I have always been a clothing thrifter. It's in my DNA (my father's side), and I spent much of my childhood visiting farm sales (again, my father's side) and learning about clothes (my mother's side—she was a fashion designer and seamstress in Germany.) As a pre-teen, I sewed my own clothes in 4-H, and when I was a teen, I hit all the weird stores and tucked, hemmed, and tied men's clothes to fit my wardrobe.
As farmers, we didn't have a lot of money, and clothes were not so much a luxury, as a necessity, but I had a burning need to be creative with my clothes, to not just wear the jeans and sweaters everyone else was. I devoured fashion magazines (at the library), I tore out any and all images that grabbed me and pinned them on the pink gingham foam board my mother made me as a Christmas gift and that hung in my bedroom.
My mother didn't take us to thrift stores—it wasn't her thing, but my sister, brother and I only had $50 to spend at TJ Maxx for school clothes every year, and although this was the 1990's and clothes weren't that expensive, you had to be creative with that little money. I learned to mix and match and pair. I learned to accessorize the old from my father's closet with the new from my own. My mother was a stickler for quality in her own work, so I knew good workmanship was worth a little more. I knew what made me feel good and what looked good on me. I made it work.
Fast-forward to now. I'm a mother, a photographer, and a hydro-fit instructor. I still have my own style. I have 2 children but I'm not falling prey to the mom wardrobe. I live in the "Gold Coast" a wealthy part of the Northeast that has wonderful finds in their thrift stores and estate sales. I'm fortunate. The quality of the clothes I find are high—many times, couture; the care is top notch—these women took the time and effort to maintain their possessions; the stories abound—89, 104, these women lived long, colorful and rich lives and I love to gather their essence and their clothes and share them with others.
I find the clothes. I wear the clothes. I share the clothes.