Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Clothes make the woman?

What IS fashion supposed to be about, anyway?

This past week, the weather has been cooler in Albuquerque, cool enough that I have been able to wear some of my fuzzy favorites. Thursday, I pulled out one of my better ensembles, a sweater of acrylic knit in a dramatic black-and-white pattern with metallic gold tracings, over black velour trousers – good-looking while also being very comfortable. I was complimented on the outfit several times. With a faux pearl hair clip and gray loafers, my entire outfit cost less than $25 – and about half of that was the shoes.

Now I hear that a certain political party has paid for a political candidate to go on a shopping spree, spending about $150,000 on clothes. My mind boggles. How in the world can anybody spend $150,000 on clothes? I mean, maybe some people believe that it is worth a few thousand dollars for something special like a wedding dress, but to spend that kind of money on what one is going to wear every day … that just doesn’t make sense. For that kind of money, I could buy not just one, but two, nicely equipped luxury cars. That kind of money would buy a house in many parts of New Mexico, and not just in the slums.

Back when we had the money to pay for satellite television at Five O’Clock Somewhere, I saw a couple of episodes of the show “What Not to Wear.” The basic premise was that some deserving person with no fashion sense was nominated by friends, family, and/or coworkers to get a makeover – primarily of wardrobe, but also including hairstyle and (for women) makeup. This person was then given a prepaid credit card with a really big balance on it (I don’t remember the exact amount, but I believe it was $2000 or so), taken shopping at upscale stores, and taken to world-class hairstylists and makeup experts. The end result was usually dramatic.

I’m sure that if I had an extra couple thousand dollars lying around that I could spend on such things, I could also achieve a similar result. And if the folks at “What Not to Wear” actually had $150,000 to work with, I bet they could accomplish something really stunning.
But I don’t have that kind of money. In fact, I would guess that over the past year, I have spent less than $100 on clothes. I might not look highly polished enough to be on the stage in a nationally televised political debate. But I do look reasonably presentable and professional.

My secret: thrift stores. While a lot of what gets donated is on the shabby side, there are always hidden gems. This is especially true of the larger thrift stores – they will sometimes get donations from merchants of high-quality fashions that have gone unsold at the end of the season. But even the smaller thrift stores are worth mining. One of my greatest finds was a luxurious fake-fur coat for $15 at a tiny thrift shop run by a small-town humane society. As for the outfit mentioned above, the sweater was $2 at a humane society thrift shop, the pants were $3 at a church thrift shop, the hair clip was $3 at a drugstore, and the shoes were $15 at a discount mail-order outlet (plus tax, shipping, and handling).

I’ve had this idea for some time now, since long before the political party got into the fashion-makeover spending binge. “What Not to Wear” is interesting to watch, but ultimately unrealistic, since most television viewers aren’t going to get a prepaid credit card with a couple thousand dollars on it dropped into their laps.

What I would like to see is “What Not to Wear: Trailer Park Edition,” in which the funding is $200, not $2000, and it’s cash, not a credit card. The fashion shopping is done in thrift stores, the hairstyling is done at a barber college such as the one where I get my hair done (about a third the cost of even the bargain hairstyle places), and the face makeover is done by a local person who sells cosmetics for one of the major franchises. THAT would be realistic.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Humane Society Thrift Shop, Church Thrift shop== that wouldn't be pagosa would it. I enjoy your blog very interesting.

Sat Oct 25, 01:30:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Yes, the thrift shops in Pagosa Springs are some of my primary shopping stops. There are also a couple of good ones in Albuquerque, and many in T or C.

Sun Oct 26, 09:52:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We live up in pagosa during summer. Visit Chama about once a month. They are making the new Chama Valley store, it looks great.
I never get to ABQ or T or C. I guess I have bought most everything for our summer home at the thrift shop and at Garage sales here in Pagosa.
Have a great winter. We leave to head back east tomorrow.

Sun Oct 26, 01:19:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

The entire Chama Valley awaits the opening of the new Chama Valley Supermarket. We have been told it will happen "in October" -- which means there are four days until the deadline.

Have a good winter wherever it is you go to spend the winter, and come back safely. Maybe sometime we'll run into each other in one of the thrift shops.

(Programming note: Visitor 43K was from Pennsylvania and came on a search about connotation vs. denotation.)

Mon Oct 27, 12:44:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Lydia Manx said...

I tend to shop as needed. I dressed up for the folks anniversary and folks freaked. Like I don't know how to dress? More I don't bother. Make up and hair. Bleah. Made mom happy.

Mon Oct 27, 09:32:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, since the political candidate who spent the 150k is Miss Mavericky, maybe she wants to look as sharp as James Gardner did in the 60's. Hopefully is two days she can return to assasinating innocent wolves instead of her political opponents

Sun Nov 02, 06:44:00 PM MST  

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