Reduce. Reuse. Resale.
Economics drive behavior. Sometimes. Lately, for sure. But, wait. Totally getting ahead of myself. Which would seem pretty awesome if I knew exactly where I intended to go with all this. It’s kind of centered around consignment shops. Re-sale. The glorious re-birth of thrift stores. But more, you know, geez. I’m tired. Sometimes this blogging everyday thing is just exhausting. PLUS I’m at least a day behind. Let’s start over.
I’m a re-sale shopper. I’ll hit vintage stores from sun up to sun down, pausing only to grab a bitter black coffee in the morning and a fierce IPA in the afternoon. A lot of people do this for the economics of it (see? Full circle.). Not me so much. Really, I could go to the outlet stores or clearance racks and get screaming deals. But, blech. Borrrrrrring. Ever since River was brewing in my belly I loaded up his layette from the whimsical racks of a childrens’ re-sale shop in Beaverton. It was like walking in to someone else’s closet, fondling their gently worn and warm sweaters, ogling their bitchin’ costume collection, trying on their slightly scuffed tap shoes. It was more or less like walking down the street, a super hip street where people care just a little bit about not looking like a J Crew catalog, and shopping directly off their bodies. But without the stealing. Or the making people naked in public. Or being a creeper in general. It was a store full of stuff that other people had already hand-selected from other stores, brand new. Then wore for a tiny amount of time (in case you’re not a parent or have never spent more than a week with a child, they grow ridiculously fast and clothes do not have time to wear out – unless they’re made of paper, then they pee right through them). Then that gently worn and carefully selected crop of clothing is taken to a re-sale shop where the owner, or rockabilly chick employee with the butterfly chest tattoo and do-rag, picks it over and hand-selects a fraction of frocks and hand-knit sweaters and dresses from Hanna Andersson with their myseterious centimetric sizing . They do all the work for me! It’s not always less expensive than Target or baby Gap (sale section). But it’s more fun. And that fun comes off in a way that really works for me.
As the kids get older, the pickins get slimmer at re-sale shops. One of my favorite shops in Portland, Mississippi Treehouse, just recently re-located. I was stoked cause they were now going to be sharing a building with Sound Roots Music School, who I also love. The kids and I went in to say congrats and to check out the new space, and maybe, to use up the credit that I still have there. I was sad to see that, due to the new and much much much smaller retail space, they no longer had anything in River’s size, and very little in Maggie’s. Hmph. Pout. Foot stomp. So what now?
There’s legitimacy in this re-sale strategy. Not simply for the economics of it. But for the environmental side of it. Cause of duh. But also for the joy of it! Of that community what-goes-around-comes-around-and–what-goes-around-is-a-rad-jacket side of it. But beyond it being a resource for kids’clothing, it’s a bit tougher to wade through when they get older.
- Kids re-sale boutiques – legitimate awesomeocity. Owners take pride in what they carry. You find cool shit. Ergo, your kids wear cool shit. Which means photo ops are better. Because Dora and Diego are nowhere to be seen. And if they are, you're not at a re-sale boutique. You're at Goodwill.
- Adult consignment boutiques – dunno. Have yet to find a good one. But! From time to time there is a gem tucked back on the one clothing rack in the corner of a …
- Vintage store – My favorite? I Heart Retro. I like the owner. I like Woody, the dude in drag that thanks me for being a buyer and not just a browser. I bought my couch from them. And a pink gnome for Sabrina. And tin Bonanza mugs from Ponderosa Ranch. And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books. And the sweetest white disco dress this side of the 70’s. Also, Red Fox Vintage, which has vendor stalls, so the selection is so very fresh. Like fresh as in the sleeveless Michael Jackson black t-shirt I saw a few months back. Or fresh as the roller skates that are residing under my bed. Or fresh as nude lady pint glasses I bought for Tim for Christmas. The kind where their clothes are on until you fill the glasses with ice and then their clothes come off like magic. Except these don't work right anymore. They're just always naked.
- Thrift stores – These tend to be a bit more chaotic. Used bicycles can be a good find. But there’s also the odd smelly thermos that looks like it was buried in the back of a pick-up bed for a decade and a half.
- Antique stores – Meh. I like these in smaller doses. Sellwood is filled with them. And some have very particular flavors, like antique military stuff. No thanks. Not so interesting. EXCEPT there was one recently that we stumbled in to that had a page from an Arcata newspaper from about 90 years ago. That made me geek out a bit. I mean a lot. A lot a bit.
- Then there’s the very rare, very special, very wonderful, but also very chilly hybrid Vintage store/Cocktail lounge -Yes, it’s real. Palace of Industry. Have you ever had a lavender cocktail while sitting on a vintage barstool, thumbing through an encyclopedic collection of Rolling Stone covers and then taking a break to stroll through the lacey silk slips from your mother’s era and relax on a crushed green velvet couch that would make your whole millennium if you could just bring it home with you? Well there it is. You should come visit me. We’ll go here together.
That’s all I wanted to say. I like my furniture slightly musty. My children’s clothes to be broken in. River’s reading material to be original Donatello. Or Michaelangelo. Or Raphael or Leonardo. Or whatever that rat’s name is.
Harder economic times may make these shopping options crop up in more parts of the city. But shoppers like me, that prefer their goods to have some history and soul in them, will keep their shelves from gathering dust.