Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In Praise of the Charity Shop Find

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.


  1. I'm sad! I always look forward to your posts. Is the new book on vintage too?

  2. I love a good rummage too! Wishing you all the best with the new book - can't wait to hear all about it and have a good read.

  3. Best of luck with your new book!
    If you will be writing about vintage, I hope that you will write something about estate jewelry.


    I miss your posts already, and vintage isn't even my thing! Good luck with your next adventure, CW. I look forward to adding your new book to my shelf.


  5. Nooooooo! I have so enjoyed checking out your blog every day and will miss it terribly. Best of luck with the new book, and please keep us posted!

  6. Nooooo!from me too. I have loved your posts and occasionally commented. I even bought one of the items you flagged on another site. If your book is on vintage and I can assist in any way from my own experiences of buying and selling vintage, please do contact me. In fact I have very recently acquired what could be my most exciting find - just waiting verification. Will gladly share if you care to email me via my profile or Facebook. Otherwise - thank you for your very informative, encouraging and cheerful posts. Sending very best wishes for great success with your new book.

  7. Oh I'm so sad! I love your blog and was so flattered when you linked to mine and added me to your blog roll. You are an amazing blogger and on my daily read list. I hope your new book is about vintage!

  8. You should visit FASHIONPRESERVE.COM its another great blog about fashion.

  9. Hey there!
    Nice post!!I really enjoy checking your blog out! ;)

    Come visit mine if you want, and let me know what you think!

    x, Val.

  10. in fact, I never thought that being sold at this online store is junk. because it is all the stuff that you have to offer truly stunning and looks like new. you are really creative, inspired me. thank you