November 11, 2014 § Leave a comment
When I lived in Baltimore I did a lot of walking and wandering. As a young, poor student I also was very money savvy. My friends and I frequented the thrift stores that bordered our college. The best shops were often in the seediest parts of town. There was usually a security guard waiting at the front door. I guess it was a necessary job to deter someone from stealing a $3 pair of jeans.
One of my favorite places was Value Village on North Avenue. They had daily deals and a constant influx of new old stuff. (Mutually agreed as a favorite thrift spot.) I often had to go there for odd supplies for art projects. Metal things for constructing a cake stand, fabric bits for making a teepee and occasionally, okay always, I would look around for hidden gems to adorn myself.
Shoes, one of my biggest weaknesses and cravings, were always a section I had to go poke around. Plus, as a Floridian living up north, I was always on the lookout for warm and cosy items.
I spotted these moccasins and there was just something about them. Yes, they were a little dingy. Yes, they were falling apart a bit at the seams. No matter, I had to have them and they were merely $2. I actually liked the way someone had tried to repair them. At the time, they were fixed with a little red thread. I was majoring in fiber, after all, sewing and stitching is a love of mine.
I bought these shoes and still have them all these years later. I have since added some new, green thread in an attempt to keep them alive longer. They are wearing away more and more each day, but they continue to be reliable, cosy, dirty and completely, nostalgically lovable.
October 28, 2014 § Leave a comment
I never had a sister to trade clothes with. I never sought out hand-me-downs or hand-me-ups from my brothers. However, sometimes when my mom would get rid of old clothes, especially when I was away from home, living states apart, I would cling to her old, cosy clothes.
Like this grey sweater. It already had some little holes, probably a reason she was getting rid of it, and I loved it. I accidentally shrunk it in the wash, but then I still loved it more. It became like an old stuffed bear or blanket. The more disheveled this sweater has become, the more I want to put it on and feel the tight squeeze of my mom.
Sometimes I daydream about these old clothes. I wonder if I went to with my mom to the Gap when she bought this. I wonder if I was trailing along, playing under the racks of collared shirts and khaki pants with my younger brother. Maybe I had brought along a friend and we were fawning over the fancy things we might one day wear.
I think about my clothes a lot. I think about the emotional power they have over me. I consider if this makes me crazier. Either way, I love to pull this shrunken number over a dress and rub the softness of it. I feel for those little tears in the sleeve and think about my mother.
October 7, 2014 § Leave a comment
A few years ago, I spent a short time living in San Francisco, Calif. These great thrift stores exist out there called Buffalo Exchange. If you know the Gainesville, Fla. thrifting scene, this chain of shops is similar to Flashbacks Recycled Fashions. It was glorious to buy west coast duds at a low, low price.
This small, black jacket, originating from H&M, was one of my first purchases. It fit me like a glove. It cost a whopping $10.
Now, to the tear.
One afternoon, I was exploring Ocean Beach and the Sutro Baths ruins with my friend, Nate. We came upon a very rocky, very wet section of land. Nate pointed to the sharp, muddy terrain and told me,
“Watch out, it is slippery over here.”
I nodded and shuffled along the ruins. However, caution went with the wind. I slipped and fell. And fell. And, I am pretty sure, fell a little more. When I finally came to a stop, I was in a daze. Then I looked up and saw Nate, who was hollering things about me being alright. You know, general yells of concern. He was wearing a great look of horror and scrambled toward me with much more agility.
I was shocked, as I felt around my person, that all my body parts were still in place. Everything ached and it felt as though I had suffered from whiplash, but the damage was fairly minimal. My left side was caked in mud and my sea-foam green, off-brand Keds were scuffed beyond repair.
A little later, on flat ground, I noticed the big tear in my new jacket. I was sad for maybe 11 seconds and then felt relief that I had not cracked my head open.
I still wear my jacket and I still find myself feeling around the rip, touching it to know it is still there. I loved that adventure and it adds some flare.