Growing up where did your family buy its clothes?
This question came to mind, the other day, thanks to the suggestion of a friend in response to a very real need I have to find some way to affordably change my wardrobe for health reasons.
In the tropical heat and humidity of Houston I sweat a lot when I exert myself via a lot of walking or cycling, even at work if the air conditioner isn't cool enough or not working.
This has led, over the past couple of years, especially from May thru October, to severe itching and heat rash in what I call my "south 40”.
Prescription Ketoconazole Cream (2%) helps fight the problem but the dark skin discoloration remains so I will be seeing a Dermatologist, in Sept., to see what else I can do.
In the meantime there IS something I can do to help my own cause; change my wardrobe.
It has been some time since my last major wardrobe filling expedition and, aside from my tight-fitting briefs and a handful of T-shirts and my socks, 6 dark blue work shirts and 2 dark-colored pairs of short pants none of my clothes are 100% cotton. Only the T's and briefs are light-colored (white/mostly white). My work pants are Khaki colored and barely half cotton.
Googling and reading has led me to realize that 100% cotton and light colors are cooling ways to fight the heat and sweating.
What to buy, where to buy it cheaply then becomes the questions I need to answer and when my friend suggested Goodwill memories from my childhood, teens and 20's, in the 70's & 80's, returned.
Beginning in the early 70's my mother was a single parent with a son about to venture forth from elementary school to middle school, one daughter who was in elementary school and another who had yet to make the transition from toddler to kindergarten.
Mom didn't work, relying for 17 yrs. on govt. disability checks (I had a mentally disabled father, meaning us kids qualified until we turned 18), food stamps, and extra money earned under the table via helping neighbors and making pies and booties and blankets and canning.
She found creative, affordable, ways to stretch this money to keep us clothed and fed and buy other things as needed...and when I was old enough I got my first credit cards to help out.
Goodwill (eventually closed after a medical college took over that end of the mall and currently with 2 locations in Pomona) and House of Ruth, on opposite ends of the 2nd street mall in Old Town Pomona, Ca., Salvation Army on Mission (relocated to Holt and eventually closed), and Veteran's Thrift and its neighbor, on Garey, south of Mission, along with other such places in San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont, Montclair, Upland, and Ontario were where we mostly walked to and from to shop for clothes and household items and I even built up my earliest book collections, .
Sometimes we took the bus to places too far to walk but, when you have all day Saturday and Sunday to do what you have to do, a 6 to 15 mile, or more, round trip walk was no big deal.
We also haunted garage and yard sales and Farmer's Markets, as well as stores such as Gemco and Zody's, and the like, looking for cheap deals.
We carried our bags home and, if that meant walking, we took things slow, resting a few minutes as needed along the way.
What does this mean to me all these years later?
If I am going to put together a new , cooler to wear, wardrobe, I want to save money doing so and even though thrift store prices may have risen a bit, since the 80’s, the savings are still there to find, I believe, if I am lucky and can find the time to shop around.
In just Houston, alone, there are 30 Goodwill stores, most of which I think I can reach by bus and there are more stores in the suburbs that I can’t reach.
In just Houston, alone, there are 5 Salvation Army stores and a few more in the suburbs.
A Google for “Thrift Stores Houston” turned up 4 pages of results from which to find those reachable by bus.
The shopping opportunities are out there… it is only a matter of being able to afford to get out and about and shop.