Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thrifted Thursday: Three Reasons I Love Vintage

          Everyone pretty much by now knows my deep and abiding love of second hand clothing- I love to shop for it, find it, take it home and breath new life into it. Vintage shops are my favourites- the place to find the most interesting and stunning pieces. Second hand shops come in a close second- great places to find basics like jeans at low prices- occasionally the consummate thrifter can score the rare vintage piece at places like Value Village- less and less so these days. Clothing Swaps- possibly one of my all time favourite events- you take a bag of items you are no longer interested in wearing- throw them into a pile- and come out with bags of clothing someone else didn't want any longer- for free!

      For me the number one reason shopping Thrift and Vintage stores is better than hitting the mall is the interest factor- as a lover of all things beautiful and interesting I want my wardrobe to reflect that. Shopping pre-loved clothes allows me to curate an interesting wardrobe full of one of kind pieces that belong to me alone- yeah I like to be unique. My real love is Vintage stores- not to be confused with Thrift stores- shopping Vintage is literally stepping back in time and cherry picking from the decades what you love best.

     The second reason is the environmental factor- once a new item of clothing leaves the factory where it was produced it has been coated in a number of chemicals- all of which are bad for you- one of which I have an extreme sensitivity to- formaldehyde. Chemicals to deter bugs and pests during transport- chemicals for fire retardant- chemicals to starch the fabric smooth for the retailer- just too many chemicals for me!

     Also the waste factor comes into play - almost all companies today over produce- fast fashion as it's come to be known as is common place with retailers hedging their bets on consumers shopping once a week. There are now 52 seasons of clothing as opposed to what used to be four- new garments hitting the mannequins once a week to keep consumers desiring new things. So many of those textiles ending their lives in a landfill of discount thrift store- or worse headed for a third world country. Did you know that much of North America's second hand textiles are shipped to third world countries under the guise of "aid"- the result is that those local economies are affected because the local dress maker or tailor is put out of business when the towns are flooded with our left overs.

      The Third reason to shop vintage is simple the thrill of the hunt- prowling the racks for the one item that jumps out at me and begs to be taken home. Over the years I have garnered some real scores- an antique beaded hand bag from the 20's for a song- a brocade designer hand bag from the 50's New York and my all time favourite my Bakelite bangle! When I go shopping I have to head out with an open mind and a lose list- I have an exact idea at this point what my style is so while I can examine and wow over beautiful vintage gowns I no longer feel the need to bring them home with me- I can admire things and pass them along. The feeling of shopping like this is such a rush- the excitement of finding the perfect item- examining the well constructed garments and the heavy fabrics- this is truly why I love to shop vintage!

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