After running into her ex-shirt last Saturday at Goodwill, 32-year-old Jenny Farch was confronted by the Western-style number with a pinstripe print dappled with tiny roses and accented with mother-of-pearl snaps and a posture of reproach from its spot at the end of the Medium rack.
“I never thought I’d see it again,” says Farch of the shirt, which was priced at $4.99. “I just froze.”
Farch claims to have owned the shirt from 2009 – 2015, although she only could only remember having worn it handful of times.
“It was sort of an aspirational shirt,” says Farch. “I think I liked the idea of it more than the reality.” Still, the shirt remained in Farch’s closet all those years, occupying a distinct fashion niche and gaining a sense of familiarity and ease amidst the other shirts, sweaters, pants and skirts. “I felt bad giving it away,” Farch admits. “At the same time, I think I realized that it just wasn’t a good fit for me, aesthetically or sizewise.”
“I was surprised when I realized it was my ex-shirt,” says Farch. “I thought I was past the point in my life where I was into shirts with snaps.” The encounter was made more awkward by the fact that Farch was wearing a brand-new but strikingly similar but non-Western shirt. “I guess I have a type, ha ha.”
The shirt had no comment.
Farch concedes that she did, in fact, reach for the shirt at Goodwill as though she had never seen it before, intrigued by the pattern and cut. But she denies that the gesture meant anything other than a validation of the quality of the garment.
Employees in the Goodwill sorting room noted that the shirt had been through a lot since having been donated, and probably could stand to be ironed.
“That thing sat in a bag for a few months before she dropped it off; you can tell,” says Goodwill sorter Carter Peck, 54. “Sometimes people hang onto things for too long because they feel bad for it, but ultimately, it does more harm than good.”
Despite the shirt’s wrinkles and rough history in the back room, Farch remains optimistic for the shirt’s future. “That’s going to make a great shirt for someone,” says Farch, “just not for me.”
Meanwhile, Farch’s ex-shirt remains on the rack. The shirt currently has a blue tag, which means nothing this week, but next week it means the shirt will be 30% off. It also is positioned facing away from the rack, as if it wants everybody to know that it has pockets.