SHEFFIELD, Mass. — My mother always told me to shop smart.
"Don't buy 50 of the same thing, or 50 versions of the same thing and then complain that you've got nothing to wear."
Good advice, although I did notice the other day that she had several black cardigans and charcoal T-shirts in various styles, but, whatever, good advice.
My father, who rarely said much, ever, always shopped local — always. To this day, he rarely goes behind the borders of Great Barrington for anything, including food. In fact, in the summer, he'd much rather just grill a nice steak on a Saturday night, throw in some greens from the farmer's market less than two miles down the road, and call it a perfect night out.
So, shop smart, shop local. Sounds easy, right?
Not if you live in a town in which dairy and corn are tops on the export list and and a day trip involves a 5-minute walk to the bank. The scenery is beautiful; the fashion options, nonexistent.
Of course, that was then and this is now. It is with great pleasure, the same pleasure I had with the opening of the Marketplace Cafe and Awaken Healing Arts, that I can say that my little town on the fringe of everywhere now has some style — affordable, funky, real woman- (and man-) friendly.
Nothing says style like a pair of purple dancing shoes. Size 8.5 and they're all mine.
Re-Wear, located just north of the center of town (at the old Bradford's building), is a no-nonsense but plenty of thrills and frills consignment boutique that takes good clothes and the environment seriously. You don't have to dig through boxes of musty clothes to find that perfectly worn pair of jeans. Nor do you have to go gallavanting about the store looking for the match to that hot summer sandal that you're not even sure is your size. Everything at Re-Wear has a place and a price and the only thing you have to do is expect to find something amazing, for literally any occasion.
While most of the clothes are functional, everyday styles and include brands such as Gap, Ann Taylor and Jones New York, anyone looking for a little black dress or a light, sexy summer shift and shoes to match will not be disappointed.
Each rack is alight with color and each size is organized to a T, whether it be worn jeans, polished dress slacks or gypsy skirts. It's there and most likely you'll find at least one in your size. That's a bargain.
I went in there with several "fashion goals" in mind. I needed a dress for a hot flamenco concert (or several hot concerts, thank you, Jacob's Pillow), something light for the impending rise in temperature and humidity (more heat), some decent, lightweight tops for when I actually have to go out in public where people know me, and yes, as always, a pair of shoes that nobody but me will have.
No hunting, except for bargains.
I found it all, even the shoes.
Especially the shoes — purple slingbacks with lots of buckles and a perfect heel for tall, clumsy journalists. So, one burnt velvet, fringey, Argentinian nightclub dress, one white linen "Out of Africa" shirtdress, two silk shells and a pair of shoes later, I am out the door with money to spare and a wardrobe boost that'll last for years.
And a place to go the next time my ever-growing daughter needs a pair of shorts on the fly. I think Re-Wear marks the official renaissance of my small town. Now all we need is a theater company ...
Re-Wear is open most days from 11 to 5, and consignment sales are by appointment only. Check out their Facebook page for more details.
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