Wednesday, December 2, 2020

What, This Old Thing?

 Julia Spencer-Fleming: I got the Christmas season Talbots catalogue the other day, and tossed it on top of its LL Bean, Boden and J Crew sisters on my special catalogue library, aka, the shelf by the toilet. I confess, I love clothing catalogues, which style outfits in ways you usually don't see on their websites, which concentrate on zooming in and giving you the front and back of every single item. (The days of purchasing from the catalogues themselves is long gone, though I understand you can still call LL Bean and get a friendly, helpful Mainer to take your order.)

Usually, this time of year, I'm circling items and letting the kids know I'd love this sweater or that scarf. Or in stores, while shopping for others, I'd snap outfits I like and share the picture in our group chat. (When Ross was alive, I'd send the picture to one of the girls, who would physically take him to the store and guide him to the item. Thanks, girls!) I LOVE winter clothing, and let's face it, winter lasts a long time here in Maine. Show me some red and black checked pants or a cardigan with a fur collar, and I'm a happy woman.

But this year?

Nuthin'.


I mean, I asked for some heavy-duty socks to wear when walking the dog, and a new pair of gloves because I never seem to keep both together for more than two years in a row. But a sparkling sweater perfect for wearing to the symphony? Don't need it. Adorable half-boots for meeting friends for brunch? Don't need those. New earrings? Forget it, they just get tangled in my mask.

It's amazing to realize how few clothes you really need when you never go anywhere. I have a Zoom shirt - what else am I going to wear to dress up? I have yoga pants and flannel pajama bottoms and knit leggings for indoors, and jeans for dogwalking and working outside. I look at Talbots adorable plaid ankle length pants, but even at 50% off...


Besides, who wants to wear a waistband in the house?

I suppose the real lesson is that I never did need twenty pairs of pants and thirty shirts and I-can't-even-count how many sweaters. I wonder, when this is all over, if we'll all become a bit minimalist when it comes to our wardrobes. Maybe we can emulate the French, who famously have a few pieces of clothing of excellent quality. When putting my summer clothes in the attic and bringing down my winter things, an annual ritual for cold-weather climes, I realized I had THREE pairs of black dress trousers. Why? I picked one and put the other two on the Goodwill pile.


So despite the allure of cute and cozy winter knits, there will be no clothes on my Christmas wish list. With quarantine stretching out until at least the summer, and perhaps longer, I simply can't justify the expense (not to mention the eternal issue of storage space.) I work at home, I walk the dog, I got those covered.

Although I did see an amazing set of cashmere lounging pajamas...

How about you, dear readers? Is your wardrobe growing, shrinking, or maintaining?

135 comments:

  1. As far as my wardrobe goes, I certainly don’t need to add anything to the stuff I already have, so I don’t even bother to look at the catalogues any more. I’ve plenty of sit-at-home stuff already so I guess I’m simply maintaining. [Besides, shopping for stuff for the grandbabies is ever so much more fun] . . . .

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    1. I think I'll be waiting a while for that phase, Joan!

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    2. Something to look forward to, then! :)

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  2. I have also done the swapping of summer/fall to winter clothes from my trunk, Julia, and it makes me realize how little of these clothes I actually wear each year. Isn't the stat something like most women wear only 20% of their wardrobe?

    Fortunately, I did a big purge of clothes with donations to the Salvation Army store last year so I do not have many duplicates.

    And despite the tempting allure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, I did NOT buy any clothes, so I am in maintaining mode this holiday season.

    Of course, I bought more books, though. That shopping is always out of control!

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    1. Books, always, yes! I'm still reading so so slowly, but that doesn't keep me from accumulating new books:)

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    2. Exactly, Lucy! My TBR mountain is in the 1000s but I perk up when I see a book sale!

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    3. That's because you don't need more clothing, but you ALWAYS need something new to read!

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    4. Ha ha, that is how I convince myself, Julia, about the book purchases!

      I should say that the ONE clothing item I need to buy is a new BELT.
      Unlike others, COVID caused me to LOSE weight.
      I can tell that my winter pants bought last year are baggy/saggy around the waist which means I dropped at least 1 dress size from 2019.

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    5. Grace, so glad to hear there is someone else with saggy, baggy pants! Envy you needing a new belt...all my belts still work as they are the slide through the rings sort.

