One of the things we always do when we go to the States (or, should I say many of the things we always do) is go shopping for clothes. Clothes are easier to find in the United States than in France, for me at least, and are much cheaper especially when you go to thrift stores.
Prior to this trip we (I) made a mental list of all the things I wanted to try to find on our trip; stuff for the kids (pyjamas, pants) and new work clothes for me. High on the list was also a wardrobe refresher for my husband. Like many men, shopping is just not his thing and although he was getting tired of many of the items in his closet, it had been about 18 months since he had bought anything new. It wasn’t just that he was getting tired of his clothes however- many of his clothes were getting tired of him!
I remember reading books like Little Women, or the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, about all the measures people used to take to preserve the life and longevity of their clothes. Rips were mended and buttons replaced. Hems were taken up or let down, seams were taken in or let out, collars and cuffs were turned. Old clothes were turned into quilts if possible or rags if not.
Some of these things still happen today, of course. I sew on buttons, or take up and let down seams. My children’s former nanny quilts. (If she can’t turn fabric into a quilt she’ll even toss it on the compost heap!) But other repairs that were once very common- turning the collar on a men’s shirt, for example- I wouldn’t even think of doing.
So, this morning as I was putting away the many piles of laundry that have accumulated since unpacking our bags, I went through my husband’s and children’s clothes with an eagle eye. Frayed collars or cuffs? Gone. Ripped knees? Gone. Stains set? Gone, gone, gone.
I know that once upon a time we would have found a way to reuse or repair these things. And it surely says nothing good about our modern consumer mentality and my own frugal ways that I’m not trying harder to do just that. But on the other hand, I think that life is sometimes a bit too short- and busy- to try.
What clothing repairs do you do? What will make you toss or replace something?