Monday, 6 October 2014

Old enough to know better

I started thrifting at a very young age.  My grandmother was a classic garage sale junkie.  It was always a treat to get to do the rounds with her on Saturday mornings in her bubble car (in actuality, an AMC Pacer).  One lesson I took from those early thrifting sessions, and subsequent obsession with all things vintage was know what you want.

In my experience, there are 4 types of things for sale at a junk/yard/garage/thrift/basement/estate sale:

1) Junk.  Junk can move in various places on this list at any given time, but disregard junk.  Buying and storing Junk makes you a hoarder.

2) Dime a dozen.  Things that are a dime a dozen are not bad, they could be useful but they can also be found elsewhere at anytime.  The key here is knowing your dime a dozen.  If it is being sold for a dime, this is too much -  you should be able to get at least a dozen for a dime.  Also, buy it only when you need it, because you can get it at any time.  See, simple.

3) Treasure.  If there is a treasure and you need or want said treasure, do not walk away, do not turn your back...don't even blink.  A treasure is rare, and though you may be one of the few that thinks it is a treasure, it is guaranteed if you take your eyes off of it, it will be gone when you look back.

4) The bonus.  The bonus is tricky.  The bonus is something that falls in between junk and treasure.  It's not something you see often, like crap taxidermy, or a statue of Joseph, Mary and pre-teen Jesus standing in a clam shell surrounded by fibre optic lights.
Reach out and touch faith.
Easily classified as junk by some, it could also be the quirky key to your kitchy Christmas decor.  The best policy for the bonus is to assess price, space and spousal reaction, and decide 'do I take this and take the time to decide if it is junk or treasure (a slippery slope towards hoarding)' or 'do I leave this and consider it, safe in the knowledge that if it is meant to be, it will be here waiting'.  It's a tough one.

And sometimes you misjudge and leave that perfectly indescribable thing only to realise that your happiness will now be somewhat diminished knowing that it exists and it slipped through your fingers.  I recently made such an error.  It was a glorious, hot pink, hand knit sweater, emblazoned with a large grey and white sheepdog with a perfect pink tongue lolling out to one side.  This sweater should never be worn, not even (especially not) ironically.  But its re-imaginings are endless.  Alas, it is not meant to be.  A rookie mistake.

Thankfully on my latest thrifting adventure, my disappointment was tempered by a couple of nifty finds in the Halloween fashions.  I have noted a decline in the past few years that the number of stunning vintage dresses to be found at the local value village.  I had assumed that this was due to an upturn in the number of curators of vintage goods on the interwebs (my favourites are here and here).  However, what I discovered this weekend is that many of these dresses are now deemed 'seasonal' and only make an appearance for a limited time in September and October.  So I grabbed two beauties and a thinker.
Airing out that distinct perfume de value village - stale cigs and mothballs

They are both in exceptional shape...not a mark on them.  I haven't yet decided if I will place them into my own wardrobe rotation, or if I will expand in some small measure of vintage things on my etsy shop.

So 1970s that not even the 70s wanted it.
The 3rd was a thinker.  Well made, cute fabric, god awful shape.  The bodice is quite wearable though, and in cutting half a metre of fabric out of the middle, I think I can make a slightly A-line, pleated, knee length skirt with pockets and a zipper.  I am merely an adequate seamstress with big ideas however, so we will see if I botch it or not.  For $3.99, I deem the experiment worth it.
No regrets!

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