I am a huge advocate of thrifting and vintage. It’s the secret to looking fabulous affordably, ahead of the trends. So I was thrilled to be asked to co-host The Vintage Shaun + Dee Lioness Pop Up Shop with mother/daughter duo Vintage Shaun and Dee Lioness, founder of Beauty ‘n’ Curlz Keisha Bloise, and UPTOWN Associate Editor Annika Harris.
My passion for vintage stems from early childhood years rummaging through treasures at jumble sales and second hand shops in England. For me and my mum, it was not so much a pass time as a vocation. Our weekends were spent trekking between church halls, community gatherings and charity shops, tousling with hardened bargain hunters for the best of trophies. A brand new M&S mini dress complete with price labels, a sequined 60’s top two sizes too big, and a pair of knee high boots with hardly worn stack heels, feature brightly in my memory as prized ‘wins’. It was a tough battleground, but one where the importance of quality clothing and wise sartorial investment was easily learnt.
Since moving to NYC, my lust for all things thrift remains insatiated, and I can often be found buried in the myriad of beautiful City vintage stores. My closet is virtually a thrift shop! I admit, no – I proclaim loudly, that 90% of my clothes are bought from a second hand or vintage store. And I am proud of it. Why? For three reasons:
Firstly, because an item pre-worn is an item pre-loved.
When you buy a piece of vintage, you buy a piece of history, a story, a clutch of memories. So I may not know who for sure swung the taffeta silk of a glamorous ball gown around the dance floor for the first time, but I can imagine. And when I wear that dress, I am adding my chapter to the story of that dress – which will continue when I take it back to the thrift store for them to sell on to another loving owner.
Secondly, when walking around the rows of brand spanking shiny new clothes in a department store, where a particular garment is neatly displayed in an array of sizes and colours, I sometimes feel as though I am being told that ‘this is what everyone SHOULD be wearing this season’. Well, what if I want to wear what everyone was wearing last season, or three years or thirty years ago?? I hate to be told what to do or think or say and certainly loathe being told what to wear. A thrift shop contains so many different seasons of clothes from so many years all on the same rail. So much choice!
And the third reason: going into a thrift shop is like walking into a fairy tale story book full of treasures and gems. To me, it is a magical place. When you walk into a thrift store, everything you find is unique. There will be one garment of that particular colour and that particular style and it will only be available in one size. So what joy when you spot a ‘to die for’ dress, made from dreamy material in a perfect cut, and it fits! Its as though that dress was put in that store for you to find at that very moment. The thrill of finding a new piece, a one of a kind item, and then adding it to my collection is pure ecstasy.
OK, so maybe I have an issue. I am unable to walk past a thrift store without having a quick flit amongst the rails and my closet is bulging at the seams. But my accountant is happy and so is my dry cleaner.
If you are a vintage purveyor, style lover and enjoy clothes, block out Wednesday, 7th May, 6-9pm. Come and join us at 110 Meserole Avenue, Brooklyn, for stylish conversations and vintage fashion tips as we pick our favourite items, share our vintage secrets and all shop together.
Check out the invite and also visit our sponsors. Don’t forget to use our hashtags #SpringHasSprung and #VintageShaunPopUp.
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