It is official. I am no longer cool. My “previously enjoyed” clothes have been rejected by a store clerk who has more ear piercings than I have hands and feet. Talk about humiliation!
It all started a few years ago when I combined trips to shows at Portland Center Stage [a super form of respite I highly recommend] with visits to Buffalo Exchange. I would bring bags of clothing that no longer fit me - either they shrank, I grew, or both. Buffalo Exchange is a used clothing store chain that “recycles” up-to-the-minute fashion by buying and reselling items. Unlike consignment stores, Buffalo Exchange examines clothes on-the-spot, and offers either cash or store credit.
On my previous trips, at least half of my items were accepted, and I received store credit in return. It was a win-win for sure, and I found some great, fun casual duds. But last Sunday NONE of my clothes were accepted. Ah, the indignity of having a hipster store manager tell me “We’re passing on these but thanks for coming in.” Is it time for Coldwater Canyon and Charter Club? Elastic waistbands and Naturalizers ? Yikes!
Despite this setback, I nonetheless sifted through the Buffalo Exchange racks, in the hopes of using up my remaining credit. After trying on various shirts, pants and jackets, I became increasingly frustrated. I couldn’t find anything that fit well and didn’t make me look like I was trying – unsuccessfully – to look like I was 26 again. I had this odd feeling of déjà vu and recalled that I felt this way the LAST time I tried to use my credit. I had always thought of shopping as fun, but it was starting to become an unwanted body image experiment.
That’s when I decided the time had come to match what I wear to where I’m at. While inside I am still a 19-year old buying carpenter pants in the East Village, the rest of me has to leave Buffalo Exchange and Urban Outfitters behind. I am ready for Chicos and shoes that don’t cause me to writhe in pain after walking two blocks [Sofft suede mules, I’m talking to you].
MORE magazine has a useful column with tips for midlife dressing called “What to wear the rest of your life.” I am going to start paying more attention to that one! The columns can also be found on-line. I also suggest this rule of thumb: Only shop in stores where the clerks are no more than ten years younger than you.
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