Time for a bourse

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The urge for a clothes swap is upon me.

Well, it’s definitely autumn now, isn’t it? The weather fell off a cliff yesterday, as if someone had thrown a switch. Not so much in temperatures as in rain, and the wind picking up. It’s been a remarkably still summer, with almost nothing in the way of wind, and I’d forgotten how quickly it strips the heat out of the house. Plus there is that sound – the wind lashing in the trees, the crows the only birds to be heard. 

It means I’m gradually washing and putting away my summer linens – with some regret, I must admit – and that makes me think of a bourse, or clothes swap.

I haven’t held a bourse since April, though there was one in July that I missed, due to ill health, and for most of us here the summer is very busy with visitors, running gites or animals to look after, so we have not seen each other much lately. But this change of season when you pack away your summer things and get out the heavier clothes is a good opportunity to reassess your wardrobe and your clothing needs, and it’s a good excuse for a get-together too.

As aforementioned, I had already done an edit of my clothes for the coming autumn, and shoved a load of clothes (two thirds, at a guess) into an ‘also ran’ pile. So last night, I went through that pile and sorted it into keepers and chuckers. The stuff to chuck, it is galling to admit, is nearly all mistakes – things I tried that just didn’t work like the floral shirts I bought last year, things I ordered that turned out to be the wrong shape or too bright a colour and which I lacked the energy to send back, or – a real problem for me – teeshirts that were fine for one or two wearings but which then shrank so much in length in the wash that they’re no longer wearable.

Do all busty women have this problem with teeshirts? I have the Devil’s own job getting them long enough to go over my boobs. Many times I buy a tee that seems fine, but once it loses a bit of elasticity in the wash, it ends up at my high hip, whence it proceeds to walk up to stomach level as soon as I move – not a look I am interested in. If they’re long enough, they’re usually too baggy – an issue I’ve found with Lands’ End, where I like the quality but can’t find a cut I like. I’m desperate for Finisterre to get back in their tees in charcoal and black for winter, as they are 27 inches long and quite clingy – perfect for my hourglass shape – and they actually stay put, though at £45 a pop, they are a serious investment.

Within an hour I’d bagged up 60 garments for the bourse and I haven’t even started on the winter clothing yet. Here, I had intended to do the Euromayenne fair again, as I have three times in the past, but when I emailed to book a stall I was told rather snottily that I wouldn’t be allowed to sell secondhand clothing. Frankly, I think that’s a bit rich, given the general poverty of this area, where average wages are 12,000 euros a year, so I guess that means a whole load of photographing and sticking stuff on Ebay and trekking to the post office. But c’est comme ça. If my Aquascutum, Jaegar and Austin Reed aren’t good enough, then bollocks to them. 

A couple of my old furs, I have in mind to send to the costume museum at Bath as they are good examples of their day, with the 1930s techniques of fur stranding etc. And the rest, into the bourse they go.  

Meanwhile, my closets are looking, if not empty, at least not packed to the gills any more, and everything suddenly goes with everything else, which can’t be bad.  

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