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  3. I am sort of in the middle. I am retired and stuck at home, so definitely wear a more minimalist wardrobe. But I've sadly gained weight, so had to replace some of the essentials. And I will, in fact, need to look presentable in person now and then in the coming months so bought two pair of (very on sale) pants and a pair of everyday-but-nice-enough-to-get-away-with winter shoes to replace my old, ratty ones. But no, nothing fun and super cute just because....

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    1. Kerry, I think the pandemic pounds have snuck up on me as well, because I noticed several pairs of pants from last winter had gotten mysteriously tighter while stored away over the summer!

      Replacing always falls into the 'necessary' category. It's also, for some reason, the LEAST fun shopping there is. I wonder why?

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  4. I ordered a pair of yoga pants on Black Friday that I'm kind of excited about. They have pockets, and are supposed to look nice enough that you can wear them out into the world, even though they are, essentially, pajama pants.

    I bought some nice sweaters last year, at end-of-season closeout prices, and kept them until now, assuming I would be going to an office. I wear them for Zoom meetings (with the pajama pants, because who looks below the neck now?) but I'm leery of wearing them around the house for too long because the dogs come in muddy and the cats like to knead. I don't want my "good" clothes to look like I spend all my time with four dogs and three cats. I mean, I ought to look sharp as I sit in my car, avoiding all contact during my weekly grocery pickup, right?

    Clothing? Not so much, but I do still scour the catalogs for challenging jigsaw puzzles.

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    1. By the way, in my post over on The Weird Blog (Weird Sisters Publishing), I'm talking about bookmarks today, so Reds Jenn, Debs, and Annette Dashofy got some cover exposure. Check it out!

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    2. Gigi, please give the internet address for that blog. Thanks.

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    3. Enjoyed that, Gigi! I am not a book monster and usually use book marks or reasonable facsimiles. What is fun is to get a book from the library and find out there is a slip of paper left in, maybe a shopping list, maybe something a bit more intriguing.

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    4. Judy, https://weirdsisterspublishing.com/index.php/the-weird-blog/

      Gigi, I asked authors to send bookmarks for my Little Free Library, and go a huge response.

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    5. Sorry to be so late getting back to you ladies. Judy, I've reposted the blog to my Facebook personal page and author page, but Karen is right with the link she posted above.

      Judi, so glad you enjoyed it. I like finding odd stuff too. Once I found a Southwest Airlines boarding pass, and my sister remembers finding a $50 savings bond. No bacon or cheese, though.

      Karen, thanks for posting the link. I dropped several books at the Little Free Library around the corner just yesterday. My books aren't physical, but if you want some bookmarks, I'll ask my sister to send you some. Um . . . I think you can message me through my GS Norwood, author page on Facebook.

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    6. I'm a marker, Gigi, and I enjoyed reading your blog about bookmarks. I CANNOT believe anyone would put either a slice of cheese or a slice of bacon into a book to keep their place. yuck! I sometimes have to resort to a random piece of something, but more usually I use one of my own homemade collages as a placeholder. My current one is a pretty little pic from an English gardening magazine that shows a doorway surrounded by a lovely vine; I glue it onto a small piece of light cardboard and, voila, book mark!

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    7. Gigi, I love the blog, and I'm going to start using the term "Quitter Sticks!"

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    8. Gigi, loved the blog!! And thanks for the cover exposure!! Sadly, I think the elastic died on all my pretty beaded bookmarks...

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    9. So glad you enjoyed it, Amanda and all! I loved "Quitter Strips," too, Julia. I'm pretty sure my elastic is dead as well, Debs, but Sharon is still making them, so maybe we can get her to retrofit?

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  5. I never have been much of a shopper, so that's not an issue. I've been wearing my three pairs of stretchy pants since my hand surgery, but they're getting tired (they weren't new six weeks ago, either), so maybe I need to find some of Gigi's with pockets. (Also, Gigi, what are you doing up so early in Texas?)

    So I guess the answer is my wardrobe is static but getting older. For now, that's fine with me.

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    1. Ah, pockets are essential, aren't they, Edith? So the answers to your questions are Duluth Trading Company NoGa pants, and Insomnia. Also, the tree guys are supposed to come today, but I'm not sure when. Speaking from behind far more than a fringe of hair, I've got to wonder how come the trees get a trim, but I can't bring myself to do the same?

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    2. Gigi, you’ve just brought the first smile to my day. Oh, the inequity of trimmed trees and untrimmed bangs! Happy Wednesday.

