Saturday, 21 September 2013

Shop ‘til You Drop

2013-09-20 autumn clothes

It’s a tough job, trying to build up a new wardrobe.
As previously mentioned, I lost a bit of weight over summer, with the result that when I started needing my autumn/winter clothes again, I found that rather than just fitting back into them, I have shrunk out of them…
Which is of course a pleasant change from the other way round; but it does involve quite a lot of “work”.

For one thing, because of limited wardrobe space, I could not just buy new clothes without also radically throwing out a lot of old ones. And what on earth was I to do with all those which no longer fit (and that I have no wish to fit back into)? Having no car, and a bad arm (not able to carry much), I would require help to take them to a charity shop (across town) …

One day a few weeks ago, while out walking in my neighbourhood, I was thinking about this and wishing for some place closer to home where I could leave them. Then, passing the recycling station on the estate where I live – which has hitherto only had recycling bins for paper, plastic, glass and metal – I happened to look up; and there, right in front of me, was a brand new container which must have been added this month. And it turned out to be for clothes; by courtsey of some environmental non-profit organisation. I don’t know much about them (I think they’re new), but I don’t really care. They have now got about half of my old wardrobe! … Which leaves me some room to go shopping!

On Thursday night this week, one of my favourite clothes shops in town had a special shopping night for members, after the usual closing time – with 25% discount on everything bought during those three hours. As among other things I needed a new winter coat, I decided this was worth a bit of queuing. I’ve never been to one of these club nights before, but it did indeed soon get very crowded… Phew! But it did save me around £45/$70. The items bought (that night) were the ones above.

That’s not the only shopping I’ve done this week. I also bought new shoes (not that I’ve shrunk out of my old ones – but I do tend to wear shoes out by walking).


However, even a new winter coat or good walking shoes seem fairly simple purchases compared to the major ordeal of the week, which was a vision examination followed by having to choose no less than four new spectacle frames (as just one pair of progressive glasses does not sufficiently cover all situations for me).

As anyone with bad eyesight (and not wearing contact lenses) knows,  choosing spectacle frames is an ordeal because one has to try on the frames without the correct lenses in them; which means not really being able to see properly how one looks in them.  And on top of that knowing that these frames will be part of one’s appearance every day over the next two or three years or more.

Have you noticed the change in spectacles fashion lately? I’ve actually been avoiding walking into opticians’ shops over the past few months (even though I knew I’d soon have to), because I was so afraid to find nothing but the kind of frames that seem to be turning up everywhere around me lately (especially on TV). That is: huge, thick, plastic ones, covering half the face. And I don’t want those!

(image courtesy of Google image search)
My apologies to anyone who happens to love them. They may of course look just awesome on you. I just don’t want them on myself!

Which is why, when I finally stepped inside a couple of weeks ago to make an appointment, I found myself in a big predicament, as the assistant behind the counter (offering to help me with a preliminary look at frames) was herself wearing a pair similar to those above. Only purple instead of yellow.

The predicament increased, when among the frames she picked out for me to try, were the very same big purple ones that she had on herself…

N.b. this was after my (obviously inefficient) attempts to make clear that I really did not want plastic frames at all, but was looking for metal ones similar in shape to the ones I’ve worn for the past 2½ years.


In my attempts to explain my reasons to the purple-framed shop assistant, one of the phrases I used was “been there, done that”… I doubt she understood what I meant, but I have proof:

IMG_0002 1977

(Any wonder I don’t want to go back there? This was 1977. I would not mind the better hair quality back, please – but not the glasses!!!)

I think she must have jinxed me or something, because contrary to my resolutions, I still ended up going home that day with three pairs of plastic frames that I did not like at all, on loan until my appointment this week.

By then I had come (back) to my senses, though. And luckily, it was also the optician herself, and not the assistant, who helped me make the final choices. And she seemed to agree with me (or at least had the professional skill to pretend to).

Which means all four of my new pairs will still be metal-framed ones of reasonable size. Actually the ones for allround use will be the exact same model as the ones I have now, only a slightly different colour. (I’ll show you when I get them.)


  1. I can relate to the glasses hunt, the last time i went, 18 months ago, i wanted to get the frameless ones and she said they don't make them any more, i ended up with a pair i HATE and don't wear them. so be sure you pick what you like...
    i like your new clothes and love that sweater in the middle. great that they put a place for you to donate your old ones... i know you are happy to be wearing smaller and new clothes. i would be ecstatic.

