Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why Can't Shopping for Clothes be Easy? It Can Be.

I remember when I used to live in Massachusetts years ago. Every store was trying to get your attention to buy their 'quality' clothing. The most memorable commercial series I can remember involved a matronly woman named Gert abusing her adult son. No, not that kind of abuse, this was pure physical abuse to show how good their new GoreTex line of COLD weather clothing really was. I made some of my best clothing purchases based off of those television spots for clothes that kept me truly warm when those dark, cold winter nights and mornings arrived. The name of the clothing line you should recognize, Columbia. When these spots first came out I thought it was a lot of hooey! Please excuse my salty language there. I can honestly say that these spots reflected the truth. I got my first Columbia winter jacket at an outlet in Fall River, Mass for a really good price. I'm not saying they're expensive products but you do pay for what you get and what you get will last a long time. It is harder to find Columbia clothing than it is to find junk clothing like George at a big box store. I find that purchasing on-line is the easiest (know your sizes) way, not to mention the most affordable, to buy instead of the stores with walls, lights, air conditioning, etc that only adds to the price.

The first jacket I bought was a two layer with zip out liner. The liner I used more than the total jacket because the combined jacket was best used when it was cold and windy or in a snow storm. I was only cold above and below the jacket but toasty warm inside it. The liner was a great in between jacket for cooler weather, which New Englanders know runs about 40 degrees F. That's right, short sleeved shirt with my liner - perfect! I live in Florida now and I brought the jacket with me. I know, why bring a warm jacket to Florida of all places? It gets cold here too. In the winter I have to cover small fruit trees or they'll get killed with frost, that's right - frost in Florida. That's why the citrus growers had to move further south of Central Florida, I've even seen pictures of snow on the ground where I live and I'm only 45 minutes north of Tampa and directly west of Disney. I now purchase Columbia WARM weather clothing because I got to try some thanks to a clothing retailer down here that has their own outlet store. I got 2 great shirts for fishing made by, who else, Columbia. I thought at first that the material may be a bit too heavy for being outside fishing but boy was I wrong. The way the shirt is set-up it wicks away perspiration and allows air to circulate to areas that typically get hot, backs and arms. I did get a 'lucky' golf shirt as well and the freedom of movement is fantastic for my drives. Now if I could just afford the greens fees. The selection at the outlet store is limited so I went on-line and went through a store called Zappos and they were pretty reasonable. I got a couple of pairs of shorts and they're really comfortable. I stress this comfort part because I'm very particular as to how clothes feel on me. I have never found any clothing by say, Levis, that I was actually comfortable wearing and the only denim jeans I will ever wear are Lee jeans. I don't know, it's like going to a restaurant and getting either an enjoyable steak or a piece of shoe leather called steak. I never go back for the shoe leather steak!

I know your wondering when I'm going to elaborate on the abuses that Gert put her son through that I mentioned in the beginning. One spot I remember was the son out in a blizzard and his mother wouldn't let him come into the warmth because she wanted to show the durability of the jacket to maintain body heat in the most extreme conditions. She'd be all warm and toasty while he would have to suffer all the indignities of foul weather exposure. They demonstrated the effectiveness of the clothing for keeping out driving rain to allow you to stay nice and dry in a car wash. I didn't run right out and buy anything but I did remember the commercials which meant I remembered the name. They got they're message across because when the opportunity arose to acquire a Columbia jacket I jumped on it. They did a nice job of designing the jacket too. The sleeves were tied off with locking bungie cords, the waist had a similar restraint and the hidden rain hood was perfectly placed for quick deployment and concealment. The snaps and zippers were heavy duty and very good quality. I've had my jacket for 14 years and it still serves me well with no material breakdowns of any kind. I got more than my money's worth! I honestly recommend these products for people who don't want to have to replace their clothes as often as they change their socks. Good clothing is a good investment.

I wrote this and went to Columbia to see if they had those old commercials and sure enough they just added them to their site yesterday, kinda spooky. Here is the link to see how these products have held up all these years, some are pretty funny too. Give 'em heck Gert!

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