Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Goodwill Hunting

It’s that time of year again when we all get to come to work dressed like complete idiots. That’s right; it’s spirit week!

When I made the decision to go balls out* last year, I had no idea I’d be setting a standard for myself that would be darn near impossible to sustain. Last year’s themes were easy enough: country day, 80’s day, sports team day, etc. But this year’s a whole new ballgame. 70’s wasn’t too much of a challenge, but sailing? I’m pretty sure we all live in the middle of the country. And don’t even get me started on Friday’s theme – 1940’s, but casual because we’ll be outside. Any ideas? Anyone? Yeah, me neither.

What do you do when you have no appropriate clothing for any of next week’s spirit days? You hit up Goodwill, of course! I went with my mom once when I was about 12 years old so she could buy some clothes for these little fake trick-or-treaters she was making as a Halloween decoration. I remember feeling absolutely guilt-ridden because I thought only the needy were supposed to shop there, and there we were, comfortably middle class and taking advantage of their precious resources. You’ll all be happy to hear that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become slightly less of an idiot.

I’ve never been much of a “thrifter”, mostly because I can’t handle the chaos. Out of necessity, I’ve started shopping for work clothes at Ross and TJ Maxx, but this is a very recent development that still requires a good deal of determination and resolve. It’s like I walk in, see all those clothes haphazardly jumbled together, and my brain explodes on contact. Then when I open my wallet and a cartoon moth flies out, I remember I have no other options.

Although I’ve never bought real clothes at a thrift store, I’m not above shopping there for other things, like clothes for a costume or my kitchen table ($8 dollars at the ARC). You just can’t beat their prices when you’re looking for an outfit you know you’ll never, ever, ever wear again. I managed to find a dress I thought was perfect for 70’s day – a dark red v-neck with a collar and blue paisleys all over it. It looked like something the mom from That 70’s Show would have worn...and that’s pretty much my only frame of reference. Apparently, even though I hot-rolled and attempted to feather my hair, my costume didn’t quite translate. Here are a few of my favorite reactions:

“Oh you look like you’re about fourteen!”

“You look like you just stepped off the set of Little House on the Prairie!”

“I don’t remember wearing anything like that in the 70’s.”

Well, guess what everybody! I wasn’t alive in the 70’s, so how about you all just cut me a little slack. I'd also like to take this opportunity to point out that none of those three people even bothered to dress up.

My plan for sailing day is to just look as much like a toolbag as I can manage. Maybe pop my collar a little and just generally try to look like a snob.

And I did find something that’s 40’s and casual! I’m gonna be the We Can Do It lady.

My thrift store adventures this past Saturday were a complete success. Three outfits for $16 dollars. Not too shabby.

Except that it was a little bit shabby. The day’s accomplishment filled my nostrils with the sweet aroma of success...but after a while I realized that success kinda smells like a mixture of dust and body odor. I didn’t notice it while we were in the store, maybe because that’s just how the whole place smells...but it was perfectly evident once I was back in the safety of my own home that something was terribly wrong with the garments I had purchased – and that something was a serious case of stank. I threw them in the washer with a little extra Apple Mango Tango fabric softener, and we all lived happily ever after.

The End

P.S. I’m pushing for dirty hippie day as a theme next year.

*Yes, I realize I probably shouldn’t be using this phrase in a post that also mentions the Christian non-profit by which I am employed, but I just can’t help myself. Spirit week makes me a little bit caraaaaazay.


SweaterVest224 said...


E Bailey said...

rosie the riveter! my favorite almost-lesbian.