I wrote a book about vintage clothing, and how it saved a young girl's life, how it became her skin, so I have absolutely nothing against wearing other people's clothes. In fact, I love to go to vintage stores and thrift shops hunting for treasures. It is a wonderful hobby, and I can spend hours looking at pockets and necklines and the way the skirts seem to fall. Colorful prints and patterns are art to me. Even if I don't want to wear something, I can appreciate and ponder its beauty.
Today I had an experience that taught me about the mystique of it all. I was visiting a close friend who has a high-end consignment store, and into the place walks a youngish woman with two big black trash bags full of clothes. She had cleaned out her closet and her daughter's, and threw it all into bags that she dragged from the trunk of her car inside the shop. There is some Free People, she said, and Lucky Brand. And of course my eyes popped at that. Some Plenty and some Splendid and some Ella Moss. The shop owner frowned when after the woman left, I went quickly over to open up the bag. She said: I hate it when merchandise arrives like garbage.
I agreed, but carried on, digging inside the pile to see what I could find that might cost a quarter of the original, or even less, while she sat on the couch smiling, watching me. Suppose the stuff came in a pretty pink bag, you might appreciate it even more, she said. Suppose it was separated by category, with tops together and jeans together and accessories in their own package. There was a Dolce & Gabanna bralette that was stuck inside a beige lace top. We might have missed it but for the label, and the blush color. Maybe if that were wrapped in tissue, I might have been even more impressed.
It just seemed like two big bags of once coveted merchandise that nobody cared about anymore. Not even the stop owner, who makes it her business to find and sell expensive used stuff, like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Of course, I continued to forage in the bags because it is quite true that one person's trash is another's treasure. Yet I sure did get the point.
If you hope to sell something, you might love it a little bit, and show that love some way. A shirt unbuttoned holds no shape. A dress unzipped is lifeless. Dirty pants are dirty, no matter the Hudson brand. Rags folded neatly and tied with a ribbon are no longer rags. They are riches. It is about caring, to me. If it was on your body once, you must have liked it once. Well then like it a little longer, so that somebody else will want to recycle it. Let it go with some intention. I have dresses that are 80 years old, and even though I wear them so infrequently, I keep them protected. The day I don't want them anymore, I will fold them tenderly, zipped and buttoned and cleaned, so that some young girl might see just what I once did.