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    3. and my puppy got a haircut too! she's better groomed than I am now...

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    4. Gigi, maybe the tree guy can give you a quick spruce-up with a pair of secaturs? :-)

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  6. Well, nope, having to be home so much has not shifted my wardrobe. Not getting dressed to be able to leave the house is just not an option. I live in a 5 building condo complex and have to go out to pick up the mail at one end of the drive and dump the trash at the other. Also, not getting dressed, not taking a shower, not making the bed are a sure signs that “the black dog” is rising up. And I don’t want to spend any time with it.
    Have purged clothes this year because of being home — been retired 10 years, just am never going to wear that black skirted suit again. Have added clothes that make me happy— two summer dresses and two winter sweaters.
    Advice (unsolicited): Wear what makes you feel the best and enjoy!

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    1. Good advice, Elisabeth!

      I have been retired for 4 years now and it is great that I don't have to wear any office attire. But I have still kept it all for a few reasons.

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    2. Thanks, Grace. I kept most of my office clothes for quite a while “just because”. The black suit was the last of it.

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    3. Ahhh, well I continue to keep my office attire since my late mother designed and sewed all my suits and several of my blouses. She passed away in 2003 and I can't fit into some of the suits anymore but I keep them for sentimental reasons.

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    4. Sentimental reasons are perfectly fine! I have three zip up bathrobes of my mothers in my closet - they don't fit me (my mom was a size 6) but they're so quintessentially 'her' I couldn't let them go. Every time I see them, I can see her bustling around the kitchen of a morning or relaxing in the evening with a glass of wine.

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    5. Julia, I have made throw pillow covers out of garments of late relatives.

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    6. Oh, Grace, how lovely to have your mother’s care for you hanging in the closet.(( ))

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  7. Given how much I hate shopping for clothes, it might come as a surprise that I've actually been buying some articles of clothing recently. And considering buying a few other things.

    Since most of my wardrobe additions consist of concert T-shirts, it has been a down year for doing that. I only saw three shows and didn't buy a T-shirt at any of them (I really should've bought a UFO, the band not the alien kind, shirt though).

    However, the place where I buy most of my clothes is going out of business by Christmas Eve. So I went there and picked up a couple pairs of pants. I wear the same kind of pants all the time so stocking up on them when I don't know where I'll be able to buy them once the store closes seems like a good idea. I have to go back for underwear and socks if they have any left when I do.

    And I get the Fat Ass catalog in the mail. Okay, yes it is technically really called King Size but really it is just for us guys who aren't skinny as hell. My mom used to get me Christmas gift clothing items from there and I have bought from them on my own since her passing. Last year I got a couple of new coats and with some incredibly judicious discounts and coupons I paid less than $100 bucks for jackets that they usually charge $150-$180 bucks each.

    Now I'm considering buying a pair of boots through them. So I'd say that my wardrobe is maintaining. Nothing is considered fashionable but it keeps me from being cold in the winter and from being arrested for indecent exposure.

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    1. Two thumbs up for buying multiples, Jay. When you find a basic you like and that looks good, it only makes sense to stock up, especially if the store might not be there the next time you need a new pair of pants/shirt/sweater.

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  8. I love this post! I began working from home in 2006 so my work wardrobe morphed to yoga pants, tee shirts, and sweat shirts then. This was pre-Zoom, of course. When everyone began working from home I did have to upgrade the upperwear! That said, I love Talbots and J. Crew, the catalogues that is. It's so much fun to look at them and see what's new.

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    1. Love 'upgrade the upperwear'. If you don't mind, I'm gonna use that!

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    2. LOL - I don't mind at all!

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  9. I love the plaid picture , my eyes are always attracted by checked clothing but there is been a long time since I bought one.

    I don't look at catalogs paper or online. I hate shopping. As far as I remember, I didn't buy a piece of clothes since
    I retired two years ago and don't intend to buy some anytime soon. I only bought a needed pair of winter boots.
    What I need now are warm new slippers for the cold season , mine are finished.

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    1. Yes, warm slippers and boots are a must for our long winters, Danielle.

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    2. I have a recommendation! LL Bean Lodge Chukkas. They're not cheap, but they're super warm and they last for years. They cover your ankle so they're really warm, and the soles are tough enough to wear when you walk out to the mail box or have to grab something from the car.

