If it weren't for traveling, I don't think I'd ever buy new underwear.
Seriously. When I'm home, just living, not going anywhere, I make do, as my supply of "good" underwear dwindles with the passage of time. Since I have access to a washing machine in my house, no worries if I'm down to three, maybe five, days' worth of pairs I like. I'll rotate in the pairs I don't like, those with a slightly weird fit or funky fabric, or go entirely without. Scandalous, right?
So thank goodness for prolonged international travel, which forces me to take stock, count it up, and generally buy more. Leaving home for two weeks really does make a person (well, at least me, anyway) get off her ass and invest in the necessaries.
Which leads to a funny situation where I can look at particular Felina bra and know that it dates to October 2006, purchased at Nordstrom the night before our departure for Macchu Picchu. Or that particular set of matching underpants: just before Oaxaca 2008. Clearly, I can make some things last. But not forever.
If I learned anything from years of traveling on business, it's that you really can't pack too much underwear. Like the time I was on the East Coast for 24 hours -- to secure a visa for Serbia, a chore involving a hired-car to Queens to the one guy who could translate my travel documents which I then had to take, by train, to the embassy in DC -- and heard a disturbing pop as I was about to clasp the bra behind my back while getting dressed in the morning after three hours sleep. Total lingerie failure. Thank goodness I had a spare, since there was no time for bra-replacement built in to my packed schedule (especially since my bra size is as impossible to find in regular stores as my shoe size, damn it). Multiples: always a good idea.
So, since we leave tomorrow for Bali, I've done it again: added new pieces to my collection, such as it is. Not a lot, just two Wacoal bras, two Hanky Panky thongs, which forever -- or at least the next couple of years, if past trends are any indication of future performance -- will represent July 2010.
With the next big trip after this one already looming on the horizon (India with Laura, November 2011), it won't be long before I'm shopping for unmentionables again. Until then, I'm making do with what I've got, armchair traveling every time I open that drawer.