In another life I would have been an archaeologist. For it's exactly this instinct to dig, sift, and brush aside that draws me again and again into the most unpromising of secondhand shops, not necessarily to find a great thing, but to pursue it.
It's frequently said that the rise of vintage and its plateau into fashion consciousness means that it's no longer possible to find great treasures in the secondhand arena--it all gets picked clean before you can get in the door. Largely this is true--the great thrift stores on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and London's King's Road, and elsewhere around the world are targets not only of cash-poor students and creatives, but also of fashion's kingpins, seeking inspiration where the punishing pace of the style cycle doesn't allow for quiet reflection with a sketchpad and fertile mind.
Nothing worthwhile in life is easy. Sifting for hours through lackluster garments is its own education, in fabrication, cut, embellishment. And in finding the small window between given styles and uplift of your unique self image.
It's exactly this education that allows you to pull from a crammed rack a sliver of fine color, or half-seen detail, that others might have brushed past. A reward, a find, the buzz that will keep you digging.
With this post, Fashion Preserve is going on hiatus . . . after a year and half of blogging, it's time to write another book. Thank you so much for your readership, and especially your wonderful comments. Best wishes with your own pursuits--and here's to finding and making the most out of the most unexpected of sources.