Growing up I was a tomboy. My mom says when I was three I played with army men instead of dolls. I had my first pocket knife (for whittling) by the time I was in second grade and my first shotgun when I was ten. When not in school, my days consisted of climbing trees, building forts, whittling (with said knife), riding my horse and fishing in the stream down the road. My wardrobe consisted of jeans/shorts and t-shirts. Dressing up meant throwing on a pair of cowboy boots instead of sneakers.
It was about 7th grade when things began to change. I started wearing my hair down instead of a perpetual ponytail, I got my ears pierced, and I even started wearing makeup. The tomboy gradually turned into a young lady. And with that transition began my obsession for clothes. Name brands began to matter – like Jordache and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans (preferably Jordache because they had a horse on the pocket instead of a swan). I started accumulating accessories such as shoes, jewelry and purses. I even started painting my nails!
As I went through high school and college, I tried to keep up with the latest fashions. Then I got married, became a career woman always tried to dress myself in the hottest new styles. My favorite pastime was shopping! I frequented the makeup counters at the high end department stores, was on a first-name basis with the sales people in my favorite clothing stores, and knew my way around the mall with my eyes closed. It wasn’t until the past few years that I began to realize how much money I was spending on retail clothing. Oh, if I could go back and have all that money I wasted on clothes I’d be a rich woman today!
As with most people, my priorities have changed drastically as I've grown older and wiser. Environmental concerns now play a role in many of my decisions. I have been working on simplifying my life by slowly cutting out the extraneous junk that consumes too much time, money and energy with little return. I recently gave up my career and now work from home running a small business and working on our small farm. These efforts to simplify and live a “greener” life have affected my attire. I didn’t realize how much until I found myself driving home from Tractor Supply with chicken feed and a new shirt in the same bag. I laughed out loud because it wasn’t very long ago I wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing clothes from Tractor Supply!
I started thinking about how symbolic those items were. Name brands mean very little to me now. Although I still wear good makeup, I only own a few pairs of shoes, I buy more clothes from second-hand stores and garage sales than retail stores, and the only jewelry I buy is handmade from local artists. Funny thing is, just today a friend told me that she admires how I always look so “put together”. When I told her that most of what I wear is second-hand, she replied, “Retail is for suckers”.
I think I have to agree.