I’ve got lots of things crossed off my to do/to find in storage list, and am culling through summer clothes and table linens. There is a big pile of things to give to Big Sisters, there are a few (but far fewer than in the past) sentimental items that have gone back into storage, and there’s the “I think I’m taking it” pile, which needs a second going-over.

But the biggest challenge has been finding cotton trousers in khaki, grey, black, and white. Yesterday, I went to the local Posh Mall — it has a Nordstrom — where I started by looking at Talbots, but something (probably my tax bill) kept me from purchasing basic polished cotton trousers for $89. Plus I’m still broken up with them over the demise of size 18 in their stores.

Then I saw that Ann Taylor was having a 40% off sale so I went and had a look, again swallowing my principles, as they don’t stock 16 OR 18 in their stores. I ordered white and khaki crops in 16 and 18, planning to return the ones that don’t fit. They came today, but even before I got the shipping notice last night I’d decided to send them back and get something less expensive. Think Chez Target or Vieux Navy.

The thing is, the polished cotton trousers being peddled by all of these retailers are essentially the SAME. Same weight fabric, same styles, same figure-type variations, lengths, and leg width. And a $60 price spread.

It went pretty well. I got khaki and grey at ON and black at Target, with the bonus* of a very cute and well constructed jacket. All four of these items cost around $100, with discounts and such. The britches that were eluding me were the white ones. After looking and looking, I decided that I’d keep the pair from two summers ago that are still in good shape. I’m too tired to keep hunting.

The question still on my mind is how much I’m going to alter them. They’re too long — but do I want to morph them into ankle pants? Slim the legs down a little? I’m going to wait to decide until I get to Madrid, since I’m feeling rather surfeited with so much retail activity, and feel dangerously close to making nutso decisions about what I can’t live without in Madrid. (Exhibit A: Toast tongs)

Many of the sewing projects are as yet unsewn. The ones that are uncut are going to Madrid that way. The skirt and top I’ve cut out will be finished, as will the pillows and plastic bag caddy. And I’m going to be packing a box with some patterns and sewing things that I don’t want to fit in my suitcase. (Those things are HEAVY!) I’ll do a test-pack tomorrow and see how it looks. Please be warned that there is not going to be anything “capsule” about this wardrobe.

*Notice I didn’t say “added bonus.” I love “added bonus” about as much as I love “general consensus.” I worshiped at the altar of Strunk and White for the whole of my journalism program. How do y’all feel about “added bonus”?