Wednesday, February 07, 2007


The gym I belong to now is made up mainly of professionals or executives from around the city and West Michigan. For years, membership was restricted to only these types of individuals, or people with a lot of money. For years, I have wanted to join this club, not for the prestige but for the convenience. Remember, it is in the same building where I work. So naturally, I jumped at the chance when recently they opened membership up to paraprofessionals and others(obviously to boost sagging membership), or as I like to categorize myself, a regular person.

I knew immediately on my first day that I was somewhat out of the other women's league, particularly when it came to dress. In no way do I dress tackily (I don't think) or sloppily, and I strive to not look like I dress cheaply.

Today, as on many other days, the talk in the locker room started going in a direction I tend to not fit in with: where they shop. There was much animated discussion about the shops they love and frequent in Chicago, which I have never set foot in, and even the shops in town, that I don't even give a glance.

Having four kids and living on a shoestring budget for so many years, however, has trained me to sniff out the best bargains possible for the money I have to spend. I prefer mainly to wear sweaters, pants, blouses, and jackets that I can mix and match with just about everything I own. Most of my jewelry was bought at the huge discount sales or are pieces my sister has made me, some of which I have received numerous compliments on and are some of my favorite accessories. With my office going so casual over the last 5 years, even if I could afford the expensive power suits, I wouldn't be interested in wearing them.

So listening to their idle chatter about Coach purses, Prada shoes, and Liz outfits, I realized I have found some of these same items in the second hand stores, and am quite proud of myself when I can put an outfit together for $50 or less. But what I am the most proud of is my ability to go to the discount stores and find outfits that nonoe of these ladies would consider at prices even I can afford. And I have to say, a couple of pair of pants I wear all the time I bought at Wal-Mart and they are the most comfortable things I own. And they look far more expensive than what I paid. And they don't look any different than some of the things they wear. And they are the right length! I have to wear petite sizes for length usually, and while you can easily find those sizes in the better stores, the prices make my eyes pop. Even when I get gift cards to some of these places, I have a hard time "spending" the money because I feel the prices are totally unreasonable.

While my kids were growing up, they knew we couldn't afford to shop anywhere that didn't have shopping carts, and if it wasn't on sale or I didn't have a coupon, it wasn't on the menu. So when one of my kids calls to say, "Mom, guess what? I bought ______ and found it at ________ and saved so much money."' Or "Mom, you'd be proud of me. I saved $________ by using coupons," you know you've done your job! :)

On a weather note, it was a balmy 3 degrees today! Break out those shorts!

On a workout note, 1/2 mile swim.


Fe-lady said...

I am thankful for a job where I can wear my corduroy pants in the winter and casual capris in the summer. Half the time I am with dirty, snotty-nosed children, sitting on the floor, so if anyone were to say anything about the way I dress, well, I would just ask them to shadow me for a week while wearing hose and heels and see how they fared on day TWO!
I like fashion but prefer like you to find bargains (love those $7.00 pants I found!) and spend my money on good technical workout gear that I know will last me for awhile
The Brand Name stuff...well, it's stupid.
A girl recently left a note in the locker room about having her "Dooney and Burke" purse (full of her belongings) stolen out of a locker (UNLOCKED!) at the gym.
I tagged my own note on to hers- that if she was stupid enough to have a purse this expensive, and put it in an unlocked locker, well, then she deserved to have it stolen! I know it was really mean and petty of me...but I did get some sick satisfaction out of it! :-)

Flo said...

Okay, blogger ate my comment!!!

Suffice it to say I agree completely with you. It makes more sense to me to spend my clothing money on technical clothes than on work clothes. My bike shorts cost more than the shorts I wear to work :)

Flo said...

This is a test comment. I think I figured out the problem of not having an e-mail address on comments. Let me know if you get a return e-mail address with this.

WADDLER26.2 said...

I totally agree with you! I ususally try to dress down as much as possible at the gym so no one expects anything out of me.