Saturday, September 30, 2017

Button Up!

Too dressed up (Thanks, Mom)
As far back as I can remember, I’ve worn shirts.  Not blouses, not tee shirt, shirts.  As the youngest and only girl, I was sometimes dressed in my brother’s hand-me-downs, paired with what we then called dungarees, and I preferred them to the fussy clothes my mother would lovingly sew for me. I eschewed tiny buttons, ruffles, and (horrors) crinolines.

It is no wonder then, that now that I am out of the workplace where I once sported suits (remember Dress for Success?), silky blouses with bows at the neck (the ’80, yeah), pumps, pantyhose, dresses and skirts, I now stick to comfortable shirts.  Now that I am either retired, or part of the gig economy, (depending on how you look at it), I work at home, in the comfort of my own office – dressed in shirts.

Me, happy in a paisley shirt!
My collection is made up of either shirts I’ve gotten for free, for instance from my significant other, my younger daughter’s high school boyfriend (now middle-aged), my dead brother, or from finds at second-hand shops.  I will admit to once or twice finding a fabulous shirt at retail, but that was when I was working and could easily afford a $20 shirt.  Now my limit is $5 a pop and the thrill of the hunt is part of the fun.

I do have a few shirts made for women, but I avoid those that are weird, with oddly placed pockets, strange darts, embellished collars, or those awful tiny buttons.  Most I own are men’s shirts. I look for patterns; paisley is my favorite.  They are few and far between but I’ve hit pay dirt a time or two. I usually stay away from stripes and plaids, so that helps me narrow the field down significantly.  Solids come down to fabric.  I prefer a high proportion of cotton or linen, and any I can find on the rack that have a soft feel might persuade me.  I do have one plaid shirt I wear for my grandson who loves plaid. 

This week I looked at one of my favorite shirts as I donned it for the day.  It’s one I bought maybe 15 years ago when a local department store went out of business.  The collar is beginning to fray.  I almost panicked.  I eventually wear out all my favorite shirts and jackets at the collar and I hate it. So much so that I have a laundry basket filled with old shirts with tattered collars I keep thinking I will somehow fix.  This discovery of this newest defect told me it was time to hit Goodwill and Salvation Army.  I scored!  One paisley in a dull green/grey I wear well, a red shirt in a tiny check that just looks sharp, and one in a very soft cotton with a feather motif.  Love ‘em!

My pet peeve in men’s shirts is the permanently stiff collars and cuffs.  Why do they do that?  Ugh.  I have a few shirts like that but I don’t wear them often.  Mostly they remind me of people, so I keep them. 

So today, among the things for which I am grateful, are my shirts, garments that fit me to a T.

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