Ostomy Memories of New Clothes


WHEN I LAST PURCHASED NEW CLOTHES is beyond my recall. I regard that as a very good thing. It is one of the many blessings of retirement. I could likely have filled a small men’s clothing store with all the work clothes I had to fit myself out with over the years: suits, dress shirts, ties, nice shoes. (If only I had the waist I had at the beginning.) Now I have one suit hanging in my closet. There should be a small sign pinned to it: FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY. My daily wear consists of shorts, t-shirts, and huaraches. Sweatpants for going out which, under those sloppy circumstances, won’t be anywhere special. “Beware of all enterprises,” wrote Thoreau in Walden, “that require new clothes.” Of course, he was living in the woods at the time, but so what? Being a bit of a recluse even before the pandemic, I have not been inconvenienced by the prospect of staying at home. The latest onslaught of the Delta variant only confirms the need to stay put and hunker down with a good book. When I’m ready to add to my library, I do it on-line through the endless queue of used book stores that sell their wares through Amazon. Or, if I decide to pull Thoreau’s Walden back off my shelf for another look, I know that the author wouldn’t mind my casual, worn attire.


Hello HenryM.
Thanks for the trip down memory lane! ( I thought for a moment there we were no longer going to be ‘looking backwards’!)
The aging process appears to foster a degree of maturity and perspective that makes use of what we learned when ‘growing-up'. I recall when I was a child that I never had anything 'new', in the sense that it came out of a shop and had not been worn before. Fortunately, I was the fourth or the male children in our family, so I got plenty of hand-me-downs and this tradition lasted well into my adult years. From then, my trips to the shops were very uneventful because I could never decide on what I really wanted (or needed). Also I found that during my working years I needed relatively formal suits, which I could not afford as new. However, a colleague of mine helped to run an Oxfam shop and pointed out that they had such a glut of second-hand suits that they were throwing many of them away. The price they were charging for the decent ones was equivalent to the cost of getting a suit cleaned. I gave him my measurements, and he provided me with a regular supply of really smart suits. Quite often in my work, I was obliged to get into situations where my clothing got ruined, so having a ready supply of 'new-suits' was very useful. I always viewed suits as equivalent to overalls, so the odd hole where someone had carelessly dropped a cigarette did not faze me at all.
Because we live in an affluent area, some of the suits that were obtained through the charitable shops would have been prohibitively expensive for the likes of me to buy (not that I would have even entertained the idea of self-purchase). As for shirts; many of my friends seemed to gain and lose weight on a regular basis, and each time they did so, they discarded their shirts my way (for recycling). The only items of clothing I bought for myself were 'clip-on' ties. The reason for this was that, in my profession, I was dealing with some dangerous, personality-disordered individuals, who could perceive an ordinary necktie as a device for potential strangulation. If and when they grabbed hold of the ’clip-on' tie, it would easily be detached from my neck, and this would be my cue to rapidly depart.
Underwear and socks were interesting items of apparel, in that they seemed to be the go-to choice for people to give as birthday and Christmas presents. Hence, I always had a plentiful supply. Indeed, I still have some of these unopened presents from years ago, so I do not expect to be purchasing any of these in the near future. Hopefully, the left-over’s will be deposited in the charity shops when I’m no longer around.
It has also been fortunate, that since the age of 14years my body measurements have not altered to any great degree, so everybody who knows me, would know precisely what sizes would fit throughout my life.
One last thing to mention is that when my clothes are no longer wearable, I usually recycle them into something else that is useful. By the time I’ve finished with fabric, it is so worn out that it hardly warrants further use, except for soaking up oil-spills.
Best wishes

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ron in mich

Hi Henry, good topic. I can remember the last time I bought new clothes. It was a trip to Hawaii, and at a large outdoor flea/farmers market on Maui, I bought 2 Hawaiian-style shirts and a straw fedora. That was ten years ago.

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I am finding, in retirement, that I also tend to wear the same things over and over again: T-shirts and jeans or shorts; skorts if "dressing up". However, I still have a closet full of "good" clothes that rarely, if ever, come off the hanger. I will have to confront the problem of dealing with "stuff". I am in the midst of clearing out my elderly parents' home, now that they have moved to a retirement apartment. Not fun, and I will not leave a similar task to my family.



Hi Henry

Being from a family of 7 growing up and my dad raising us all, we never had new clothes. They were always from jumble sales. That said, we always looked clean and tidy, and if we were to learn lessons from this era, it was that you don't need top dollar clothes to look your best. xx

Staying Hydrated with an Ostomy with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Hi Ron,  One of my favourite purchases was at a used clothing shop in Hilo at least ten years ago.  It was a Hawaiian shirt that I still wear today!



Hard to throw or give away my old favorite clothes... they bring back good memories.

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