — they can sell their old clothes and buy new/used things on the cheap, but the stock is vetted far more carefully than that in a typical thrift store and costs predictably more. You know the type of place? I had this fantasy that I would go in and be able to find some kind of fancy-schmancy designer jeans in my size at some ridiculously low price. And you know what? Spoiler alert: I DID!
They had racks and racks of jeans throughout the store, but the “designer” jeans were off on their own special rack, in a place of honor far away from the types of brands I can usually afford. Did I dare investigate? Of course. These were used designer jeans and thus in no way intimidating. After trying on a few pairs from a few different brands, I found a pair of Seven for All Mankind jeans that fit like they were made just for me. The previous owner had even had them hemmed at my exact inseam length!
Sidenote: I swear to DOG, what is up with the inseams on women’s jeans? How tall do they expect us to be? I am 5’9″ and jeans are usually anywhere from 2-4″ too long for me. I do think I have a longer torso and shorter legs, but still. I am pretty tall. What does the 5’5″ woman do? Or the 5’2″ woman? It is ridiculous.
Side sidenote: On the subject of sizing, how is it possible that I wear three different sizes in three different brands? This type of inconsistency is something I have long ago come to expect in clothing, but that makes it no less frustrating. If anyone is wondering, in my experience, Joe’s jeans run the biggest, Seven seems consistent with what I expected my size to be, and Citizens of Humanity run pretty small. Does that ring true for anyone else?
Back to the point. I bought the jeans, at approximately 1/7 of what they would cost new at a department store, and at about 1/4 of what they would cost at discount designer sites like bluefly.com or ideeli.com. Shopping victory!
Here’s the thing, though: as much cool stuff as they have in that store, and as low as the prices are, one cannot forget the fact that most of the stock (if not all) comes straight out of the undergrads’ closets. The next pair of jeans I buy there might at this very moment be in a pile of dirty laundry on the floor of a sorority girl’s closet. Or perhaps their hems are being dragged across a dirty barroom floor.
Look, let’s just not think of this sordid truth. Let’s imagine that every girl who sells her old clothing there is a fastidious fashionista who takes meticulous care of her things, only selling them to make room for yet more current and edgy pieces. She never washes dry-clean-only items; never spills food or drink on herself; never lets her cat sleep in the laundry basket. That’s probably true, right?
What do you think about second hand clothes? Would you buy your (real or hypothetical) students’ cast-off items?