For one of my birthday gifts, my husband is going to treat me to a spending spree; nothing crazy, but I can make a dollar go pretty far, so I'm pretty stoked. He knows how much I like to browse and touch everything at T.J. Maxx, so he offered to take me there. I can usually get a lot of bang for my buck at T.J.'s.
I've been looking forward to our outing, until I went to Goodwill earlier this week. I was so excited when I noticed the rack at the entrance, heavy with brand-new, with-tags clothes from Kohl's. They were seasonal Croft and Barrow turtlenecks and sweaters, adorned with pine trees, cardinals, and snowmen. My face broke into a smile as my hands ran over the yarn and fabrics; they were soft; my number one criteria. And the sweaters and jackets were CUTE. That's number two.
But wait. Even though I thought the sweaters were adorable, I began to doubt my fashion sense. Just recently I shared that my kids have often been MY OWN LITTLE JIMINY CRICKETS, giving or withholding approval of my potential purchases of clothing. As I'm getting older, I care less about what people think, but sometimes, little nagging thoughts nibble away at my ego, and I wonder if I'm losing touch with reality, living in a fantasy world where I wear whatever I want, regardless of whether it looks good or not.
Not everyone wears sweaters festooned with cutesy characters or seasonal themes. Why is that? To each her own, but I recalled with fondness dressing for each season or holiday when I was teaching elementary school.
I was waffling on choosing one of these brand-new sweaters for myself; what if these were displayed in the hopes that people looking for ugly Christmas sweaters for holiday parties would think these would be perfect additions to their wardrobe? Were they cute, or just plain UGLY?
I needed backup, so I texted my husband and my kids in a group message, and was relieved three of them were available to help me decide.
Group text messaging to the rescue. First, I sent them this picture:
Well, Chuck is the one who will see me wearing whatever I choose the most, so I'm glad he was the first to respond. (In re-reading his response, I wonder if he was worried I was shopping for HIM.)
Next I heard from my oldest. Dylan is so busy at work, so I was surprised and grateful he took the time to voice his opinion. Dylan and Jamie's texts popped up on my phone while I was weighing my options.
My sweet daughter-in-law always tries to encourage me with her kind words. I had three positive votes, and knew that I wouldn't be hearing from my daughter who is swamped at work with Christmas orders, and my youngest hadn't seen the light of day yet, it was still pretty early, and even an hour earlier in his time zone.
I returned the blue sweater to the rack, and selected a mock turtleneck with a pine bough and pine cone pattern in the same soft green as the sweater. It was $6.99, which is kind of pricey for thrift stores, but it was brand-new. Moments later, I discovered another rack full of Croft and Barrow turtlenecks, and low and behold, there was the identical shirt, without tags, for $3.99. SCORE.
Chuck and I will be coming back another day to finish my birthday shopping. I'm so excited. I won't have to call for backup when we go; I'll have my partner riding shotgun with me next time.