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    3. Danielle, one of the items I bought from Talbot's last week was a pair of houndstooth check cord pants. I'm just so BORED with plain stuff.

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  10. I did a small purge of things in the summer and bought five new pairs of leggings. A few new comfy sweater/fleece things for (to replace a couple of the things I purged). Last summer I bought a few new t-shirts.

    But "real" clothes? Ha! Like you I have some nice looking things for Zoom, a few shirts/slacks/skirts to wear when I sing at church and really, what else do I need? Especially since I work from home even when there ISN'T a pandemic going on.

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    1. I discovered a Norwegian company named Onepiece. They sell onesies for adults. The cut is a little odd, the crotch is low - I guess to provide for easy mobility - but the item is warm and cuddly and since my office is located in our basement - that's very welcome indeed. I bought two, one for normal weather and one for when the temps get below zero. They wash beautifully.

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    2. Ack... onesies. My bathroom is never warm enough for a onesy.

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    3. Not wild about the idea of a onesie - I'm the sort of person to get twisted up trying to get out of it and wind up pitching myself into the toilet. But I do love two-piece long johns. You can get them slim enough so you can wear even close-fitting clothing over and no one can tell.

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    4. I have numerous thermal underwear tops and bottoms for a prolonged Ottawa winter (-30 to 40C/F) but I have never tried any silk ones, Edith!

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    5. Grace, the silk ones are my favorites. I can wear them under the skinniest clothes and they are super warm.

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    6. OK, good to get positive feedback from both you and Edith, Judy. Now I just have to do some online searching...

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    7. My husband gives a big thumbs up for silk long underwear from his days of winter Boy Scout camping.

      Julia and Hallie - I don't think I could do a onesie either!

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  11. This morning it is 44 degrees on Nome Street. This means it is 46 degrees inside my home, insulation was not a priority when the house was built. Accordingly, my wardrobe has shifted from no clothes to lotsa layers of clothes. The pleasant discovery with the winter clothes is changing the way we eat is working. A new size means unpacking a section of clothes from days of yore; while doing cardio typing to keep warm. Fingers needing gloves. so signing off.

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    1. Congratulations on the weight loss, Coralee! How's the hearing upgrade coming?

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    2. Stay warm, Coralee! Signed, someone typing this while wearing a wool shawl over a wool sweater.

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    3. Sitting at my desk in socks, heavy sweatpants, thermal shirt, hoodie, with a blanket over my lap and the space heater on!

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  12. Julia, yes, yes, yes! Literally, just before I read this I was looking at on sale, high quality and cute-print flannel shirts in a Lands End catalogue, and finally admitting I don't need another one. And definitely don't need cashmere sweaters, really on sale, because...do I go anyplace where I could wear one? I do not. I enjoy looking through catalogues, too, perfect activity to go with a cup of tea, but what's the point? The clothes are now for my "alternate" (fantasy) life, the one where I go to chic brunches. :-)

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    1. Triss, Land's End almost had me, because their winter things are genuinely warm (which I always need) and their prices are SO LOW right now. But, yeah, I regretfully passed on the cashmere as well.

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    2. Lands End is a go-to for me. The sweater-fleece tunic I have on now is from them and it is super warm. I have found, however, that I have to go to their website; if I wait to see something in the catalog, all the fun/cute colors are gone in my size. And a lot of their catalogs have been heavy on the "comfortable" style of clothing in the past months.

      I did, however, look longingly at the cashmere sweaters in the new one - but what do I need it for?

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  13. Julia, I love today's blog topic and I could dive in here and wallow all morning. I still receive dozens of paper catalogues over the course of the season and there are still days when I will just sit with my favorites and contemplate what I can afford, what I really will use and how it will look on me. But, it is too frustrating now for several reasons, the primary being, we aren't going anywhere.

    The seasons change here, too, and swapping the winter/fall stuff for summer/spring is one of my big endeavors every 6 months or so (depending on when/if spring actually arrives). Last March I only did a semi-swap and now I will assess what really needs to be done before I put any energy into it.

    We live in LLBean clothes and once upon a time I could order my size and it fit. Now, I don't really have a size anymore (what a waist!) and Bean isn't as dependable size wise either. (I do call them Julia and they are the best at customer service of anyone.) Still, that is where I always begin my clothes shopping. Both Irwin and I will be getting new blue jeans from the weekend sale and he will be getting a very yummy sweater for Chanukah.

