Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cheap Chic(ks)

I saw this article today '5 Reasons why we are now shopping at Walmart'...I thought before I read it "What, I thought everyone always has"? The article goes on to discribe how Target has slashed prices, and Walmart's fleeting stocks seem to be rising with the recession lately. What in the world...even if I could not afford to by high end clothes which I draw the line at J. C. Penny's with the price of clothing as I get older. No designer labels in my closet, EVER, unless you consider Lane Bryant designer. Shoes are a different story, and only because I have a high in step and comfort became necessary after having two kids and the old dogs go flat.

I was brought up with minimal possessions in my room as a girl, on or off my back. There was the bed I shared with my little and oldest sister. I slept at the end with my feet in their faces, so I could turn the box fan towards my head, so I could drown out my parents fighting almost nightly, and because we did not have air conditioning, and I swear I had high blood pressure like I do now at twelve! Our clothes were folded and ironed, but lay in one half of a drawer of the one dresser we owned in the hallway. Our shoes were lined up under each one of the four beds that fit into the large one bedroom duplex we lived in. Yes, four beds, two parents, seven kids.

With those numbers my mom made everyone's clothes, so therefore we all wore elastic waist pants and matching tops like everyone else in the house. A few dresses if we were lucky to wear to mass each Sunday. They were jumpers that you wore over a shirt. Being the second to the youngest of the household I also wore hand me three times down. Two older girl cousins that lived in Fort Worth had nicer things that I got when the older siblings moved. By then I was in the sixth grade and hiphuggers had come and gone. Took a few years but I finally got a pair from the cousins along with some mid-drifts, and a padded bikini that was a faded pink and green polk a dot (my dad never let me wear, and it mysteriously disappeard).

I wore that out fit so proudly to my first day of junior high school. Walking around sucking in my already skinny stomach so that the top did not show to much, that is until on the playground the assistant principle saw me hitting the tether ball and realized I had broken the 'no middrift' or 'hip hugger' clothing rule that came about the years before I came on the scene. The pre-sleeze free love hippy era ruined it for me! Getting called to come pick me up from school that day sent my mom into a frenzy as she marched me into Levin's for a pair of wrangler jeans, so I would not wear the other ones to school again. They became my weekend warriors, and eventually I wore them out, and I had learned to hand stitch in home economics so a mushroom patch showed up on the rear. When I turned fifteen those also mysteriously disappeared, and I think my mom passed them off to my first boyfriend who then found a home for them in a local dumpster behind his job at the El Chico.

Oh the memories of my cheap chic fashion through out the years. Finally when my children came along, I too was the queen of my portable Singer. The three of us wore outfits that matched. McCall's Easy Breezy Patterns that turned those jumpers, vests, elastic waist and all into my own private crazy designer fashion statement. Walmart's had started to pop up in every city down south, and Levin's, Ben Franklin's, Woolworth, M. E. Moses and now K-Mart has slowly disappeared. Except in our memories. Wally world became the new cheap chic in our when my son announced he would not wear those home made elastic waist pants and shorts I had made him.

I found myself realizing that my parents had done the best they could and were not as cheap and trashy as I felt growing up. I had also discovered the fine art of a thrift store. You know tags still on those Osh Cosh Be Gosh, and designer woman's fashion that the rich or shopaholics just tossed aside when they became bored with their closets. No boredom in this house. I still am wearing the stretch pants that were fashionable I bought at Walmart over ten years ago. Sure they have a few holes I have had to stitch up in between the legs and on the rear, but most of the time I wear a chef's outfit to my job. If we go out I have a few nice things that I have purchased through gift cards I strategically get from the mom-in-law for Christmas and my birthday for the outlet Lane Bryant.

Ahhhhhh, just give me those old comfortable clothes that stretch out of shape and still fit me like a glove, oh and Walmart sells the fishing license that hubby and I use every year for my revisit of childhood memories of spending time at the cheap chic family time and vacations I had growing up... As long as we are happy who cares where it all comes from?

I wrote this for Alexis AKA Mom, to whom I feel is the most beautiful 'Cheap Chic' and semi-homemade doll I know! Plus I cannot help thinking of that photo that was taken in Walmart...the one where the girl has on a yellow see through dress with no panties on...try on the clothes before buying them, and purchase some undies...I hear Walmart has a sale on under garments at least once a month!


Anonymous said...

I definitely think it's possible to be cheap and chic.

I think money looks nicer in my son's college fund than hanging in my closet. (I love Penny's sales.)

Alexis AKA MOM said...

MUAH ... it's so funny you posted this. One of the engineers wife came in for lunch and we had lunch and she mentioned she was going to Wal-Mart. I mentioned how when I wrote about wal-mart it hit a nerve. WE both looked at each other and said we know they are evil but we're poor and have to go were we can get more for our precious dollar! These days it's harder and harder. But I must say I do a lot of shopping at Target also, but they don't have a huge food section like my super wal-mart. So sorry girls, sometimes you got to do what you got to do!

HUGS for the shout out you ROCK!!! Much love coming you way!!

Debra said...

I love WalMart! And some of my favorite clothes I wear are hand me downs from my girlfriends!

Anonymous said...

We've found some pretty great things in thrift stores and even garage sales. The sales at discount places like that have skyrocketed unlike regular stores!

Jeanne said...

Like you, I'm one of 7 kids, and the 4th girl, so I grew up in hand-me-downs. I was so skinny I always wore diaper pins at the waistbands of my skirts to keep them from falling off. I buy too many clothes now, and I know it's that little waif trying to make up for years of looking pitiful.