Vintage Vogue

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My grandfather loved buying me clothes when I was a child and thought Salvation Army and Goodwill were just ‘neato bandito.’  I remember as a child feeling embarrassed and being teased when he innocently mentioned it to my schoolmates.  Obviously insecure, it took me until young adulthood to realize that he was on to something–second-hand shopping was not just a great deal, but it supported some wonderful people and great causes.

In the early 90’s I went through a phase where I sought after polyester blend maxi dresses with ruffles on the neck, sleeves, and/or hem, from the 70’s I think. Vintage clothing is what it was called, though I had a friend who preferred calling it old-fashioned.  My confidence had developed enough to not worry too much about her opinion and I felt like a million bucks in my $2.99 dresses.

Thrift shopping is not the same here in Galway as it was back in Portland, but in recent years several shops have popped up.  I only just discovered them this summer when in need of all-black shirts for work.  There were so many nice ones it was hard to decide and the ones I chose got great compliments from my co-workers; my entrepreneurial mind considered buying more and selling them to the girls but I never did follow through on that thought.

Johnny’s memories of second-hand clothes are suitcases travelling over from the States.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends saved their hand-me-downs and brought them over on their summer holiday trips to Ireland for him and his six siblings to divvy up.  Like Christmas, they waited with great anticipation so see what treasures awaited them, and then the visitors had an empty case to refill with souvenirs of their trip.  Johnny tells a charming story about a favourite brown cowboy vest (pictured below) that he remembers bringing him much joy and how his mum would comment the clothes were so like new, as though they hadn’t been worn more than once.

There are a handful of shops all within walking distance of each other and Margaret Maeve and I visited them while in the city celebrating her birthday weekend.  The shops were full of clothes, books, furniture, dishes, and so much more, including loads of shoppers…clearly, attitudes have changed as much as styles have.  I honestly feel everything is in style these days; anything goes!

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I hope everyone’s having a groovy week,

Melissa Xx

62 Comments

    • You just never know what you’ll find and most likely you won’t meet it on the street on someone elses back either–unique items. That scenario is more likely here in Ireland where it is so small and so much sameness in the retail shops. At my children’s school it’s not unusual for several children aged between 4 and 12 years to have the same socks, t-shirts, well everything! They don’t mind, don’t know any different and it’s really fine, just saying, you know what I mean!

      Liked by 1 person

      • OVER THE YEARS I HAVE OWNED 6 DIFFERENT GIFT SHOPS– ANTIQUE SHOPS — JUNK SHOPS– ETC!!!! SO MUCH FUN– I HAD TO SELL THE LAST ONE (UNUSUALLY UNUSUAL TREASURES) BECAUSE OF MY MULTI CHEMICAL SENSITIVITIES– COULD NOT COPE WITH THE PUBLIC & ALL THE FRAGRANCES & TOXIC CHEMICALS THEY USED!!!! BUT I TOTALLY ENJOYED ALL THE SHOPS OVER THE YEARS– & ALL THE SHOPPERS/ COLLECTORS WHO BECAME FRIENDS!!!! STILL WHEN I’M PICKING AT A JUNK SHOP– THE ROLL-A-DEX IN MY BRAIN STILL TELLS ME– WHAT SHOPPERS & FRIENDS I KNEW WHO COLLECTED DIFFERENT GLASSWARE PATTERS– ETC— IT NEVER GOES AWAY– I MIGHT NOT REMEMBER WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT IS– ETC– BUT I REMEMBER THE NAMES OF WHO COLLECTED WHAT!!!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • FUNNY WHAT THE BRAIN CHOOSES TO HANG ONTO…I CAN STILL REMEMBER MY GRANDPARENTS LICENSE PLATE FROM WHEN I WAS 13 YEARS OLD AND THE PHONE NUMBER OF THE CABLE COMPANY.
          HOW COOL THAT YOU RAN ONE OF THESE THRIFT SHOPS. I WOULD IMAGINE IT WOULD BE SUCH FUN TO NOT KNOW WHAT INVENTORY YOU WOULD HAVE MONTH TO MONTH, AND SPECIALIZING IN UNIQUE FINDS, EVEN BETTER! MY GRANDPARENTS COLLECTED CUSTARD GLASS AND HUMMEL FIGURES. ALSO SOME BLUE GLASS.