    Otherwise, I have spent a ton of money on books, Audible and Kindle. Amazon knows more about me than they should. I really do want Nordstrom's to be there when this is over, but what use do I have for designer handbags right now?

    There are many items of clothing here that will never fit again and I should give them away, but I know I'll never see those fabrics again and that makes me very sad. I may bring the ones with some volume to the seamstress and see if she can figure a way to use the gorgeous stuff again. Otherwise, the biggest purge is yet to be.

    Lastly, I really want a pair of winter walking boots with good treads and would have been happy to shop the sales at REI and Bean and even Land's End but I can't try boots on until all the swelling is gone on my right foot. So, I'm sure there will be more sales and I'll be able to do that later in the season.

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    1. Judy, I may have to do another post on the handbag question. I am SUCH a bag hoarder... and I've used exactly two different purses in the last nine months. So why am I taking up so much storage space with all of them?

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    2. My foot is doing great, Debs, thanks for asking. We go to see the ortho doc tomorrow and if he says okay, the boot will be history! I have been doing all my usual chores and all the cooking again since before T-Day. Just no walks, that's all.

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  14. Funny, but Julie and I had this same conversation over the Talbot catalog a couple of days ago. so may pretty sweaters and such, but we don't really need anything. I did buy a couple pairs of jeans and a sweater at the end of season last spring, so I can be presentable if I ever go out again. We both have the necessary "good outfit" for a funeral or when I when the Nobel. But other than that, I think I have enough clothes to last the rest of my life, maybe save undies -- those do need replacing every few years. I'm also well supplied if I never buy another pair of earrings or scarf or a coat or ever gloves. Socks, maybe, because those are one of the few items I manage to wear out instead of out grow.

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    1. At my house, Santa puts socks in everyone's stockings for exactly that reason, Ann.

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    2. My new Bombas socks arrived this morning!

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    3. Smartwool socks, 3 new pairs, just arrived last week!

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  15. My wardrobe, my goal is downsize, downsize but if I were to follow you Julia and throw away all but one pair of black pants there would be only one pair of pants left! And having managed to increase my cashmere stock, I can't bear to get rid of them. But I think I have dealt with my business clothes from the 1990's, the silk shells worn under suit jackets etc. I am very stern with catalogues. I know what I can wear and I know who makes it in my size. I tear out the page, mark the item and circle the size then pass to Victor to buy or pass. Usually he buys! The best of the Christmas shopping is on line and I am still prevaricating. Thank goodness for Wrights Chocolate House here in Limerick. Lynn the owner, makes the chocolates, sells on line, sells from her home, does curbside. In short who wouldn't want a delicious box of chocolate for Christmas?

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    1. Oh, dear, Celia. Just when I was contemplating Mrs. See's, you have to tell me about a small, locally-based and personally vouched-for chocolatier who takes orders online. Thanks, I think.

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    2. Gigi: Don't overthink it. Just order some! Go for it...

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    3. We always get a box of Mrs. See's from our nieces in California, and a box of super good chocolates from a friend in Cleveland. Now I'm salivating in anticipation of this year's Christmas goodies!

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    4. Gigi, I've had some of Lynn's chocolates, and they are phenomenal. Very out of the ordinary - think dark chocolate flavored with lavender, or layers of fruit and chocolate ganache. She does one made with locally sourced cream and Lady Grey tea. Amazing.

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    5. If we're talking chocolates, I have to recommend Kate Weiser, made right here in Dallas. They are just amazing. You'll think they're too pretty to eat, but they taste as good as they look. Be sure to watch the video on how they're made. https://www.kateweiserchocolate.com/shop/chocolate-boxes

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  16. I am right onboard with almost everyone else. I just don't need many clothes now. (I have been going into the office two days a week since summer. Not sure if that will continue with the big COVID surge, but even if it does one doesn't need many clothes to look presentable twice a week.)

    The big insight I had the other day was that adding a scarf or showy necklace to a plain top, which had been almost standard operating procedure for me before, now feels all wrong for workaday Zoom meetings. It seems to scream "trying too hard." So I put on those basic, solid colored sweaters and rock on!

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    1. Same deal with jewelry. A little goes a long way.

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    2. I've switched from wearing earrings, which used to be my every-single-day jewelry, to wearing one pin. I inherited quite a few from my mother, and I never really went in for them before, but it stays out of the way of a mask, if I'm in public, and adds a nice, but not overwhelming, touch in Zoom.

