Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Green Issue Two/Too: Buying thrift for the prom or “Hey, let’s recycle an old building and some old clothes!”

It’s all quite fitting, to have a Second Time Around Prom as a fundraiser for the Pitman Theatre in Gadsden, Alabama. It is an opportunity to recycle in a huge way by preserving an already existing building, a building that is a long-standing part of our community, and is essentially the yin to Emma’s yang on Broad Street. It is also an opportunity to relive (and make better) an event that may (or may not) have played a huge role in your life: the prom. And while we’re recycling that old building and some of our prom memories, why not recycle some old clothing as well?

For your retro-pleasure, a tour of the prom, one outfit at a time (or, what I like to call, “Oh, but it is easy being green):

Tami with be blinding us with her Goodwill purchased, pre-bedazzled, red velour lounge dress (very much like a velour track suit, but in dress form), the kind of dress that looks like it belonged to an overly tanned, very bleached blonde woman who was married to a wealthy man she no longer loved, but refused to divorce because he kept her in the lifestyle to which she was accustomed, which was the lifestyle of strolling ‘round the pool in her stretchy velour bedazzled dress, martini glass aloft in her perfectly manicured hand. Tami says that she feels like she shimmers in her gown, and I reckon I believe her. I am of the understanding that husband Jimmy will be coming as one of the following: the Captain (of Captain and Tennille fame), a combination of Crockett & Tubbs from Miami Vice, or The UniPromer (full-on Ted Kazinsky hoodie, moustache and sunglasses).

How green are your Catoes? Mr. Catoe will be decked out in a retro-fabulous suit from the Ron Burgundy Weatherman Collection purchased at the American Thrift Store in RBC. Word on the street has the Dame keeping it high-classy-green in a vintage dress (perhaps the yellow column dress with the white lace overlay?).

Now, if you were on the street a couple of days ago (Broad St., that is, at approximately 3:30 on Wednesday), you would’ve seen the very “green” suit that Eric had purchased on sale for $3.88 at the American Thrift in RBC. Mr. Wright was kind enough to drop by the spot where Kay Moore (of Downtown Gadsden, Inc., and co-conspirator on the Prom @ the Pitman event), Tami and I were having a bit of coffee from Martha and Junes to let us see said suit. The green suit is actually deep green in color, and we three ladies marveled at its texturedness and fabulousness. Tami’s comments were, “Wow, that’s the most unnatural fiber I’ve ever felt. Think of all the polyesters that died to make that suit.” Some alterations must be made to the pants of the suit, but the jacket fits like it was MADE for him (like, forty years too early *snicker*).

In a very dramatic upset on the prom duds front, Cyndi Nelson, who was striving for a traditional bow-and-sequined-smothered number in any screaming color that she could find, bid her way into ownership of a very classy, frighteningly tasteful (she could even wear it to a REAL formal event) lavender gown from Ebay. At least it still falls into the recycled category. Cyndi bid on the dress, I believe thinking that there was no way that she would win the dress, and was hoping to still locate an explosively ‘80s dress. So far, no dice. Cyndi is going to look gorgeous and normal, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it (but I’m still looking at the thrift stores today, so there’s hope yet). Husband Kenny will be keeping it real in a ‘70’s leisure-ish suit from (again) the American Thrift in RBC. The suit is evidently a nice vintage number from a shop that existed in Gadsden back in the day (I don’t know which day, though). You got to keep greatness from escaping the area…

Sister Vicki cheated a tiny bit by purchasing a new dress from TJMaxx for a whopping $16.99. She will, however, be going slightly green with insert for the neckline that I will be making from a black linen shirt from Eagle Rock Thrift in RBC. Her dress is very mod, a Jackie-O-ish, knee-length metallic black linen sheath, with big wooden beads around the neckline. She will be tres jolie! I will have to let her borrow my very Jackie-O-ish, snap-close black leather handbag (vintage from the defunct no-kill-animal-shelter thrift store in RBC, which I miss terribly).

TMI Alert!!! Some folks may not want to read this paragraph due to the graphic nature of the subject matter. The name of this individual has been altered to protect her identity, but most of you will be able to figure out who it is with no problem whatsoevah! Mandy is proudly recycling her junior-high backless prom dress after having lost a good deal of weight since the birth of her second child. But it seems that the backless part of the dress is giving her all kinds of trouble. Evidently, they just don’t make a backless, strapless bra to fit her sized rack. I could hear her making calls yesterday to all of the local bra hawkers, asking for a backless, strapless in her particular size, to no avail. After much loud sighing and a great deal of exasperation, she decided that she may just go for the white-trash, redneck look of wearing an old white regular bra (yellowed with age) with missing hooks, allowing both the back strap and the shoulder straps to show. In addition to wearing the regular bra, she would perhaps wear the largest granny-panties that she could find, and hike them up so high on her waist, that the bra strap and the panties would meet in the middle of her back. She would then add a black fanny pack that was full of loose cigarettes and sanitary napkins (not the packaged, stick-on-the-underwear kind of pads, but the kind of pads used with the old-fashioned sanitary napkin BELT-youknowhati’msaying women!), so that when she would have to pay for anything, cigarettes and pads would spill out everywhere. She’s also going to stop shaving both her pits and her legs starting today, so she should have a nice winter coat by next Friday. I’m planning on pretending not to know her.

