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!
I hope everyone’s having a groovy week,