It was a hot August in 2002 when I underwent surgery for colon cancer leading me to wearing loose shifts for a few weeks. Finally healed, donning those clothes also donned me in unpleasant memories, so I quickly put them in the give-away bag.
Never a clothes horse, wearing a uniform of brown scrubs for in-patient or khakis and brown polo for out-patient work simplified my wardrobe. Other than being limited to unflattering brown provoking the nickname “UPS,” the clothes were comfortable. That being said, I was very happy to forswear brown and polo shirts for ever.
Prior to retirement, my wardrobe was limited to work clothes, grubbies, and one or two decent items for church and social events. Arizona’s casual lifestyle is reflected in the clothing. When a man shows up at church in suit and tie, the first question is, “Where are you from?”
After I appeared in the same dreary clothes for several months, my shopping friend Nancy took me by hand to Chico’s to jumpstart my new wardrobe. Her introduction to the saleswoman describing me as a new customer in need of a new wardrobe ignited dollar signs in the woman’s eyes. Nancy and saleswoman analyzed the clothes I was modelling, recreating the tension of shopping for my first bra. Returning home with full bags, I threw Nancy under the bus declaring to my husband that “it was Nancy’s fault.”
Let it be known, I do hate shopping. My body shape limits my choices. I don’t have a personal seamstress to alter everything I buy. And I am cheap when it comes to clothes in spite of appreciating the comfort of better quality. Could this be a byproduct of a childhood of hand-me-downs?
And now in the coronavirus pandemic, we are wearing pajamas until mid-day followed by grubbies only to return to the PJ’s within a few hours. Make-up is limited to eyebrows when I have a Zoom meeting. When I am released by my surgeon to get into the pool, I will probably wear a swimsuit all day. As I dropped a sundress over my head the other day, I sensed the same repulsion as I had following the abdominal surgery: I hate this dress. So I ordered some new ones to get me through this isolation. When the vaccine is finally administered, hopefully in the next few months, will clothing sales spike along with donations to Goodwill? It wouldn’t surprise me.