The Symbolism of a Frozen Pizza
A Minute to Myself (185)

I Have Nothing to Wear: Summer Clothes Department

It’s supposed to be in the 80’s outside today, but I’m dressing the same as when it’s in the 50’s. Besides the fact that the air conditioning makes summertime the time for sweaters and the heater in the winter makes it time for tee shirts, I just don’t seem to have any summer clothes. And it’s not just a question of not wanting to expose myself and the world to my fat arms, it’s a money thing. (By the way, I just saw a picture of Julia Roberts, whose name I temporarily forgot in acknowledgment of some kind of age thing happening in and to my mind, and her arms were definitely not toned.)

It’s quite interesting to watch the clothing happenings in the English Department these days. There are the teachers who have summer dresses from the nostalgic time when Little House on the Prairie dresses were in. Well, they were never in in Northern Virginia, no matter what you think we are not that hick here, so please, please save the rest of us teachers from the mockery by retiring those dresses and donating them to the National Archives down the road.

Then there are the teachers who don’t depend on just their income for support, you can tell who they are because they have new clothes at each turn of the season, and then, perhaps, a few times in the season. One teacher had on a lovely new sweater, tee shirt, Capri pants and sandals today. Not only did she look lovely, but she looked new. Looking new is the thing that I miss, okay, not quite miss because I was never there, but long to look. I’d love a wardrobe that is not enhanced by one or two new things every six months, but by a wardrobe that is enhanced by one or two old things in amongst the new. Mind you I am not an acquirer, but it seems every woman’s right, for at least a part of her life, to be able to be in style and/or feel in style and/or not feel tired like her clothes. 

There are two teachers who seem to have stock in Ann Taylor and who, between the two of them, have wrapped themselves in every shirt and dress style that has hit the mannequins. I shall not turn green or snippy and so will respond simply by saying that I prefer Banana Republic. But seriously, what’s with the matchy matchy everyday? Even their shoes must come from there, it’s all such a look. New I want, but without the adherence to catalog.

Then there is the teacher (I will refrain from commenting on the fact that she is from the South because that might seem unseemly) who favors colorful floral prints. Yes, I understand in the bayou you need to make sure the alligator (or is it a crocodile) can spot you, but up here we don’t have that type of predator. But I do marvel at her ability to always find prints, since I am having such a hard time to break out of the solids on-top mode since the choices are the aforementioned florals and swirls (I don’t look good in swirls) and perhaps a check or two. No wonder white, solid white, is my top of choice.

Which brings me to my clothing dilemma: not only do I not have money for a new wardrobe, I can’t even find a shirt that fits nicely and have a print for which I can use my $25 gift card that I received from a student. (Validation from a third grader!) Maybe it’s good that I don’t have the money to spend because I would just waste it on more whites. Maybe I shouldn’t have just peeked through some pictures at, but should have kept focused on something really useful, like skimming through an article at www.dailykos.combecause now I am getting green. Green for so many things. Could this be because I am finally getting out of this hellhole and so I need new things to tempt and torment my brain, is this a sign that I am doing well and am able to move onto vanity, or is it just that I am plain tired and need to focus out of the inside and into the outside? Or do I really want to look different on the outside, do I need an overhaul out there just like I have done with the inside?



Hit the second hand stores and consignment shops! What I always buy new are pants, but skirts, tops, etc? Look through the shops, many items will still have the tag on them. It's a great way to update a wardrobe without breaking the bank - when you get your first book published, then you can go on a New York shopping spree. Until then improvise!


I sympathize - how to be stylish on a budget, how to turn the "new life" into a "new look." My problem is compounded by the fact I hate clothes shopping. (Thank God jeans are all season...)

Liz A.

Shopping on a budget takes real effort and always keeping an eye out at the sales rack. Shopping takes practice and I can understand anyone who hates it.

I totally understand wanting a new look, and I know it can be done on a budget. I redid my whole wardrobe when I started college and when I married, but that was a necessity of the jump in 4 dress sizes. It just takes considerably more time unforutnately... and always ask for help. Sales people really can provide good picks you wouldn't normally try on. I literally walk in and say something like, "This is what I want to spend on this piece of clothing. Can you help me pick out a few things?" Might not work at Nordstroms, but it will at Dillards.


As Beth says, it is tough to be stylish on a budget, but I do a lot of thrift store shopping. I look for labels I like and have gotten some amazing finds.

The teachers where you live dress up for school compared to the teachers here. Most of my son's middle school teachers wear jeans, even flip-flops. I'm not kidding. They're a very relaxed group. The older teachers dress a little better.


Hi there!

The last sentence in your piece really caught my eye because it seems to me that the issue here might be less about "money", and more about "congrency".

It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out that you have spent more time focused on your inward "appearance" than your outer one...for whatever reason...and then have come back to look around you and go, "OK...THIS doesn't match anymore!"

I've often felt that incongrency....only about how I spend my time (to earn a living) more so than my appearance (although I totally relate to your dilemma here on so many levels! LOL)

Why do you think you need to change from your solid tops to something floral??? That really caught my attention!

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

rockync, I've gotten some things from consignment shops but they're always that unknown woman's, it never felt like mine. Not that it needs to, but it felt different. I'd rather find my own at TJMaxx. Still a bargain.

Beth, for dress-down Friday I can do jeans, but the other days of the week I need to dress up a notch. And one Miss Ann Taylor is right across the hall from me and the other shares my room with me. Yeah, you wear peep toe shoes all the time while I wear my comfy shoes and it won't impact me a bit. Ha.

Liz A., sales ladies, I can't take their fake smiles. No, I go alone. Lately I have been trying on tops that I normally wouldn't go to--and I buy them. I like looking different than I have before.

JC, we dress down on Fridays in our school shirts, but other than than, we look like very casual office workers or even people going about their lives. I love not having to wear a polyester suit.

Grace, it's not that I'm a floral girl, which I'm not, but there really aren't many pattern choices. Seriously, I look at my closet and go ugh, so much plainness. I don't feel plain and I don't want to look plain. Lately I have gone very purple; the shirt that I got last was orange and brown and I can't even describe the pattern but the neck, oh yes, it scoops.

Incongrency, if that means when not all flows as if from the same place, indeed.


Yeah I don't think they are helping themselves by honering Little House. the died years ago so it's time to let it go. What's next? The Happy Days collection?

There's got to be some stores out there that have some bargain basement prices for summer clothes. OR, stick it out this season and storm the stores when the summer clothes get marked down. that's the way to go. Pennies on the dollar sometimes.


I'm the second hand store shopper queen. I have some gorgeous designer label clothing from them. Grace's point of view of incongrency makes sense to me. Can you maybe just accessorise until you're permanently in your new home where you can start discovering the new free you, and start bargain hunting or saving for something exquisite from there.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Ricardo, today the main Praire teacher (who just finished graduate school--after working a few years between college and grad school) admitted that the shirt she is wearing is from high school. Ladies--please. A tee shirt at Old Navy is a pretty inexpensive staple. My mother taught me to shop the designer for less stores--I look for the non-designers there.

Brigit, I found two shirts at TJ Maxx (a discount store) that I am pleased with. Accessories, now that's something that I have rarely managed to get to, it takes more excitement in life, I think. Hopefully I'll be there soon.

wholesale clothing

As long as you can mix and match, styling is not a problem.
Thanks for sharing.


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