Dear Readers, welcome to the Fires of Hell-AKA late summer on the Eastern Coast of the United States, where we are sweltering like hogs. I was remembering a quote my Grandmother used to say—“Horses sweat, men perspire, but ladies just glow”. Well, I was glowing like a firecracker! And the thought of donning actual clothing was repugnant; what to do? SHOP!
Yes, the best way to live through horrible heat waves AND retain some dignity while venturing out of the house is Equipping Oneself For The Battle—and what could possibly be better than shopping (in air-conditioning!) for some flirty little dresses?! So here’s what I did.
As I had forgotten to acquire massive amounts of money in my life, I headed for—the THRIFT SHOPS! Now, you may be saying “But I am nervous about shopping for ladies clothes as a. . .well, you know, guy. . . ” I am here to help.
First thing to realize is that hardly anybody actually cares! And if they do, I have some strategies for you.
- Take a big shopping bag, with random names on paper, attached to safety pins, and if given shade, say you are costuming a show and are looking for specific character clothes.
- You are shopping for a sick relative who cannot do it for herself.
- Halloween is coming! Lookin’ for costumes.
- The Vulcan Death Stare.
Second, have a Plan! Know what you are looking for, and take your measurements first. I’m going with summer dresses here. Most decent thrift shops have items arranged by size—Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large/Plus size. The advantage for Plus Size is shoulders—if you have typical gentleman shoulders, you want to consider that in purchasing. THIS is where the measurements AND a handy tape measure comes in! Measure across the back of the shoulders, from armhole/seam to seam. Measure the dress. If your shoulders are, say, 17 inches across, you will want the dress to measure at least that much—a half to an inch more is good.
Next, measure the bust—the chest at the widest part of the top of the dress, right under the armhole/sleeve seam. It should be about an inch wider than you are, so you have room to move. Continue with the waist and hips. If sleeves are involved, measure the arm length as compared to yours—leave an inch or so longer.
In hot weather, natural fabrics are your friend. They allow air in and out, so you don’t wilt into a sweaty heap. Rayon, which is made of cellulose/wood fibers, is wonderful! Cotton, linen and silk are also great, for the same reason. Fake fabrics, such as polyester, are poured into sheets of “cloth”, and do not allow natural ventilation to keep you cool. And they hold smells. EEuw.
Salvation Army and Goodwill are usually very well-organized and easy to shop—and always check labels! Smalls can migrate into the Large section, so be careful. Look also for great resale shops, and ones operated by various charities are wonderful, yet more scarce since the Pandemic—but look for them.
Happy Summer and stay cool!