Running With Scissors to Savers

Getting scissor-silly in the wee hours

I don't have a problem with used clothing. Rather than provoke disgust, they strike me more as having been worn by someone probably not that unlike myself. I had been telling myself for some time that used clothing was what I could afford, and that I felt more comfortable in things meant for my opposite, whether old man pants,

or grandmother nightgowns, then modified to suit some piddling irony. Now we call everything repurposed. We all know the satisfaction of cutting off a pair of men's double knit slacks at the knees. Being ironic and saving the planet at the same is always a winner. I was still kind of lying to myself, though. Why gravitate toward Savers when the sale merchandise at Anthropologie, or the already-ironic at Buffalo Exchange, for that matter, beckons? I guess it's just more fun to create random looks with $5 dresses and old nightgowns, sometimes needing no more than a pair of scissors.

If Savers has a dressing room I haven't found it yet. That's fine, the guesswork is half of the game. Usually a piece will suggest what it wants to be right there on the hanger. But sometimes great results can come from something chosen for the color, one design detail, or just a whim. For $5-7 you can't really go wrong. At the least, you may wind up with an army of strangely-covered throw pillows, but that's for next Christmas. Sometimes the fishing is good and others it's not. What I can guarantee is that what you wear to work that week will be as much a surprise to you as it is to your co-workers.

Sometimes you get a premonition. On Sunday night, just as Carrie Underwood cleared her throat to sing the national anthem for the Super Bowl, I had an overwhelming urge to go directly to Savers. Once there, though I didn't find the XXL flannel shirt I've craved for months, a trip to the dress department was not without reward. I found four dresses, and one tricot nightgown that buttons up with a collar and has illusion around the bodice, sort of like one of Lucille Ball's bed jackets.

Here is a beaded turquoise dress that looks like it's straight from the Falcon Crest wardrobe department. After removing the gargantuan shoulder pads (we really did that?), it became obvious that there was nothing to be done with the bodice, unless it's Halloween. Can't even effectively layer over it. So, feeling a bit like a fraudulent magician with a saw, I cut it in half. The bottom half, with it's zigzag, bugle-beaded hem, is perfect over black boots, under a long T-shirt and covered with a men's suit jacket (also from Savers, which with slacks, cost $7.99). There is one caveat, however, to working on Frankenstein late at night: You may find some oversights before you throw the switch. In this case, as I sat down at the sewing machine to baste the top of the "skirt", it occurred to me that no pressure foot known to man can navigate big, fat plastic beads and glass bugle beads. With license known only to the glassy-eyed in the wee late hours, I plowed through them anyway, crunching, pieces flying, and without protective goggles. I did remember to run a strip of packing tape across the cut line. Who has time to vacuum when there are outfits coming out of the woodwork?

Next up, another eighties' ladies' frock, this time in black Alencon lace. I don't know about you, but the custom of placing black lace over flesh-colored Dr. Scholl's doubleknit has always been hilarious to me. It even feels orthopedic. [Note to self: explore Ace bandage leggings with combat boots idea] Tea length and fitted, with another pair of wooly-mammoth shoulder pads, this one also has a truly horrifying neckline. I don't think there is even a name for it. It is deeper than a round neck, but shallower than a jewel neck, and feels familiar in a creepy way as I see it on for the first time. Maybe the lady that wore it last had a creepy evening. I picked this one up for the comic lace, sure, but also for the bottom interest which begged to anchor a short Seventies' sheath. It was, again, late at night, so when I took nine inches from the middle, I was too random about where the horizontal seam would fall. I also failed to notice that those dresses tapered slightly at the bottom, undermining the boxy shape I counted on. It turned out okayish, and it still reminds me of a Mia Farrow cocktail dress. To mitigate the neckline, I added two pieces of black silk ribbon on either side of the offending scoop, which also helped dial the knob back from 1984 to 1974. Here is the result, again with black boots:

I still have a size-18 sheath with gold buttons down one side that I'm crazy about, as well as the aforementioned nightgown. Two monsters ready for electrodes and a slant-head Singer. Who knows when lightning will strike again? Hopefully not at 2am.

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Scissor-happy at Savers, Savers, Anthropologie, Lucille Ball, Dr. Scholls, Mia Farrow

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