As Carrie Bradshaw as it sounds (and I’m not really a Sex And The City gal), shopping is a lot like life. With school, work, and creative ramen menu planning taking up all but my precious sleep time since the start of the year, I, a self-proclaimed clothes horse and thrift shopper extraordinaire, hadn’t been shopping in months. Then, spring break arrived like a long awaited prom date I was starting to think might’ve stood me up and whisked me away in its proverbial Trans-Am of long sunny days, free time, and my drug of choice: the adrenaline rush of the vintage hunt.
On Wednesday I visited my oldest friend, who happens to work at Clothes Contact on Valencia, and like a junkie in an opium den, couldn’t help but indulge in their wares. Clothes Contact, if you’re unfamiliar, is a vintage store that sells many of their clothes by the pound and sports a considerable collection of very reasonably priced shoes and accessories. Even without the pressures of the failing economy, I’ve always found the thrill of the hunt at vintage stores far superior to the mediocrity of fast fashion chains. If a successful afternoon of thrifting can be compared to the primal accomplishment of something like boar hunting, shopping at stores like Forever21 and Old Navy is like buying one of those saline water infused ham shaped meat chunks at Safeway.
Sadly, in shopping, as in life, along with the new some of the old must go, but what to let go of? I think this issue plagues most of us, and for many may cause considerable anguish. Miss Bradshaw may choose to store her overflowing collection of Blahniks in the oven, but I think there’s a lot to be gained from trimming some of that fat, whether it be from our closets or our consciences. Of course, some fashion is sentimental and some is legitimate fine art, worth keeping around even if we never wear it out, but so much of it is just extraneous baggage, weighing us down and keeping us from moving on to bigger and better things. Sometimes, I think we’re unable to see the forest for the buy-one-get-one-free color coordinated trees.
So, next time you’re out loading up on cheap fulfillment at OldForeverSeal&Barry’sMart down in MallTown consider some real retail therapy: Set some of the sartorial skeletons in your closet free at a family owned shop like Buffalo Exchange, Aardvark’s Odd Ark, Painted Bird, or Clothes Contact, and trade them in for some real sumptuary sustinance. Your psyche will thank you, and so will your wallet.