Va-va-vintage: My mom, the blouse goddess
Photo: Jennifer Mac DonaldI’ve already hit a few obstacles in this dare to wear nothing but my mom’s old clothes for a week. To keep myself on track, I’ve set a few rules:
The main components of my outfit must come from mom’s closet. Just like Alden and her dare, I will not wear hand-me-down undies. I have underwear that’s in perfect working order, thanks very much. Also, I would wear her old shoes if I could (there are some doozies!), but my mom’s feet are two sizes smaller than mine. It’s not worth the crunched toes and possible nerve damage.
Clothing I choose must pre-date my birth. It turns out that my mom’s closet also serves as an archive for my cast-off clothing. I found items that I wore back in high school, junior high, and yes, even a piece or two from sixth grade. The woman keeps everything. Wearing clothes that I used to find acceptable wouldn’t be much of a challenge (What? I had great taste in sixth grade!), so I’m eliminating them from the pickings.
Do as few alterations or modifications as possible. I’m not a seamstress, so that shouldn’t be a problem. But lists are better when they have three items.
Photo: Jennifer Mac DonaldI actually had a lot of fun going through the closet with my mom. She had her own opinions about what I should wear. She was passionately advocating for a polka-dotted peacock blue number that’s about as unflattering as it gets. “But it’s silk!” she insisted. She might have been trying to sabotage me.
Despite my mom’s attempts to lead me astray, I discovered a section of her closet containing several lovely blouses from the pre-me era. I was elated. “Thank you, O goddess of blouses!” I shouted at my mom. But my victory was short-lived when I realized that tops require bottoms. Back in the day, my mom weighed about 100 pounds, which rules out the majority of her pants and skirts for me. Then I found some white jeans that were designed with extra room in the trunk and an elastic waist. Maybe they were maternity wear, but who cares? They fit and have some sweet metallic embroidery on them. Bling! YES!
I have to say, I’m pleased with this outfit. The blouse is definitely a keeper (please, Mom?) even if the pants aren’t. And I’m happy to be rediscovering these clothes and giving my wardrobe a boost without consuming more resources or spending a cent.
What’s your favorite hand-me-down piece? Consider supporting me, my mom, and my white jeans by giving Grist a hand-me-up. Make a donation today!
More stories in this series:
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Accepting Grist’s dare, I vow to wear only secondhand clothes for a week. Goodbye, Bloomingdale’s. Hello, Salvation Army.
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