So, you know how it is a few weeks after a baby when you're no longer round and full of life, but sort of flabby and weak and tired? And you find yourself schlepping around the house in whatever is mostly clean, and maybe it fits and maybe it doesn't? And you feel like your life is about spit up and poop, and as long as the kids look good when you go out no one will notice what you're wearing?
Well, I'd reached that point.
My "best" t-shirts are too big and starting to fray around the cuffs and collar. My "best" pants are nearly see-through from age and washing. I have two shirts, one pair of pants and one skirt suitable for wearing to church.
That was the truth, until yesterday.
I don't get excited about clothes shopping, and here's why.
On Friday when Mr. Poops got home from work, I popped over to the outlet mall. I got a gift card for the Lane Bryant outlet so I decided to see if they had any pants, since pants is where I'm hurting most. I like knit pants. I have huge thighs and a huge ass, but a comparatively small waist, even with the saggy baby gut parts. Knits are my friend. They don't bind when I sit or ride when I walk and they never feel all pinchy in the crotch.
Not one pair of knit pants in the store.
Lane Bryant caters to big girls. They are a plus-size stores. Skinny girls need not darken our doorstep, thanks. Well, if you're an 18/20, you've got it made at the outlet store. I can see being out of the largest sizes in the clearance racks, but through the entire store? Every single thing I liked, every style I thought might flatter, had nothing in the larger sizes.
Really people. If I could wear a 14/16 or an 18/20, I wouldn't need Lane Bryant! I can buy those sizes ANYWHERE!
For fifty bucks, I came away with two t-shirts and a more dressy top. I felt better about having some clean shirts that fit me well, flattered me, and didn't have stains or frayed edges. And had resigned myself with a heavy sigh to looking online for pants.
That was, until Saturday morning.
DH works for J. Jill
. He works in the distribution center, which is a ginormous facility that employs somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 people. It's amazing. Clothes come in, clothes go out. DH works in replenishing, which is right in the middle of the clothes coming in and going back out. I used to work in pack/returns for awhile. I was the one sending them out.
Anyway, on Saturday from 8 to 3 they did a new thing. They took all the clothes that were unsellable and offered them to the employees at huge discounts. They used to give them for free, but since only the employees were allowed to take the clothes, the system wasn't great, and when they merged with Talbots, they did away with it all together. I suspect lots of abuses, like people filling garbage bags and selling them online.
What they did yesterday was take all the returned clothes and put them on racks in the cafeteria. They gave guest cards to the employees to give to friends and relatives. A good idea, since at least half of the employees are guys and could care less about high-end women's clothing. There were probably 50 or 60 racks of clothes all sorted by size and garment. And at deep, deep discounts. For instance, all knit tops were 8 dollars, pants and skirts were 12, blouses were 12, jackets and sweaters were 20, that kind of thing.
Granted, the clothes in there were not first quality. However, J. Jill has very exacting return standards. See the period at the end of the last sentence? If there is a spot of anything that size on the inside hem of a garment, it won't be resold. I shit you not a pantload. There were things marked as soiled or damaged and you would have to squint hard at the marked flaw before going "really?"
Anyway, I didn't expect much. I wear the largest size they make and figured there wouldn't be much in my size, but I was hoping to find a pair of pants or two, since my three favorite pairs of pants of all time came from The Jill.
Oh. My. God.
I wasn't there ten minutes and I had an armload of stuff.
I tried them on.
One pair of pants didn't fit, and that's because they were too big in the waist.
I nearly cried from joy in the fitting room. I put on a sweater and jacket that not only buttoned completely in the front but lay flat and smooth on my curves. Pants that fit in my thighs and my waist without looking painted on. Tops that flattered!
I put back the too-big pants and went back out and shopped some more.
At the end of about an hour, I came away with a total bill of 131.00. And that was because I made Sister take me out of there to save me from myself. Want to know what I got?
Two skirts, one brown and one black. Three pair of pants, two black and one green. A luscious cream angora/wool cardigan. A black jacket. A pink blouse and four knit tops in assorted colors. We added up the tags to see what the lot would have cost me full price from the store.
You want to know how much I saved for a whole new wardrobe?
Original prices: $881.50. I saved $750.50.
Not that I've have paid that anyway. DH gets 40% off the catalog and store as it is, and there is an outlet store with an additional 30% off right in Tilton, but still. You take 40% off of $881.50, and I'm still making out like a bandit.
The best part is twofold. One, I have clothes that fit me and make me look good. I don't look thin, but I look good, and that makes me feel better about the whole changing body thing. I'm used to being fat, but I'm tired of looking slovenly. Good clothes for big girls at reasonable prices are hard to find.
Two, these clothes are GOOD. Not like a Walmart top that will fray in a few months. Or pants that just don't fit right and never will. The fabrics are excellent and they're well-made. And the flaws are so minor as to not even be a factor.
I might write J. Jill a letter and tell them how happy I am. For someone like me on a fixed budget who has a hard enough time finding good, affordable clothing that fits, this was a Godsend. If they do this every year, which I'm going to urge they do, I'll look good forever!
Speaking of God, we had quite a dust-up at church last night too. Right as Fr. Albert was distributing communion to the Eucharistic ministers, after the Lamb of God, a woman got up and left the nave, only when she got to the double doors leading out to the narthex, apparently she decided to go through them without opening them. And these aren't like big glass patio doors that people walk through because they're nearly invisible. These have bars to push to open them and they're paned glass.
She just walked full-tilt-boogie right into them and knocked herself out.
Nothing draws attention from the sacred solemnity of the reception of communion like the rescue squad from the local FD.
Then there's this other lady sitting in the front row. I looked over once and she's got a scarf that she's wound around her head and face. I first thought "Muslim? Or leper?" Then she took it off. Then she got out a picture from someplace and was looking at it and appeared to be be talking to it. Praying, maybe. Then she started waving it back and forth in front of her while rocking.
At the end of mass right before the final blessing and recessional, Fr. points out that because of the medical emergency at the back of the nave to please use the side stairs in the sanctuary to exit the church, unless you need to use the ramp, in which case the ushers will get you out safely. As soon as he says that, the woman with the scarf gets up and walks toward the back. She gets to the middle of the center aisle, looks up and sees the melee at the doors, sighs deeply, audibly, and visibly, and trudges toward the back doors. Like she didn't know that inconvenience existed.
It was quite a show.
Anyway that was my weekend excitement thus far.
Oh, and on Monday evening I had my first full-body massage. My first professional one, anyway. *smirks laciviously*
My friend Jeanne is a massage therapist and my back and shoulders had been really sore from holding Dave. My abdominals are just starting to strengthen and do some of the work, but at that point my back was doing it all, and it was sore and tired. So she had me come and gave me a freebee.
It hurt, but in a good way.
Later this week, I'm supposed to go over for Margaritas. I might be looking forward to those more than the massage...