Clothing and budget ponderings

My daughter stopped by tonight to shop my closet for interview clothes. Several months of disciplined healthier eating and regular exercise has reshaped her, and she felt none of her existing interview-appropriate clothes fit well enough or were appropriate. I have clothes ranging in sizes from 8 to 16, so there were plenty of choices. After a quick browse, she went home with 3 skirts, 2 blouses, a twin set, and a dress. Since she has 2 interviews on Thursday and another potential next week, she wants to be ready and not have to drive out to my house for another outfit for additional interviews.

We had a nice, albeit brief visit while she made her choices. Unfortunately my feet are smaller than hers, so my various pumps and dress shoes will not fit. But she’s will be okay with a pair of plain black flats, assuming she does not have an opportunity to seek out a pair of simple black pumps tomorrow night after work. I am really hopeful something good comes from this latest job search adventure, because her career in veterinary medicine has grown more and more stressful and depressing as the months pass.

She was quizzing me about dry cleaning bills, of all things. Silk, cashmere, and wool are wonderful fabrics, but the dry cleaning cost drives me insane. Guess what she has in her possession right now? Yep, 3 wool or wool-blend skirts, 2 silk blouses, a cashmere twin set, and a dress that is some sort of dry-clean only material. I told her to be careful while wearing them and to rehang them after wearing and she should be able to get a few wearings out of each between cleaner visits.

While in my Professional Business Dress career period, there were cleaners where you could get things done for a couple of dollars per piece. They were not the best cleaners in the world, but on my single parent budget and supporting 3 yong children it was the best I could afford. Last summer when I took a few skirts and a couple of blouses in for dry cleaning the bill was $47, which seemed insane for 5 pieces of clothing. But I admit to not shopping around and seeking out an environmentally kinder dry cleaner. Maybe the less green cleaners are more reasonable. Either way, I tend to check labels now and stick with cotton and washable fabrics. While ironing is my most despised of household chores, it seems saner to me than dry clean only clothing. I may have to revisit this in the future, depending upon employment circumstances.

C is contemplating a pay cut to get out of her present career field and return to school to pursue a business or accounting/finance related degree. She worries about taking a step down in salary, yet I point out that she is completely changing directions. If she stayed and pursued other jobs as an RVT and took a pay cut that might be a red flag, but she is pursuing entry-level office work instead. Big difference. I assured her that once she landed a different, cleaner, office type job we could get her completely outfitted in office-appropriate attire without blowing up her budget. It’s a big difference going from scrubs every day to even business casual attire. In this I am a great coach and saavy shopper.

I have not had to think about such things myself in at least 10 years, but a quick glance at my Christmas shopping list and the items I still have bookmarked for C and for K tells me I could get her completely outfitted set for $200 or less, including shoes. While they were not be the finest or most fashionable of work clothes, they would be washable and professionally generic office attire. Which just reminded me to text her to invest in a good lint brush if she and A do not already have one. Their cats and dog all have long coats and send strays hairs off their bodies and directly toward any dark clothing like heat-seeking missiles.

On top of that visit and quickie consultation, M and I went to another Hobby Lobby farther afield and found the coveted Christmas tree bling. The original store visit did not have a complete set of what I wanted/needed, so we drove to the other side of town in search of it. Success! With these final pieces purchased, I am $2.41 under the very generous budget for tree bling and holiday decor, and I am done purposefully seeking it out. Now if I can just prevent anything too adorbs from crossing my path I will be good for another year.

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