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    3. I have completely stopped wearing jewelry, even my wedding ring, as it was a bit big and I was afraid I'd lose it with all the hand washing. If I don't start putting earrings on occasionally, my piercings are going to close up!

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    4. Wearing jewelry for Zoom because that's "going out" these days. Earrings needed to be reintroduced because I'd left them off too long but it's all good now.

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  17. In winter I live in turtlenecks and some very comfy stretchy corduroy pants. Both Lands End Bean's have very nice ones and they do have pockets but not very deep. Not good enough to keep a cell phone safe, so that is annoying. The only new clothing item I have treated myself to lately is socks and I'll soon be needing new slippers since that's what I wear all day. I have my eye on a pair.

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    1. I don't know what I would do without pockets in my pants!
      My winter pants are made by Columbia Sportswear and thank goodness these pants have back and side pockets for cell phone, keys, credit card and mask. I rarely use a backpack or purse and I need to carry those goodies with me.

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    2. Okay, I can think of one clothing item I could really use: some heavyweight (warm) yoga pants or leggings that also have a couple pockets. None of my stretchy pants do, and it's frustrating.

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    3. YES!! I have been desperately trying to find some warm winter weight stretchy pants that are as comfortable as my summer Danskin Relaxed Fit yoga pants. With all the sitting at the computer, I need something that stretches the long way, through the stride, and I haven't been able to find anything! And I need pockets!

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    4. Look on landsend.com for their sport knit high rise corduroy elastic waist straight leg pants. Two deep pockets. Warm. Run a little large so order a size down. On sale right now. You’ll thank me later.

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  18. I've had great luck with LLBean sizing (I don't have to hem petit pants) and order by phone to hear the customer service rep's lovely Maine speech. I ordered both of us heavy ragg wool sweaters (affordable all wool sweaters no longer exist, but I waited for 15% off weekend) for a long winter in a drafty house. And a new pair of flannel PJ bottoms.

    I have an amazing collection of sweatpants, ranging in weight from the cute and lightweight to blanket weight under armor, which I wear shoveling and walking the dogs. With the new sweater, I'll have a choice of four heavy sweaters I can rotate.

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    1. Your wardrobe sounds a LOT like mine, Margaret, and for the same reasons!

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  19. Julia, I have been weeding items from my closet all year. It’s sobering to realize I can live with two pairs of sweats and a couple of T shirts apart from Zoom days. Is it shallow to realize I only need nice clothes when I meet other people? I’ve looked at catalogues and decided I need nothing!
    But I did snap up a couple of cashmere sweaters on Black Friday as my much worn cashmere needs replacing. My daughter made a rule: one item in, one item out. I adhere to this

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    1. Yup, did the black cashmere thing, too.:-) It's my uniform now.

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    2. I love that rule, Rhys, and I need to try to stick to it.

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  20. Good morning! The newspaper thief struck again this week so I got up very early to get the newspaper and bingo! success! I got the newspaper before they got up. he he he

    Julia, I love LL Bean! I ordered several items and they just arrived before Thanksgiving. Since the pandemic began, we have been throwing everything into the washing machine every time we return home from being out in the public. My stack of clothes have Not increased nor decreased. Actually, I have been taking clothes out of my to be donated clothes to wear especially in the cold weather. It has been very cold here in northern CA.

    Diana

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    1. Hooray for your victory over the newspaper thief! There used to be an old gentleman in a decrepit minivan who cruised the streets of my neighborhood on Sunday mornings. I would often see him as I took my dogs for their walk, but not always on the same street. Then, one morning, I saw him pull over, get out, and pick up somebody's newspaper before driving off again. He hit my house once or twice, too!

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    2. I'm laughing, because, it seems like you'd spend more in gas cruising around looking for an unguarded paper than you would for a subscription!

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    3. Gigi, that old gentleman was indeed not a gentleman if he is stealing others' newspapers. LOL

      Julia, I am laughing too at the irony.

      Debs, agreed!

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  21. Snow boots for walking, mittens ditto, and another pair of warm sweatpants. Those are my current wardrobe needs. For spring/summer/fall, I'll be all set if I manage to knock off some of the COVID pounds I've acquired.

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    1. THAT'S going to be the challenge for many of us, Flora! Somehow, despite reading 800 articles in the NY Times about easy ways to exercise at home, I never got around actually doing it...

