Sunday, February 2, 2014

Where have all the sweaters gone?

Umm... No, not what I had in mind.

I hate to shop. I enter a store and promptly experience sensory overload. Large department stores and malls are an anathema to me.

Part of it stems from the fact that I’ve never had the disposable income to consider shopping as a recreational sport. Another part is the decision-making process involved in selecting anything and the compulsion to make each and every purchase significant.

So it’s mid-winter and bitterly cold. We keep the thermostat low. Sweaters and turtlenecks are requisite attire for maintaining any kind of warmth. I have three or four warm sweaters that are suitable. One is from Bradlees and the other two are from WeatherVane. Anyone remember those stores? If you don’t, that’s an indication of the age of these of sweaters.

The last Bradlees closed in 2001 and Weathervane closed in 2004, but not before it morphed from nice women’s clothes into teen duds. So that makes these sweater a minimum of 10 years old, even 15, since I bought them well before the stores closed.

So where have all the warm wool/wool-blend sweaters gone?

The items I saw in Kohl's recently confirm that global warming is at hand, or that people keep their thermostats set at 75 degrees. Flimsy, lightweight tops that have a shelf life of 15 minutes. I found a rack of tired-looking mock turtlenecks that looked as if they would shrink to nothing in two washings. But not a stitch I would consider trying on. Yes, these were winter items.

By the way, would someone explain to me why so many TV reporters and personalities wear sleeveless dresses, apart and aside from showing off their toned arms, that is.

At this point in the season the selection of turtlenecks from Lands End and LL Bean is cleaned out. Even their sweater selection leaves a lot to be desired. An online search of other stores produced little to choose from either.

I had a similar experience searching for jeans a week or so earlier. A trusty, comfortable pair purchased four or five years ago are showing signs of age. Alas, the store where I purchased them had morphed into a sister store, which had an abysmal selection of jeans. I tried on one pair, which would have needed a third of a leg chopped off for the correct length. I found my store on line. Of course they no longer carried the brand I liked, but found a pair and placed an order. Amazingly, they arrived in short order and fit perfectly, length and all.

So back to the sweaters… For years, college and thereafter, I had drawerfuls of wool sweaters. It wasn’t until the past couple of years ago, I noticed the shortage – that was when my collection of Weathervane sweaters started to crap out.

The good news is that I work in a small office and fashion is not a priority. The bad news is that I’ll have to keep searching – next winter.

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