    1. What a shame you couldn't get the kind of (non)frames that you wanted. I really don't have the option not to wear mine, I need them every hour of the day. (Do you still wear your old ones instead?)

  2. You are so pretty in your younger picture (as you are now, too). But those glasses, they are awful!!! They are so huge and heavy for your sweet little face that you are almost totally obscured. It actually looks like if you tried to walk, you would fall flat on your face! Did you actually like them back then, or just following the trend of your friends? I can't wait to see the new ones, are they each a bit different? I love the purple sweater you bought, but I see no bottoms. Do all your pants and skirts still fit? How did you manage to lose all the weight? Will power? BRAVO!! I believe I will need new glasses next month. Due to the fact that cauterizing my nose has half blinded me. I would love to get a pair of the big yellow or purple ones just to put on my blog and shock you!!! But I, too, will stick with my usual, which is pretty much like yours.

    1. Ginny, I think at the time (in the late 70s and early 80s) I did not have much choice. For one thing big frames were all the fashion back then; there were also metal ones (but I think mostly either round or pilot ones) but I was told those were not an option for me as I needed very thick lenses. My eyesight also differs a lot between the eyes which with very thin frames would become weirdly obvious (one glass twice as thick as the other). I think it was not until the 1990s they were able to offer extra thin plastic lenses in metal frames. Since I got my first pair of those I've never wanted to go back to plastic ones (except for sun glasses that I put on top of my regular ones).

    2. The clothes shown in this post are just the ones I bought on the "club night", Ginny. As much as I can carry in one go, LOL :) Actually new jeans was the first item I found myself in need of, about a month ago. Since then I've bought two more pairs of trousers, various tops, and two skirts to wear with leggings (one of them which is knee-length I suppose I could also wear with thin tights/pantyhose). There are still a few of my old tops I can wear, and one or two skirts too (well at least they're still in my wardrobe).

  3. Monica, your trying to find specs that you like is something I can relate to so very well! I don't think we "knew" each other yet when I wrote about my method of choosing specs:
    I am still very happy with the choice I made then.
    The assistant at the shop should NEVER offer a customer the same specs as her own, unless that customer says "I like your specs, can I try on the same frame?", especially not when said customer has just explained that she does NOT want plastic frames.
    The new clothes look very nice, comfortable and soft, beautiful colours. And sounds like they were a good bargain, too!

    1. I went back to read your old post, Meike (I also found the post with the frames you finally chose - and I think you chose well!). Yes I did use the camera too; not in the shop as I was there alone (with the shop assistant hovering over me), but with the ones I took home on loan. (Which helped convince me that I really did not want any of them!)

  4. You chose some lovely clothes. Great colours.
    Now the saga of the glasses frames. I cheat. About six years ago I got new glasses and the frames really suit me. So each time I have new glasses I reuse those frames which were actually incredibly expensive anyhow. I have used this little strategy several times in the past because I hate choosing frames. I have almost no colour in my face any more and to have coloured frames looks bizarre. My frames now are plain silvery with a slight upturn to counteract the down-pointing wrinkles.

    1. I guess if you have really good quality frames it's possible to do that, Louise. Most shops here now have all-inclusive deals though. I suspect it might be even more expensive to re-use old frames than buy new ones... (I've not asked, as it did not come to that.)

  5. I agree with you about the glasses. For the most part I wear contact lenses, but still need "readers" to read close print. My regular glasses are bifocal and I like them small as I have a small face. Like you I had BIG glasses back in the 70's.
    Clothes shopping is always problematic for me and I prefer to do it online.

    1. I almost never shop clothes online as I don't trust sizes. I want to see and touch and preferably also try on before I buy. But then living in town it's not that hard for me to go shopping. I usually look in at my favourite shops every now and then rather than set aside a whole (or half) day for it.

  6. Good choice Monica. Large plastic ones just wouldn't have suited you (in my humble opinion). I do like the soft colours of your new wardrobe too.

  7. Thanks Graham. One of the advantages of buying several items the same season is that it makes it easier to colour-coordinate :)

  8. Shopping for new clothes....I'm there.
    To have the store cater to only members and then with an additional discount.....oh that was heaven. Love your cool autumn/winter colours, and then to top it all off with new lucky girl.
    Glad you were able to find the frames that you really liked. I don't like the big plastic kind either. However I do use plastic framed glasses for my reading fine print or working on my pc, like I'm wearing them right now.

  9. That must be a bit exiting for you...even if having to buy a new wardrobe is tedeous and also to buy new frames for the glasses. I am a bit late, catching up with blogs now on my week off work. Have a lovely week!


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