          Liked by 1 person

    • No I haven’t seen it, must admit my screen time is very limited and usually involves me reading and writing not so much watching. That said, when I do watch I prefer informative documentaries, just as I like reading non-fiction (somehow in my mind, there is some similarity there). I do have Netflix and will bookmark it to watch, very interested to see it. Thanks for the suggestion.
      I’m not completely unaware of the goings on in the fashion industry, thanks to a most wonderful friend and former boss I know back in the States. She’s a designer and seamstress and owns one of the oldest shops in Portland, Maine called Portmanteau. I was quite young when I started working for her, my first ‘real’ job, and I learned so much about business, industrial sewing, designing, and managing life.
      I was recently looking for a fabric printer for which I plan to then use the fabric to stitch something with and sell…a suggestion from one of the printers was to just get the product printed and made in India–it would ‘save so much money’. He was well intended but called me naive when I said I wanted to produce it myself, perhaps even employ one person to assist me. Many people understand, but so many don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I buy curtains, fabric, vases, drinking glasses, books and jigsaws from charity shops but only a few clothes. I often think that I have enough clothes now and should never need to buy any again, as you say anything goes, so everything is in fashion. Upcycling and changing them appeals, and a few additions from charity shops would help with that. I might make it one of my 17 for 17 to buy ZERO new clothes….. inspiring post as usual.
    Love MMs new boots! And your dresses look cute.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Unfortunately the shops here don’t have much selection for children’s clothes, something that the shops in the States were overflowing with. I first discovered the shops when I needed black work shirts this past summer and didn’t want to spend €15-20 each. I only spent €2 & 3 each at the charity shop and could also drop off outgrown children’s clothes as well. Such a savings for really no difference in the wear and tear from brand new. It was a hit with Margaret Maeve as she didn’t have much me-money to spend and she got a few fun things and is feeling much prouder than I was at her age over wearing previously worn clothing. I too don’t need any more clothing except to replace the garden jeans that I wear out every couple of years. Putting it down on a list to not buy any new clothes is a really good idea. There’s something about putting down in writing that makes something more concrete.

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  2. Second Hand shopping is diffirent after where we live in our world Melissa. In Denmark all the winning go to charity of different kind, which I have supported for many years. I worked there for free too.
    Here in Spain it is private people, who are earning the money, which I don’t like or support. No charity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Donating time is a wonderful way to give to a charity that you choose to support, as valuable if not more than donated items. I have seen some that are run by the owner and I wondered if they purchase clothes from the charities and then resell as they are usually more expensive, but then they probably do not get tax or rent breaks. And if they are then I guess they are supporting the charities also, yes? Any way, I also prefer to shop at thrift shops that are for a cause, the homeless probably being closest to my heart.

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        • Oh ya, there were some like that in Portland also. In fact, I worked briefly part time for one called The Steamer Trunk. She had quite a bit of vintage, clothing and items for interior decorating. Kind of an antique store with vintage clothes as well, very distinct from the others. My goodness, I can’t believe I’m just remembering it now, as I said it was brief…but yet, I can nearly smell the shop now. Unbelievable jewelry also that we rented out for special occasions. Still I prefer those that support research or homeless or disabled. Good to have choices though I suppose. 🙂

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  3. Roz Hill says:

    Brilliant haiku, pic, and topic. I love charity shops, “it’s like a box of chocolates, you never know….” . But more than this ,it’s so good to recycle. The planet will never cope with this throw away age. Remember the girl guide ‘jumble sales’? I am so chuffed that most of the stigma towards Second Hand Rose is diminishing. I remember someone close to me being embarrassed because I was carrying a plastic charity shop carrier bag. Recently, I thought it better not to mention the £8 outfit I was wearing in the company I was keeping. Duh!!
    My grandma was a dressmaker and mum made our clothes too. Being the youngest in my family a lot of my clothes were past down to me, I can even remember my first pair of new white ankle socks. I loved them.❤️
    It is really so odd the way we react to this concept. A long, long time ago I saw a lovely blue cotton dress in a shop window. The lady took it off the manikin, I spent a while trying it on admiring myself in the mirror. It was placed in a neat brown package.
    I was then told that it would be £2 please! I hurried out of the shop with my bargain. I didn’t realise it was a second hand shop!
    Funny thing is, after buying the dress I couldn’t bring myself to wear it!
    Hypocrit or what? Like your Grandad ,I am now better clued in!

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    • Even more we have in common and agree on Roz!
      I made most of my clothes after my grandmother taught me to sew at age seven. I didn’t enjoy wearing my sisters second hand clothes all the time and my grandparents were delighted to buy me patterns and material. I spent weekends at their house sewing and cooking. Seems another lifetime ago altogether!

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  4. kim says:

    We have several charity shops in our local town and I love to browse from time to time looking for treasures – especially old books and fabric that I might turn into something new 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • That makes me think of the ‘Tom Swift Jr. Adventures’ series books I bought ten years ago in Goodwill when my first son was born, ‘…the famous books about a young scientist whose amazing inventions promise to be the great achievements of the future’ published in 1960. He’s just finishing the first one. Amazon does offer good deals, but there’s nothing like browsing through a bookshelf of used books. Like Roz said above, “it’s like a box of chocolates, you never know….”

