Second Hand Shopping in a Small Town
Ever the one to try and “make it fashion” in nearly almost situation, I’m excited I’m temporarily stuck in a small town. While out on location – and on pause from filming for a day or two – I’m wanting to seize the moment. By shopping, naturally.
Many folks use their days off to adventure in nature, perform chores around their home, or run off for errands. Others spend time with loved ones catching up and making new memories. While I do some of those, I tend to squeeze in some shopping too. While staying over in the land of dinosaurs, I’ll too, be bopping by the local shops for second hand finds.
Less dense urban centres – aka: small cities, towns, and villages – offer finds that are unique and often overlooked. I think this is for a few reasons. It could be as simple as a volume thing: less people through the stores over a period of time may mean a total knockout gem stays hidden, just waiting there to be found by someone like me a little bit longer. How lucky. It could also be that different sorts of items are popular in different places. For instance, what may sell fast in Calgary may not be as popular in a smaller town. The reverse would be true too. While I’m all for looking “cool,” my version of that means I’m navigating my own taste and carving out a space in my personal style that’s just for me. Trends be damned (well, sometimes).
People often ask what I look for when I’m scouring second hand places. Here are a few items that I keep my eyes wide open for two of my truest loves:
First Love: Fabrics
I look for high wool content blazers, jackets, trousers, skirts, knits, and suits as it’s hard to find modern pieces that rival the same quality and price point. If not a great fashion item, I can use the fabric for something else. I can hear my mom saying, “They just don’t make things the same anymore,” as I slowly come to realize the hard – no adult child wants to accept – truth that I am turning a bit into my mom.
Silks are always interesting to me. The drape, the feel, and the structure are often too delicious to pass up. Friends and colleagues can attest the many times I’ve – furiously even - spread out the racks and flipped through the hangers one by one, only to pull out a piece that has potential to see what the inside label lists. A bit excited, I flip the piece on itself to read what the content breakdown is. It’s a winner of it’s a 100%.
I do indulge in leathers and furs at times. It’s a personal choice and a heavy one for some. I hope that by purchasing goods that already exist for years and years past and have been loved by someone before me it’s a little less intense. That said, they’re my choices and mine alone. Second hand shops often have incredible vintage pieces that I’m thrilled to find.
Lover Deux: Home Décor
I love a blue print china or ceramic. I ding dong do. Mostly the Blue Willow series say over the European folks in field variety but I’m open to new-to-me prints. Something in my (soul?) body lights up and I’m compelled to hold the piece in my hands as I ponder purchasing. That said, if I find another classic china set in mint condition, I’m hard pressed not to snag it up.
Also, I’m I sucked for vintage crystal glassware. The weight, the engraving, and the sparkle are titillating. I love to imagine whom before me enjoyed a stiff drink in that glass. Or maybe it was just juice over breakfast. No matter how they were used, I love that they were.
Of course, the shiny stuff – silver, brass, nickel – trays, cutlery and the like catch my eye too. Basically, I’m a magpie. But once you get the items home and polish them up, I have a bit of the Beauty and the Beast moment of bringing forgotten things back to life. Did I mention they’re shiny?
For now I’ve seemed to dip my toes only in the small goods but I see myself starting to look over at the small furniture. I often think to myself, imagine if there was fresh paint on that wood chest? Would new upholstery make that chair into something special? Or what about new handles on those drawers? I can’t imagine I’ll be able to walk away from these potentially beautiful pieces for much longer.
Now I’ve go to run. I’ve got a date with vintage, the hot sun, and dinosaurs.