Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Biting the Cheap European Bullet

Midway through week 3 of rifling through the goodwill bags looking for something I could get away with wearing, I caved and went to H&M. I simply had to admit that I had run out of clothing and that, despite the Saturday Night Live sketched of my youth advising me that most fit problems could be solved with "cinching," I had few alternatives to actually replenishing my wardrobe.

However, since I had been burned before and now have an unfortunate number of unsalvageable skirts in sizes I won't be again, I decided to do the honorable thing and go to the cheapest store in the mall to buy two things: one black skirt, one tan skirt. I figured between those and my one pair of jeans, I could be ok until June.

Oh dear, I forgot how unpleasant it is to shop at H&M. If attention deficit has a mascot, it would be this clothing store. I have a lot to say about "kids today," but if the layout of this store is any indication of how their brains work, please excuse me because I am way behind on my Mandarin lessons. There is no rhyme or reason to the store and no salespeople to answer questions. A reluctant shopper like me has to navigate by color.

And boy is this clothing cheap. I have shopped at H&M over the years for disposable clothing (and I was extremely sad to notice last summer that my favorite piece, a simple khaki skirt that had seen me through many an island vacation, was literally threadbare), but the quality is really appalling. Nevermind, I was there to buy temporary clothing. Something to get me from my current shape to my final shape without looking like I was wearing sacks.

And luckily, there were skirts. Mostly plain skirts. Tailored in such a way that not a centimeter of fabric was wasted. I gathered up as many as I could find in as many sizes as I could possibly be, and tried them on. For much of my life, I bought the smaller size as an aspiration and ended up squeezing myself into horribly undersized garments. Of late, I have attempted to correct these years of mistake-making and buy the size that actually fits. I considered this admirable until it dawned on me that I was, actually, losing weight and the clothing of right now only remained so about a month and a half. So I bought two skirts that barely fit right now, but that will fit perfectly in 5 pounds and won't stop fitting for another 15 or so - and that's about how much I have left to lose.

I hope when next I must wardrobe augment, I'm in the financial position to skip H&M, but for the moment, I am inordinately pleased that for $50 I can avoid looking slovenly and aesthetically lazy.

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