I was a thrift store baby. No, my parents didn’t buy me at the local Savers, between the used vases and platform shoes, but I did grow up wearing primarily second-hand clothing. My favorite moment at the beginning of each school year was our back-to-school shopping at the ARC. So I grew up knowing how to take one item, which had been designed, worn, and styled by someone else, at a different moment in time, and make it my own. This is not to say I was stylish as a child – you should see some of the pictures from middle school. I grew into being stylish, but I think it had a lot to do with wearing clothes from so many different styles and eras.
Why do I remix?
I remix because I think that’s what clothes are for. I think that when a dress is designed, and when some version of that style eventually lands on the racks at Target and the Gap, the designer didn’t intend that that style be worn in only one way, by one type of person, one time (of course, there are plenty of custom-made pieces that make my argument completely null and void, so let’s just ignore those, okay? Plus, I’d just take that as a challenge anyway). I think that, for the most part, clothing is designed to be worn. Short of that slutty sailor Halloween costume where the top, bottom, and everything in-between are sewn together to eliminate the confusion of how to wear it, clothes are meant to be taken out of their element. Items are meant to be worn in different styles, with different colors and patterns, and in different periods of time.
I think that’s why I love thrifting so much. I can find pieces that were meant for women (and men!) so different from me, who undoubtedly wore that item in a way that I never would have thought to, and I can buy it and style it in my own way, and then in many other new and creative ways before I finally send it back to the Goodwill to let it find a new home. And that’s what I get to do with my closet this month. I’m getting to go back to the roots of what my clothes were meant to do, and wear each piece in new and exciting ways.
I remix because each item in my wardrobe is positively begging me to do so. It’s what they were made for. I’m just fulfilling their dreams.
Follow Clare at Between Laundry Days as she fulfills her dreams and takes over the world one thrifted piece at at time.