I just read that another dancing star has headed home. I’m serious. This is on my aol home page and passes for news. The floods, the fires, the relentless march of the Asian Long-horned beetle, the rain that is threatening this year’s fruit crop, all take a back seat to the REAL NEWS. Charlie Sheen, the love child of yet another hypocritical politician; I just get weary sometimes. Our planet will never get her own reality TV show but, trust me, she’s the star in this particular, not-made-for-TV movie.
Let’s talk clothing. I’m on the hunt for clothes. Ben and Maggie are transitioning from Western college students to Northeastern farmers and they need clothes. I’m on the lookout for boots, outerwear, Carharts and flannel shirts as well as work jeans and gloves. My first stop is always the thrift shop, followed by tag sales and the 3rd and final markdown racks. I’ve noticed that the kind of clothing we most want is almost never on sale. That’s because it’s timeless and has actual value. Every once in a while, a store will go out of business and you might come up with a great deal but not often enough to matter.
None of what I want can be easily home-made, at least not by me. It makes sence to lay in a supply. Who knows what prices and availability will look next year. I know there are some mail order places that offer some good prices. So let’s throw out that question. Who has sources for good quality outer and work wear?
Here’s a list of things I want:
Muck boots. I love muck boots. They come in three heights. I can live without the mid-calf but I consider the other two must-haves. I get mine at Florence Hardwear. As I need 6 pair, I’m wondering if I can get them in bulk.
Wool caps. I can sometimes find these at Acme Surplus. I need actual wool, not synthetic. The Army/Navy surplus store is a good bet but the one I frequented closed and I need to find another.
Leather Gloves: You can’t have too many.
Rain poncho. I put those cheap, packages rain ponchos in the same category as a tube tent. They are a complete waste of time. They have the durability of paper napkin. Get a good poncho or slicker.
Flannel shirts. Layers are our friend. Avoid the Wal-mart weight garbage that passes for flannel and get a 6.0 if you can find it. I have gotten a couple from the LLBean overstock catalog. The color was hideous but the quality was good.
Canvas pants. The Carhart brand cost a bundle but Bruce has never worn out a pair and that’s saying something.
Long underwear. Cotton does not wick. It gets wet and stays wet. A sporting goods store will have the wonder fabrics that are light weight. Don’t put them in the dryer. They will last longer and hold their shape better if you hand wash and dry.
Socks. You need wool and you need quality. You also need a darning egg and needle and wool thread. I darn socks. If done right, they remain comfortable and you can get enough use out of them to justify the price. If your feet aren’t comfortable, it’s miserable to walk or work.
sneakers. I like the 3 pair system. One good pair for going out in public without people handing you quarters, one pair that still has life for banging around in and a pair that can get splattered with paint. As each pair gets more worn, it is moved to the next catagory down and a new pair for public wear is purchased. I don’t buy sneakers often but when I do, I spend the money to get good ones and I make sure they fit.
Coats. I often have good luck getting decent ski coats at tag sales as they have a fashion and people who ski want to look good. As I could care less about looking current, they’re silliness is my great coat. I like the system coats with layers that zip together. You get three coats for the price of one.
Vests. I wear a lot of vests. Get a good down and layer it with long underwear and a wool, chamois or flannel shirt and you’re good to go for much of the year. I have pattern for a vest that is really simple.
Jeans. Hit the thrift shop first. People get rid of perfectly good, nicely broken in jeans all the time. I rarely pay more than a couple of bucks for jeans. Or you could pay $100.00 for pre-ripped designer jeans. You could also stab yourself with a pen but really, what’s the point.
While you’re looking over your wardrobe, make sure you have a couple of packages of sewing needles, lots of heavy duty thread, good scissors and patching material so you can make repairs.