Monday, July 25, 2011

Secondhand story

 Dress: Erika, vintage, thrifted, from Minx; 
Headband: Target; Sandals: Miss Trish of Capri, Target;
Ring: Medieval Times (story here);
Sweater: Ruche (part of a giveaway from The Clothes Horse).

As a child, I grew up in other people's clothes. 

Sure, I had my own from the store, and some even handmade by my mother. Some even from the mall.

But the ones that held the most curiosity were the ones found at the thrift store. With three young children, my mom did a lot of discount shopping while I was growing up, and thrift stores became a place of savings (and a point of contention and disdain during some of those years for me). Some school years' wardrobes were concocted from Salvation Army discards, and if I ever felt I wanted to start a new grade level with a fresh identity, my mother encouraged me to find its costume within the racks. 

There was fourth grade, and the holey red sweater, bra top and floral shorts that was more appropriate for a grunge show than the playground (how I never got sent home from elementary school still amazes me). A white crochet vest worn at age 10 belied my fascination with the 70s and repeat viewings of "Now and Then." 

Years of experimentation soon followed with platform sandals, mini-skirts, camp t-shirts, off-the-shoulder blouses, Halloween costumes, evening dresses. If a cat had nine lives, I had the wardrobe of 15 in my closet as a teenager, and all from different eras and sizes.

These days, I have honed in a little better on my personal tastes and preference for quality. I'd probably pass on the red holey sweater if I ever saw it again. And these days, there are fewer personalities fighting for attention in my closet, too.

But thrift store shopping has become second nature to me, and I still do it often, as it's economical for me and easier to find things to fit my vintage preferences. Before I started this blog, I had little idea of how to figure out fit and quality on a meager budget. Now, I suppose after 500-plus documented trials on this blog, I'm more confident about all those things, and myself looking decent in the real world. 

And it never would have happened without experimentation in the clothes of others.

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