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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thrift Stores, Armani Pants, Children's Clothing: Stress Relief

This is all one topic. I wish I were better at titles. This title problem has been a long-term affliction. Indeed, of all the papers I've written, only two titles were good: one for a graduate student paper on John Donne's poetry, the other an article on Edmund Spenser's sonnet sequence, the Amoretti.

I digress. With a pang, I just placed a pair of Armani pants in the donation bag. These are the real thing, Armani Collezione, beautiful olive wool crepe, fabulous detailing. Sadly, there are a few tiny moth holes.

Don't shed too many tears. I bought these a few years ago, with a new dry-cleaning label, at a thrift for under $3.00. These were for Frugal Son, in case he needed dress pants. As it happened, the only occasions where he wore dress pants were his proms, to which he sported a tuxedo and all the usual trimmings, all the booty of a year-long look-out undertaken by Frugal Mom (me). I have a post on this somewhere or other. Needless to say, the tux outfit required black pants.

Also needless to say, moths like the most expensive clothing. I keep things clean, and even brush items, but, like me, moths always choose the most exquisite fabrics.

The only reason I'm donating the pants is that someone--maybe--can use the fabric or the expensive zippers and buttons. Or even fix them--the holes are almost imperceptible.

Stress relief times two. First, because we had the pants in case Frugal Son needed them. It is SOOOO stressful to have to run to the store because of a sudden need: this is always expensive and often time-consuming. So this is another example of prophylactic shopping I wrote about a while ago: shopping to PREVENT shopping.

Second, because if the item gets ruined, no big deal. This was especially critical when my kids were younger. Although my fantasy was to have my children dressed in Euro-style clothing a la the Hanna Andersson catalog, they generally wore very nice clothing from various thrift stores. I usually went to the then-wonderful shop run by the Junior League in New Orleans, where I could find the occasional Petit Bateau item I craved.

What a relief though when the inevitable stain or snag occurred. I could just say (continuing the Euro-theme), "Tant pis!" Let's toss it. And I can pull out another backup item.

And it's not just children who stain and snag. Although I am often criticized for wearing too much black, I have noticed that when I wear a light color, especially white, I tend to spill an entire cup of coffee on my front.

Tant pis, I say once more.


Duchesse said...

Moths! I've posted on them... my mother canned her treasures, That's right. She'd clean the sweater (or whatever) and then store it individually in a large canister. I don't know where she got them but the point is, airtight. The modern equivalent is the storage box with snap lid. I have accepted that anything left hanging in a closet sooner or later gets munched.

Funny about Money said...

Horrid. We have crickets here, which also enjoy eating your favorite fabrics. Crickets will eat synthetic fabrics, too.

There used to be a woman in town who could reweave fabric so exquisitely you could not tell where it was damaged. I had a beautiful cashmere sweater that the cat chewed up...amazingly, she repaired it perfectly.

She disappeared from the scene long ago... In the Dark Ages, we found such craftspeople in the Yellow Pages, under "reweaving" or "reweavers."

Someone said...

Another (and I think more ubiquitous) clothes eater: carpet beetle larvae. They make random holes that many take for those of moths, but in my own experience I've only ever had one run-in with actual moths...and I am a knitter who has some wool to worry over. Blasted bugs.

sallymandy said...

So funny, and so much in line with my way of shopping, also. I wish my 12-year old still went along with thrift store clothes. Tant pis. Pretty soon she'll have a clothing allowance with which to learn the hard way.

I like your title. Maybe that's because I, too, tend toward ramblers that seem disjointed but are not, really.

Duchesse said...

Funny: or check Yellow Pages for for "invisible mending".

You can also send item to
Fashion Award Cleaners
623 W. 129th St
NY NY 10027-2323
or call 212-289-5623

Also well known for miracle repairs is Cashmere Clinic in London; not cheap but if you have something you love, just try to replace it!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--My mother-in-law used to store her many hand knit (by her) sweaters in giant garbage cans! They were all quite hairy and textured, so moth damage wouldn't really have shown anyway. (Not that a moth would have dared!)

@Funny--My mother can actually do that, but it's so much work that I would only ask her for a very important piece. Even Armani pants wouldn't qualify!

@Someone--You may be right--so I have another insect to despise.

@sallymandy--Thanks for the title commiseration. BTW, based on my own vast experience (2 kids), thrift stores are tolerated UP TO about age 11-12; then scorned from 12 to about 16-17. Thereafter, they become cool once more. When my daughter tells someone that an admired object was "bought by my mother at a thrift store," the friend exclaims "I wish my mom were that cool!" Just you wait! You will be a cool mom once more.

@Duchesse--You know everything! I read an article about NYC reweavers a while ago. They can do anything, but the prices are astonishing! The work does merit the cost, but I don't own anything that would merit that kind of labor or expense.