when i was a child, i had two sets of clothes. there were the clothes my grandmother bought me because they were what she wanted me to wear, and then there were the clothes she bought me because they were what i wanted to wear. frequently, she and my mother vetoed the clothes i wanted the most and the fact i wear almost nothing but jeans now is probably due to the fact i wasn't even allowed to own a pair until i was old enough to go to a store and buy them for myself.
my grandmother, however, was a woman who raised the art of shopping to a religion. when my grandmother took me shopping, we went from store to store, rooting out bargains with the ruthless focus of a shaolin monk. she may have censored my wardrobe when i was kid, but she taught me a necessary skill in this world of too-too much.
one consequence of cleaning out my drawers and closets at the end of last winter is that i found myself with nothing to wear this week when the season suddenly turned chilly. so last night, while Beloved snored in front of the yankee game, and libby went off to see a movie with her friends, i took myself off for some seriously needed retail therapy.
over the years, i've learned to shop mostly by feel. the first thing i do, after the color has caught my eye, is feel the fabric. if i don't like the way it feels - if it's too slippery or slimey or itchy - i pass it by no matter how much i might like color or cut. the effect this has had on my wardrobe is that i tend to wear clothes that dont feel too much different from comfy pajamas - and i'm sure my children would tell you they mostly look that way too.
another thing my grandmother taught me is that there's nothing more satisfying than a shopping expedition that's NECESSARY. i love the feeling of not only wanting new clothes, but actually needing them as well. i came home with two sweaters (a cuddly blue cardigan and a purple striped crew), two turtlenecks in white and plum, three thermal t-shirts in gray, pink and plum, one black t-shirt, and three woolrich blouses - one in black corduroy, one in chamois flannel, and one in an aqua blue swirly print that made me happy to look at it.
they'll all look great with jeans.
and furthermore, the war will end. blessed be.