Semi-pro golfer Dave and his lovely wife Brandy will also be recycling. Brandy is evidently going to go green from her own closet due to the fact that they have just returned from a fantastically long, and not-so-cheap vacation at the coast, a vacation that proved quite dangerous for the fast moving Brandy (slow down on those steps girl!). I’ve heard that Dave is in the market for some gently used Duck Head khaki pants, a thin tie and possibly some Ray-Bans…

I am planning to dress as I wish I had back at my senior prom…as a goth girl. I have a lovely two-piece black satin dress (fitted top, with an a-line, ankle length skirt), purchased last year at the Salvation Army for a steal of $6.99. The dress itself is not outlandish at all, and can be used at other events in the future. Hair, makeup and accessories will be the key for me. And because I am so terribly low maintenanced, I will have help on the make-up from dear friend Dame Catoe, and possible some hair pointers from hair-professional Kris (I figure roll the hell out of it, tease it till it cries and use an ozone-depleting amount of Aquanet). My goal is to get my hair to ‘80s Litchfield cheerleader standard, with hair so high, I’ll have to scrunch down in the seat of the car in order to get all of me to fit. Crap, that may not be a good idea, as there will be candles on the tables inside the Pitman and I wouldn’t want to be near an open flame with that kind of hair…all that joking about me looking like Carrie would just be fodder for the paper when the whole place went up in flames because of my freakin’ hair. I really may just have to go Pre-Raphaeilite with a touch of Marilyn Manson make-up.

Just one last thrift store musing before I sign off: Thursday, I took Jolly Green and her son on a tour of the thrift stores of Gadsden and RBC in order to introduce her to my world of economized living (Jolly Green is the Tami from the paragraph about the lounge dress). We had some time to kill between us getting out of work and us having to have her son back at school for a band exhibition w/in two hours, so we had to hustle. The first two thrift stores may have inflicted some major damage on the psyche of Son of Jolly Green, because at one point I thought he was about to pass out from the odor and/or the heat, not to mention the horror of some of the items one can find in these thrift stores. He couldn’t imagine having to purchase underwear or a mattress from a thrift store, so I gently reminded him that we have individuals within our community who couldn’t afford to purchase for themselves anywhere else, so this was really it for them. And I told him to keep in mind that I often had to purchase clothing in shops like this because I couldn’t afford the items that I wanted from name brand stores, but could often find what I wanted at the thrift store if I was patient. At this point, even if I had the money to buy from a department store, I would probably still purchase thrift because I had really grown accustomed to the idea of recycling gently used items. Son of Jolly Green ended up agreeing with me, and even warmed up a bit to the idea of purchasing used until he saw his mom holding up a burgundy three-piece leisure suit intended for his father. Said suit was heavily textured, and had majestic peaked collars reminiscent of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. But the true selling point was the waist of the jacket, which was tailored in the back with a top-stitched, belt-like sash, sporting a panel of not one, but two pleats. It was like a mud flap for the ass. All one would need to complete this ensemble would be a pair of cordovon leather square-toed zip boots, a shiny gold silk shirt unbuttoned to the navel and a silk scarf jauntily tied at the throat…and his dad would look like the landlord for the Three’s Company gang (oh, Mr. Farley). After scraping Son of Jolly Green off of the floor, we left the store sans suit, with our hearts a little lighter with the though of someone other than Jimmy showing up at the Prom in that suit. If anyone out there is interested, go to the Community Thrift Store in Alabama City. Keep an open mind when you enter the building. I have purchased name brand clothing, several vintage cameras, and some nice antiques there. And they are always running 50% off of most items and the staff are incredibly friendly. Think of it as a truck stop with clothes, furniture and household items, but no food or showers.

If you read my last blog, and are interested in another Compact perspective, please read:


Cyndi said...

I have redeemed myself, providing the washing machine doesn't destroy my find.

I'm keeping the details on the down low, because I want to see the look on each and every face. But I will say this: It's shiny. It's UBER-80s. And I paid TWO DOLLARS for it.

La_Petit_Rouge said...

Ooooo, can I just say that I can't wait!!!

Cyndi said...

Well, the washer tried to defeat me, but I'm having none of it. I'm upping the kitsch factor -- to Warp 10! Make it so, Number 1!