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  22. Fleece. Sweats. LL BEAN!
    My wardrobe is pre-whittled. And the wardrobe item I've never sufficiently appreciated: the undershirt. That one extra layer of soft cottony warmth. Sigh. It's like the marshmallow on the hot cocoa.

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    1. Good description, Hallie! I wear camisols of silk and sometimes wool and silk tees. Very helpful maintaining warmth.

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    2. I have a whole wardrobe of cotton long-sleeves undershirts that go on before the turtlenecks and the sweaters. I'm wearing one now!

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    3. Since I have been living bra camis for nine months, I already have an underlayer lol

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    4. Hallie, I had exactly the same revelation! I even shared it with my husband, who was suitably uninterested.

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  23. I always enjoy talking the Mainers who answer LL Bean's phone lines for us! But I am ordering hardly any clothes these days, and wearing the same favourite shirts and pants over and over again. Working from home has resulted in far fewer wardrobe changes in any given week; I simply rotate through the same pants/shirt combos and switch up the sweaters as the temps require. I used to be rabid about not wearing the same outfit in succession, but working from home has weaned me of that habit.

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    1. oops...'talking TO' the Mainers...

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    2. Same here, Amanda. Last week, I wore the exact same jeans-turtleneck-sweater combo for three days in a row, just changing out my socks/unders/undershirt. I never would have done that pre-Covid, even if I wasn't planning to go anywhere.

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    3. For several years I was one of those Mainers answering the phone at LL Bean....it is world class customer service marketing excellent products.

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    4. I’m doing the same thing. So easy to slip back into the same outfit as long as it’s clean. It’s not as if I’m going anywhere.

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  24. Socks! I'm usually on a quest for socks. One of the only stylishly small parts of my body are my ankles and heels. My heels often swim in shoes and the socks wear out, but only in the heels. I did order a new pajamas this past weekend. The elastic casing on by favorite pajama pants is fraying to the point that will be elastic around my waist but pants on the floor soon. :-)

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    1. Deana, I've noticed that while other types of clothing all seem to be marked down 50% more or less continuously, pajamas and sweats are still full price!

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  25. I guess I'm maintaining. I'm still thinning the herd since I rarely dress up anymore. It's just a matter of overriding the sentimentality for some of the outfits. I'm always on the lookout for pants, not leggings, with stretchy waists since I am perpetually between sizes. I have a pair of those Noga pants, Gigi. I like them but only wear them when the weather is cool. Our most consistent catalog mailed to us is Land's End. I guess Bean gave up on us. I'm always tempted by the winter clothes. Always. I did break down and order a packable down jacket. No, I don't need it for Houston, but it cheers me up to think I can travel with it and eventually move some cooler clime and be ready. I still have coats and jackets from our years in Ohio and Minnesota so I don't really need another one. But it folds into a bag and it's packable!

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    1. Pat, it sounds like that's worth the cost, if only to have a reason to dream of a day when you can start traveling again!

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    2. Never pay full price! I got it for half off.

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    3. Thanks for the endorsement, Pat!

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  26. ABSOLUTELY. I looked at my shoes--I have a lot of shoes--and thought: WHY DO I HAVE ALL THESE SHOES? (And then I thought-I loved those shoes. Sigh. But in a different life.) On camera/Zoo? I wear a black sweater and a necklace. And sometimes, blazers. But always leggings. And the other say I was so thrilled because I got a new pair of slippers. SLIPPERS! But I must admit, in a flash of true unabashed optimism, the other day I bought a skirt. An amazing skirt (If you want a description, just ask.)

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    1. You are all hilarious. Okay. It's kind of full, very swishy, mid-calf midi, buttery soft caramel-colored leather. Oh. How could I resist?

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    2. Buttery soft, caramel colored...sounds delicious!

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    3. Oh, that sounds delicious!

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  27. I admit that I succumbed to the Talbot's 50% off sale on Black Friday. A few years ago I found that certain of their pants and some tops fit me reliably enough that I don't need to try them on. For the 2 1/2 years we were building the house and getting settled I didn't really add anything to my wardrobe, and there were a lot of things that needed to be replaced or downgraded to "yard clothes".

    I'm a winter wool sweater person, and as Margaret points out, wool sweaters, affordable or not, have become scarce to rare. Lord & Taylor, though, had wonderful merino wool turtles, crews, v-necks, and cardigans, and I've added to my collection over the years. Now they are going out of business (if they haven't by now), and had everything on sale. So I ordered several fill-in or replacement colors while I could.

