Friday evening, we lost a favorite pair of gloves while on our way to a goodbye gathering for a friend and colleague heading off on a great adventure: She’s moving to Nashville to be with her new love. Celestina Maria Santina, the most ethereal of The Style Sisters, became tearful, insisting that the loss of the gloves symbolized the loss of the friendship. Jazz, Francine, and Rajiki whooped with unkind and raucous laughter. Paris Gray-Brown snorted disdainfully and began lecturing Celestina about the absurdity of romanticizing hard cold facts. “We lost the gloves,” she snapped. “That is all.” Celestina sobbed. I had my hands full getting everybody settled before we arrived at the gathering.
The next day—yes, Saturday—we worked for some 10 hours, helping to keep a recalcitrant book on schedule. (We write and edit for our living, as well as for our pleasure.) Monday we spent the morning wrestling with an unexpectedly difficult article. When the lunchtime half hour came, I felt we were all in need of refreshment in the form of a little thrift shopping. (Amazingly, our tiny two-stoplight village hosts two good shops.)
The plan: zoom down to check for lost gloves at the bank and the grocery, our two Friday night stops; race to the nearest thrift store—a Salvation Army—and be content with a very quick pass through half the racks. Paris-Gray Brown advised against the plan, noting that lateness is unacceptable and that we were very likely to experience Thrift Shop Drift and end up overstaying our time. Celestina Maria said nothing, still lost in tearful reverie. Jazz and Rajiki and all the other noisy sisters began arguing with Paris, who does not back down easily. The word “nincompoops” came from her direction. As the Chief AIC (Adult in Charge), I stepped in and silenced the lot of them. “We are going,” I said firmly. “We will make every effort not to be late. And if we are, we will stay this evening to make up our time. Case closed. Forward march.”
Forward we marched, and the venture turned out to be a successful one indeed: only 1 error out of 7 garments (even though we tried on only 3), plus a book, for a grand total of 45.63. First, these happy three:
As you can see, we’ve been having a field day lately with our new-old love, black and white. In the olden days, our accent color (if we used one) was always red. Now, prompted by the recent no-holds-barred color experiments led by the noisy Style Sisters, it could be anything from blue to burgundy. (The yellow scarf is from a recent visit to a Housing Works in New York—5 bucks; the goofy pearls are from a local thrift, possibly Goodwill.)
Then our one failure: a bit too small and sporting a small separation along one sleeve seam, which we didn’t discover until we got home. “Paris Gray-Brown,” we told her sternly, “do not even begin to form the words ‘I told you so.'” She didn’t, but we knew she was right. The staff’s supposed to check for such things, but, we reminded ourselves, always, always, always caveat emptor—especially when you’re in a hurry or in love with an idea, as we are lately with this crossover style, which we find so graceful when the material drapes well (this does not) and the fit is right.
We also realized, when we looked at this woebegone little piece more closely, that none of us really like this sort of contrasting trim. As a friend who once helped us do a wardrobe triage observed, it’s “too Healthtex.” Fine if you’re 2, but if you’re beyond that, not so much. Luckily, it was the least expensive of the lot: 2.99. So we stitched it up and tossed it in the hamper for a wash before moving it on. (One thrifter’s failure …)
The skirts we tried on, perhaps prompted by the difference in the apparent dimensions of the waists: One looked tiny and one huge. The red-black-white one is an Ann Taylor, barely if ever worn
And then Francine spied a delightfully silly jacket, all flash and zippers going nowhere. Very expensive at 29.99—but it bore a green halfies tag! Paris Gray-Brown began arguing against the over-sized houndstooth print. “Hmpf,” she sniffed. “More like mastodon-tooth. Totally lacking in subtlety. Silly. The quiet sisters would not be caught dead in it.”
“I get your point,” I said in an even tone that I hoped sounded diplomatic, rather than threatening. “But sometimes silly is just what we need.” I glanced at Amalienne and Vivienne and the other quiet sisters, busy cooing over Celestina Maria, who tends to recover slowly from upsets, and almost backed down. But those twinkling zippers called to me. “We’re taking it,” I said. “They can be caught alive in it. Or they can stay home when we wear it.”
P.S. We made it back to work on time. And we found the gloves.
Categories: Look What We Found at the Thrift Store!