My first month of actively trying to find clothes.
After a very successful rummage through boxes on a stall at Sunrise Off-Grid at the end of August, producing a skirt for £3, I took myself on a 'back to school' shopping trip to Cotham (Bristol's version of a 'charity mall' with five excellent charity shops on one street). I held out little hope of finding the illustrious black high heels, resigning myself to another few weeks of wearing boots to work. Great on the days when it rains and I feel smug, observing the number of drenched sandal-clad feet; not so great on the days when it reaches 18 degrees and I feel like my feet are on fire, whilst everyone else's sandals, now recovered, are breezily airing their toes.
And I was right. No shoes whatsoever. However, I did feel quite successful initially, as I paraded my (reusable cloth) bags home, with two work skirts (£5 each), a top for work (£4), a fun t-shirt (£3) and some harem pants (free from the 'buy two items get one from this rail free' section!). Though I had realised that Cotham is not the cheapest place for charity shopping. With the benefit of hindsight, £3 seems like quite a lot to pay for a t-shirt. Perhaps I was overcome by the thrill of legitimate shopping!
By the time I got home I had considered most of the contents of my wardrobe and convinced myself that it was time for another clear-out.
Surely most, normal, people do not do this on a monthly basis?
I got rid of a huge pile of things, splitting them, as always into charity and clothes bank, depending on how worn out they were. I'm not entirely sure whether I have a system for getting rid of things - some make me feel frumpy/boring/ugly but survive several purges through 'comfort' or 'warmth', but finally succumb to the second factor - the amount of time they've hung in the wardrobe, unworn until they are disconsolate and need re-homing.
Looking through my newly streamlined collection of clothes, I tried on my purchases with the benefit of a full length mirror, light and more than 3 foot square to stand in. I will not bore you with the details, but provide you with the image that, when worn with my work boots, one made me look more like I was going to tell someone's fortune than teach a class and the other will be excellent when I am forty, have resorted to prostitution and want to look eighteen.
This month's lesson, then? Well there are two.
For me: don't be hasty; just because it is from a charity shop, doesn't mean you can't spend time deciding on it.
For charity shop managers: some of us treat our charity purchases with as much respect as any other (if not more); please can we have slightly better changing rooms, or at least ones with mirrors?
The skirts will have to be re-charitied, so technically this month I made a £10 donation to St Peter's Hospice. Now, don't I feel good about myself.