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  5. My parents loved charity shops and when I lived in the UK my town had every shop going. Possibly they came more to shop than visit me.

    It’s actually quite high on my list of things I miss now that I am living overseas, especially since my quest for vintage buttons is failing so miserably…xx

    Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed.. hate all these plastic things and came up with a bit of a solution last night… The Husband makes things out of beach stones and I was looking through one of his boxes last night and realised a couple of holes drilled in some of the smaller, thinner ones and hey presto… original (tho not vintage) buttons…xx

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  6. elliwest2014 says:

    ‘Neato bandito’?! Oh, I like that!!!
    I was raised stopping at EVERY yard sale, flee market and antique store within sight. You find such amazing bits of the past. It is like recycling and history all in one step! ❤ !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder if the outside flea market is still on the Cascade Road in Scarborough? It may have been winding down just before I moved away. So true about the recycling and history in the one go! Always an adventure when scavenger hunting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • elliwest2014 says:

        There is one huge area along HWY 1 but I think that is Saco. I love the Antique warehouse right outside Kennebunk, not many cloths but oh the marbles! RIght across from that place there is a seasonal flee market but I haven’t seen it really going in a while. I also haven’t gone down there during peak tourist time so… I guess just finding a place is now part of the hunt 🙂 Be well!

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  7. Pingback: RonovanWrites 80th #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Review | ronovanwrites

  8. Pingback: Photo Challenge: Vintage Review | Wild Daffodil

    • Sometimes Ron’s words fit so well with the photo word. The next combo is not proving to be such a match made in heaven, but I’m working on it 🙂 You certainly have your own flair with the haiku. This is my first 3-5-3. I think it is you who I have seen do it before, yes? Inspired I was!

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  9. Yep…..charity shops, goodwill, second hand, yard sales, I love them all……both my kids have grown up loving them as well. Noah has pretty much outfitted his cabin (12×160) with everything he needs…dishes, pot, pans, etc. all from 2nd hand shops. Great style and unique finds, for sure. I can’t even remember the last time I actually bought something new in a regular department store…other then Reny’s….you remember Reny’s don’t you? And then there is Marden’s….do you remember Mardens? Goodness only knows what one might find at Mardens!! What fun for Margaret Maeve on her birthday, hope she found some great things!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is their jingle ‘I should have bought it when I saw it at Mardens?’ I think it is theirs anyway. I have a jacket from there, twelve years old or so and some knock off LL Bean bags from Renys that I use for the beach, groceries, etc. They are nothing pretty to look at anymore but wearing just as well and for a fraction of the Freeport price.
      Well done to Noah, a smart man; just like him mum!

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  10. What a lovely post, and oh, what funny memories – “neato bandito” was very popular when I was in high school. (Am dating myself here) My dad had a small used bookstore in the sixties and I got to work there with him on Saturday afternoons. He was definitely ahead of his time, as business never took off, but I loved and still love the smell and feel of old books! Love to rummage in thrift shops, garage sales, etc.

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    • My grandfather used that saying so much! I find myself saying it on occasion too 🙂 Your dad would do well these days…it is a favourite pastime of many to peruse used book shops. I agree, there’s something wonderful about the smell and feel of those books!

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  11. I love it how you call thrift shops ‘Charity Shops’. It sounds so much nicer. I enjoy going to charity shops once in a while. One can find some real treasures sometimes. Nice haiku, picture, and slideshow. 🙂 xx

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  12. Meabh Neary says:

    I’ve a friend who spends hundreds a month on clothes and rarely wears many of them. She’s great and decluttering and sends them in to our second – hand shops here in Galway, usually still with the tags intact. It’s just a pity we aren’t a similar shape! I once bought a designer coat for €10 with the price tag still on it in Galway…They’re an untapped resource for many. Fabulous post as always Melissa. ♡

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  13. Fee says:

    In my family we had the BOX that came from America! It was usually quite different from things we had here. Though I couldn’t say I was fashion conscious then… I’d say I’m less so now. A mish-mash of styles. I prefer things to be comfortable than to follow a design! Now, with my own kids, they love a rummage in the charity shops… clothes are once loved! Books are a “find” & there’s generally a gem or two. But they’re dangerous places too, where one can find one buys lots…just because! But we give back too, when we’ve out grown them! Great read. Great pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Comfort is definitely most important now…I think I wanted to be fashionable when younger but unfortunately my taste was never very stylish. I agree about over buying simply because of a good deal, something that living on an island has highlighted for me…that is, how much one can live without when it’s not readily available. Nice chatting with you 🙂

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