East Meets West: Thrift Shop (This is Fucking Awesome)

M*A*S*H is actually one of my favourite shows and I’ll have reached the height of decadence, and absurdity when I have my own land line. Top 40? More Like Top No Thanks! Modernist and minimalistic aesthetic; hard pass. I’m a retro girl living in a modern world.  My wardrobe and my home are slowly and steadily looking like an amalgamation of Penny Lane of Almost Famous, Jenny from Forrest Gump and Meghan from Mad Men. The best place to find all these groovy 60’s and 70’s gems? Thrift stores, baby.

My perfect penny lane jacket

My perfect penny lane jacket

Initially, pillaging places like VV Boutique (Value Village) Salvation Army and the like were reserved for finding pieces when your wallet was in a pinch or you needed a disposable or kitsch outfit for Halloween or an 80’s party. (90’s parties are now a thing, ‘scuse me while my ticker process’ that). These places are practically made for hipsters; 80s dad sweaters and mom jeans are aplenty and the 90’s are considered "vintage". (Again, my poor ticker).

Thrift and Vintage shops are starting to find themselves entrenched in an influx of items thanks to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I still haven’t gotten into it. (Mad Men ain’t gonna rewatch itself!), though I did do my own wardrobe purge to spark more joy in my life.

Here’s the thing. Some people regard thrifting and vintage shopping as a way of life. It’s a beautiful way to reduce your carbon footprint, moving away from co-modification and stay the funk away from the mall. Most importantly, finding long lost treasures is a means to promote and celebrate an incredible uniqueness through personal style. 

I’m a novice in the world of vintage. Sure, my Lovely Lady Lair is decorated with a bunch of pieces from various shops, but finding rare gems isn’t what gets me out of bed in the morning.

I spy with my lil eye pretty much everything thrifts

I spy with my lil eye pretty much everything thrifts

Cue a pal of mine, Chelsea. Chelsea and I met while working at a boutique together and her personal style evokes happiness; she’s got some of the best locks around, having been every colour of the juicy rainbow, and often dresses like a host from a children’s TV show from days gone by. Colourful (understatement), unique, fun, camp, character-y, all so deeply expressive. Chelsea’s celebration of personal style is inspiring, she teaches me to have, oh what’s that word, FUN, and not to take it all so seriously. True story, sometimes when I need a pick me up, I breeze over to her Instagram page, because that ascetic is some good.

My friend Chelsea

My friend Chelsea

I’ve found some humdingers of vintage places that made me turn into a cartoon replacing my eyes with hearts. Drum roll please: when you’re in Kitchener White Tiger Vintage Boutique downtown. Vancouver boasts the gems Mintage and Mintage Mall (say hi to Chelsea!) and Miscellany Finds. Sugar Mountain Vintage in Portland is the very stuff that my 70’s dreams are made of (such lovely staff). When I was down in Long Beach, Cali, I practically needed a defibrillator, never have I ever seen more vintage shops; Retro Row.  From Pin Up, to Tiki, metal head and everything in between, a four-block stretch homes over a dozen shops. SWOON.                   

I know that some people have trouble with vintage, maybe not clothes so much, but furniture and the like. Why? Energy. Who were the people that had these pieces prior? I’m not saying that I’d be down for a haunted hutch (well, maybe) but I like history, nostalgia. I’ve always been more of a blackboard, than a whiteboard kinda girl. I mean, dur, hence this piece. Naturally, previously loved shopping does have its downsides. One of the kind means, one of a kind, and you’re SOL if that beautiful baby blue pleated 70 dress straight out of The Virgin Suicides isn’t your size. Sadly, a true story. Condition, funky smells, origins, all questionable elements that can accumulate in having to cultivate mad patience.

Yet, that’s part of the process, the adventure, the fun! And before you know it, you’ve curated an outfit, dare I say a mood or persona, that’s exclusively yours. Something that you took the time and energy which will make the strut that you’ll inevitably have in your step, all the more satisfying.

And just like the lyric from the song Thrift Shop goes; “this is fucking awesome” You can say that again, Macklemore.