Tuesday, July 27, 2010


To She whose clothes I loved or loathed to wear,

That purple skirt. With that matching purple and white striped top. I remember Miss T, seeing you wear that outfit and thinking, “Oh I want that outfit! I want one just like it!” It didn’t occur to me to want “it” itself, because I don’t think I understood the beauty that is hand-me-downs at that point in time. I didn’t realize that likely, that outfit, along with everything else you ever wore, would be mine one day.

Oh the glory of the hand-me-down: the perfect way to stay within a budget and double the size of a wardrobe (or provide a wardrobe) instantly. The hand-me-down is what saves the parent in a multi-children family. Whatever small detriment it may contribute to the middle-child or last-child syndrome, it’s worth it. One day they’ll learn the true value of a hand-me-down, right? Even if it takes the twenty or so years until they themselves are parents.

As a recipient of many a hand-me-down, I have to say that I mostly received quality hand-me-downs. The hand-me-downs that you love. Those items that you saw an older sibling, cousin, or neighbor have, and you thought to yourself, “I could be as cool as they are if I had that same thing.” Like an amazing “It’s a jungle out there” T-shirt, or a sweet puffy purple snowsuit. Maybe that awesome Nerf gun, the single tube kind that loaded up two yellow balls max and made the popping sound when it shot out. Maybe a bike; a bike that was BIGGER than your bike, and it was a rite of passage to receive the hand-me-down gray bike called the elephant because of the trumpeting noise the brakes make. These hand-me-downs=Awesome.

Then there are those hand-me-downs that are just all wrong.

You know the kind. They are just straight up old. There are holes in it. It’s falling apart. It fits up high around the waist like pants from the 80’s (are they pants from the 80’s?). The little fabric balls are bunched up on the old nightgown; the wheels are jiggling off the roller-blades with no inner-lining anymore; the backpack has a hole in the bottom right corner and the zipper is stuck open. Yes. Those hand-me-downs are the kind that you try to hand right on down the line, as soon as possible.

And when that can’t be done, then you just loathe the days when you have to wear, or use, or see that awful hand-me-down. I didn’t have many of those from you Miss T, if any, because I can’t even think of any at this moment.

The thing about hand-me-downs is that they once belonged to one person, and now they are trying to assume a new owner. This is entirely different from buying a used car, for in that situation the car is tested and chosen specifically. Money is invested and the value of the car is a part of the bond between vehicle and owner. The fit is secure before the ownership switches over. This very “fit” is the risk you take with hand-me-downs. Rarely are hand-me-downs tried on for size. Usually a pile just shows up in front of your door. Some things fit, some do not. Ew.

Then, there are some things that fit, just differently than they ever fit their first owner.

This summer, Miss T, you have given me the ultimate hand-me-down: Dance teacher. Literally you handed down a gazillion tiny dancers who now love ballet at the Northgate Community Center, and will let me teach them classes for employment. The thing about this hand-me-down is that it was worn perfectly and with love before it was given to me. It fit its first owner magically. And now it fits me, but a little differently. I’m still growing into it. But isn’t a hand-me-down from a sister the best when she sticks around to give you fashion advice about how to wear it? Thankfully, Miss T, you are not leaving me alone to fit into this teacher business. And like that purple skirt. With that matching purple and white striped top. It will always have looked best on you first, but I too will wear it with as much love and flair as you did.

I publicly send out this thank you to all those whose hand-me-downs I have worn. And let us all hand down a quality hand-me-down to someone we love, or perhaps more importantly to someone who loves us. For it will mean the most to them.

With Love, she who wears your clothes, still.


  1. You are too sweet KK. Will you forgive me for putting that hideously huge bow in your hair?

  2. Love this. I was never on the receiving end of hand-me-downs. You are a grateful and gracious receiver. Miss T is a generous and gifted giver.

  3. I loved this post! My Caleb is getting Tanner's hand-me-downs now and as a parent I LOVE IT! What a cute post. Tenley is a great giver isn't she?!