Just Try It On!!
That is my shopping motto!
A while ago our friend Robert J. Hawkins, or affectionally Bob, wrote a lovely post on his blog (check it out HERE). We had both gone, yet again, to the much-improved Tuesday Market here in San Miguel.
I explore a bit more chaotically. It is enough to drive friends mad.
After post-COVID vaccinations and lockdowns, life started again, and we have all been ready to do some roaring, exploring, and inquisitive roaming.
What is San Miguel now?
It is booming to start with. A range of ages moving in or visiting to see what all the fuss of this #1 city on several lists is about. Music, art, reading lectures, and yummy food. Reconnection to friends. Festivals. Community!
And through these past couple of years, I have gained some confidence – much due to my writing groups and now Photography – I have changed my attitude (I am gutsier now) and my style (several times).
I went from the depressive oversized black and gray gunny sack look I had become, to a fun, colorful, comfortable, and free-spirit BoHo. At least that is what I have been going for. I think I am getting there.
Comfort is the big goal. A mirror of sorts that now I am comfortable in my skin, and possibly this is the end of my ever-changing personas. I like this one a lot. It seems others do too. It is worth keeping and developing.
So, as I donate to others and clean out my closet, I have to refill those empty hangers with this life. I fill my closet with joy.
But, let’s get back to the shopping!
Pre-Covid the Tianguis de Martes (or Tuesday Market – also open on Sundays, when we hear it is a much less crowded version of the semi-organized chaos on Tuesday) was piles and piles of clothing in various condition, and tarps designating stall areas, and an often plethora of not-so-great quality knock off items. Check out this blog post written in 2018.
Now, the piles are still there, but the quality has gone way up. There can be tags on the clothes – Macy’s, Nordstrom’s Rack, and others. It is exciting.
My demeanor has calmed down significantly. It allows me to peruse and select under the big metal roofs. Piece by piece, section by section, into the madness I go.
I catch the bus from Centro San Miguel up to the side of the Liverpool bus stop and climb the overpass with anticipation mounting – it IS the thrill of the hunt. A scavenger dream, and I am creating a road map through the market, choosing special stalls that have brought me into a Yippee mind frame. I now know which to head back to.
I start at the first section, the one closest to Liverpool, the best I think for shoes. And I start my unique searching — tossing up in the air the rejects (still quality but not my style) as I dig quickly, looking for a big score. Can I get them to jump into the air, do a one-gainer, and dive to the other end of the table? It is all in the wrist flip.
My best haul – is 3 pairs of very comfortable new boots – all 3 for a $25 dollar total in one afternoon. A big yippee for that!
I don’t stop there though. There are more goodies to be found.
As I scoot around the many food stalls, I head for the racks like a dog hunting for easily seen morsels. The racks are a bit more organized and I haven’t entered my zone of mayhem. But it is there, creeping up. Watch for it.
The first part of the game is Color and Fabric. Skimming the racks rapidly, I skip between them and pull off one item – does it call to me? Then another and another. With some good hand-eye coordination, I can run through clothes in a way that boggles my husband’s mind yet allows him to appreciate the rapidness. He doesn’t like to doddle.
My solution, come earlier than him and get my job done. Then we meet up and I try very hard to concentrate on his needs. But, there is always a color that captures my eye, and like a pointer dog, I have to run 5 tables over to check it out.
Once I exhaust each section’s racks, I head to more piles and flip through the top of each with the speed of light. What does that top layer tell me? Quality and style. Each pile has its own story. I can determine what it is in a matter of minutes. And, if the selection is interesting, I move on to the really fun stuff and put my veterinarian gloves on.
Digging into a pile is like a vet, shoulder deep, in the uterus of a cow ready to turn the calf into place.
Plunging my arm in, I wiggle my hand around and use touch to determine if I a bundle is worth pulling out. Yank, a series of yes and no’s – the rejects then fly into the air like confetti, often landing in front of someone else. And theirs fly into my lap. Pull and toss, pull and toss. I gather the interesting up into my arms, and – here is the thing – wear camisoles and leggings! Trying clothes on can be essential. A list of my measurements helps too – don’t forget the measuring tape.
And I drum into myself and others that motto – “Just Try It On!”
So often I may think of discarding an item that, in reality, after I pulled it over my head, looks like a million bucks. Or looks like I have placed myself into a sausage skin or a paper bag.
I couldn’t find the pearls if I didn’t “Just Try It On!”
The market can be strangely meditative for me. It is a slice of life.
Sure, I react – often badly, to excessive stimuli. But here, I am involved with my body and mind for the illusive and interesting. It is a game, and I am getting good at it. I leave with a satisfied grin on my face and a daypack full of goodies – looking forward to the fashion show (off) I will have for Glenn.
I fulfilled my motto and carry that into my life. When a new opportunity comes your way and uncertainty creeps into you, go ahead and “JUST TRY IT ON!” Nothing has to be permanent. And surprises are worth searching for.
Note: The idea of buying used clothes was once common, now, it is gaining traction once again. There are movements to recycle, resell and repurpose clothing. Everyone should practice this.
The resale markets have an interesting backstory all their own, and one worth learning about.
Here are a few documentaries and films about the resale clothing trade that may shine some light on it all.
And, there may be a chance in my future to explore San Miguels with someone in the know. Now, that would be interesting!!
My photography is a pursuit of stories. I look for them every week at the Tianguis.
After watching these and seeing how livelihoods depend on the markets I no longer try to barter. A hundred-dollar or more dress for $15 dollars is a bargain I deem worth making. A few dollars off is not something I need to pursue. And I always have a choice in the end.
T-Shirt Travels: A Documentary on Second-Hand Clothes in Africa 2001
Your writing always amuses. I enjoy your blogs. But I’d like to mention that from beginni To end your names are never mentioned. I haven’t seen you two recently thanks to our friend Covid so I have to say to Marcia “Oh, here’s what’s her name Ray, Roy, Rio?
We do have it in the sidebar under About Us. Glad you enjoyed the post. Got to love the Tianguis.