    I can't envision needing anything else for a long time, although my husband needs some jeans in the worst way. He's really hard to buy for if he can't try them on, so that is going to have to wait I guess.

    Gigi, I have a pair of those Duluth Trading NoGa pants, they are fabulous! Pre-COVID, so I'm glad I got them when I did.

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    1. Karen, same here - Talbots in my size fits me very well, so I can order confidently. Their plus sizes are very flattering - they actually change the cut instead of simply blowing up the misses version.

      I don't know... my dad will send me a check for Christmas. Maybe I'll go back to the catalogue and give it another look...

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    2. Good to know, Karen! Right now I'm living in leggings and big flannel shirts. But, alas, leggings are not real pants.

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  28. I have recently discovered that I can wear a lot of things from Old Navy. Things are always on sale, and if my local store has items in stock, and I can order online and do a curbside pickup. So I've bought a selection of new t-shirts and THREE hoodies! So pleased to find hoodies that are reasonably priced, a good fit, and nice, mostly cotton, fabric. Although I don't think anything will ever replace my two old (like twenty years?) Gap hoodies that I wear in the house every day in cold weather. They are warm but not bulky. And now I'm going to look up Gigi's NoGa pants!

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    1. Oh, I used to have PERFECT t-shirts from the gap. They were so perfect that they were actually called "Perfect T." Are we surprised that they don;t make them any more? Gah.

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    2. I know, you find a style that fits and is perfect, then BOOM gone. I still miss the Land's End underpants that left zero pantiline. 97% cotton, 3% elastane.

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    3. Judy, I wish I'd know about those panties, when they still made them!

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  29. My only purchase has been a pair of jeans in sort of a mushroom brown. I figured if I was going to wear jeans all day, every day it would be nice to have a different choice. But otherwise? Winnowing--big time. My favorite clothing resale shop probably has a rack with nothing but my clothing on it! I finally gave up the vast majority of my "work" clothing after retiring 5 years ago (!!!). Like you, I have three pair of dress black pants. I think it's time to cut down to two. Someday I will go to the symphony again and I will meet a friend for lunch in a restaurant (if any are left open) so I might need two, so one is always available when the other is being cleaned. Yes, it's been a time of minimizing. And I don't plan to go back! Having cleaned out my parents house and my in-laws, I'm increasingly cognizant of what my two daughters will be faced with. I don't want them to have to deal with what I did.

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    1. Maria, that's my experience. This latest, cleaning out my parents' house, is on top of helping two friends clear out to move to Colorado and Hawai'i, and cleaning out my father-in-law's apartment after his death. It does open your eyes about what your kids will have to deal with!

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  30. I am such a catalog junkie. I recently went through a fairly large stack that had accumulated, dreamed over a few things, ordered nothing, and threw the catalogs away. Sundance is the catalog I look at, dream over, look at again (and again) and then toss. Early on during the pandemic I ordered an adorable sunflower yellow linen shift from Eileen Fisher thinking how cute and how comfy if would be for traveling (NO waist!). It's still hanging in the closet with the tags still attached. The only other things I've bought during the past 8 months are my favorite yoga pants and a Ruth Bader Ginsburg sweatshirt that I love and live in. Sadly, the yoga pants had to be ordered in a larger size than I normally buy. But you know what? Oh well. Just OH WELL. There's enough to fret about without worrying about how big my bottom is getting. (until I actually leave the house and nothing fits except for those new yoga pants). Loving this conversation!

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    1. A friend of mine long ago adopted "Oh, well!" as her personal mantra. Dinner burned? The roses got rosette disease? Hubby ran off with his admin? Oh, well! It kept her happily guilt free, and I admire that.

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  31. Mine actually grew but it was because of the same reason. I was never one to wear yoga pants unless I was doing yoga but then the Covid hit and suddenly my jean shorts were a bother and I spent a lot of time flying back east (family stuff) and it's colder there and flights are long. I now own six pairs of yoga pants. I have become a woman of a certain age, I fear.

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    1. "Of a certain age" = "Too sensible to put up with uncomfortable BS" to my way of thinking. Good for you.

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  32. This reminds me... where are my gloves??

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  33. Ankle pants, half-sleeves, a "featherweight yarn"--why? I grew up in Maine and live in Minnesota. I want full coverage, neck to wrist to ankles.

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