I did something I thought I would never do this weekend-- I actually bit the bullet and gathered up something like eight boxes of hoarded vintage clothing to send to the Family Tree vintage clothing sale this weekend. Ugh, it was with a heavy heart that I did it, because as you guys know, I am really almost weirdly into collecting and buying old clothes, and I am even WEIRDER about "That's mine! It belongs to me!". Maybe it's just the way I'm wired, but I invest so much emotion and thought into the things I buy that it's actually gives me a tiny little heartache to let go even the most oversized, unattractive muumuu because "Hey! I bought that in Knoxville in 2004!" and remember, photographically, the exact circumstances of and thrill I got out of that particular purchase.
But! I am trying to turn over a new leaf. And I hope some of these things find a new and even better home! I thought as a final fond adieu, I would take you through some of the photos from the Estatesales.net listing for the sale, and tell you about what made each piece special enough in the first place for me to buy.
- The "chubby" fur coat on the left was an estate sale find in Inglewood about three years ago. It still smells like the cedar chifforobe from whence it came, and I remember trying it on, in the house, on a super hot summer day, and going, "Quick! It fits! Help me get this off!" to my dad as my face beaded with sweat. Trying on fur coats in the summer-- a unique problem of the vintage clothes hoarder. I remember I passed up a Mexican embroidered tourist jacket at the same sale and am still mad at myself for it (it looked almost exactly like this). Goodbye, friend!
- The coat on the right was at Music City Thrift three or four years ago. I had dropped the first thirty pounds of a massive weight loss initiative I undertook that year and was on my way out of the store when the jewel-tone red of the wool knit nap made me look twice. "These things never fit me", I said to myself in that sad sack tone reserved for clotheshorses who are not quite clotheshorse size, but was amazed when I tried it on and it DID fit. I wore this, with a big gold brooch pinned to one side, on a trip to St. Louis to visit Matthew's memaw with our friend English Rob in tow, who said, as I recall, "E-LIZA, you look just like Audrey Hepburn in that coat! It's quite nice, isn't it?" and made my whole month. While it's too big for me now, what a dream of a coat it was!
- The red dress was from Rivergate Goodwill, and while it's from the late eighties', it just yells mid-fifties' when you have it on. I wore it on every "red" holiday for an entire year (V-day, Fourth of July, Bastille day, etc, etc) and the cheery stripes pattern is a showstopper. The shoulders tie in little bows and I used to have a heckuva time doing them myself, so more often than not Matthew would do them up for me. The waist and bust is too big on me now and it just doesn't look right belted. Au revoir, Red!
- Orange dress is from a thrift store in Alabama in 2003, on a trip to visit a freshman year of college friend of mine's family and to buy lottery tickets (this was pre-lottery in Tennessee...how retro). I got this, a dress with tiny gingham checks and prints of chickens and farmers from the early fifties', and two other dresses in the upstairs of an antique store that isn't there anymore, in the Scottsboro town square. There were rickety, weird, handhewn steps up to the second story of the building, and once again, it was HOT. Crystal bought a ladies' black hat from the fifties' and I think a vintage umbrella. It's amazing to me that these details stick with me ten years later, and I somehow can't remember where I parked in the garage of any given afternoon.
- At right, one of my coworkers was moving into a condo and said she had some vintage stuff to sell, including this dress. While I liked it then as I do now, the wrap-around style of the ties has always confounded me! How do I make sure it stays "shut"? I hope the next owner is more dexterous in it than me, because that rose print is to die for.
- The brown dress has such a neat, almost pin-tucked detail on the center stripe and collar. I bought it at Goodwill when it was scandalously tight on me, and now that it isn't, it just doesn't fit me right. Will I ever learn to stop buying shift dresses that are straight up and down? If they are too tight in the top, they're too tight in the hip! If they fit in the hip, they are too loose at the top! This is the way of the world.
- The poppies print was an estate sale find from Donelson, maybe four years ago. I wore this on the first double date my high school friend Alyx and her husband Brian went on with us, when we reconnected after college. I was always in denial over how it was two inches too short to be a true maxi length on my six foot figure, and how the waist was like six inches above where it should have been (it's an empire waist! I would tell myself. It was not). But isn't that print a knockout? It has a matching belt, might I add.
- Ditto on the white op art number on the right. Estate sale in Bellevue, maybe five years ago, where I had an entire pile of dresses that belonged to a very fashionable, very petite woman in the late sixties' and early seventies' (which just made for mini dresses on me that should have been normal length dresses on a shorter woman). This one has an outrageously outsized collar (see the tip peeking over the sleeve opening?) and looked great with a sweater over it and the collar sticking out to high heaven.
- My mom's brother Harold's shirt from the fifties'-- never fit me or anyone I knew right, will no longer fit Harold...off you go! Pearl snaps are so cute.
- 70's safari style men's leisure jacket from Music City Thrift...Matthew would have to be about a foot taller and fifty pounds heavier for this to fit correctly, but it was still worth a shot. Outrageous! Who wore this to begin with? I remember thinking "what is this?" when I found one pocket bulging out conspicuously ..it was the belt, which, if you ask me, really makes the whole thing.
- You can't tell from here, but this Sears' Fashion Place (or maybe Towncraft?) Hawaiian shirt has little Hawaiian men casting nets over waves of fish on it. We bought this at an estate sale in order to escape an extremely strange, quasi-estate sale held in a (very chatty, though very Jame Gumb like) guy's house within spitting distance of Ellington Parkway. So long!
- GORGEOUS blue velvet bodiced, op printed skirt dress from Lanz in the center... I always lie to myself about my actual measurements when ordering from Etsy, and this dress was a pocketbook casualty, accordingly. I am more sad that it didn't (and doesn't) fit than that I snookered myself out of whatever low price it was.
- Pale green lace dress with side bodice zipper at right...must be worn over a slip. Sometimes, instead of a light colored slip, I would wear a black slip and crinoline under it for contrast. Once again, if it wasn't too big, I would never part with it.
- Not one, but TWO lettermen jackets! A girl should be so lucky! Both from Goodwill. Both never worn more than once by me. Farewell!
- Two more dresses I bought and never wore...but how great are the prints on either one!
- Last but not least, my secret favorite of the bunch-- a "Country Set" labelled, crazy cute yellow and orange cardigan with what looks like a child leading a horse and its rider atop the upper half of the knit. Who even thinks this stuff up?! It was too cute to leave behind, but is possibly actually a child's size (or a tiny, TINY woman's size), so I hope that much smaller person finds it and loves it as much as I did!
There were more, but I don't want to bore you to death. Any tips on the grieving process that follows a spring cleaning cleanout? How do you choose what stays in your wardrobe and what gets a new a life on the streets?
If you're interested, this sale will be running Friday and Saturday out at Family Tree's brick and mortar location on Nolensville Road. You can, once again, see the listing here. I sent a LOT more stuff out there, so if you're in Nashville, here's a unique chance to shop my closet, as well as those of other fashionable vintage ladies who are consigning at the sale. Amongst them is Eartha Kitsch, who deserves a shout out for having helped me schlep these things out there on Monday...thank you, Eartha, for providing moral support and galpower! Also, thank you, Family Tree, for (unknowingly) letting me jack these photos from your website, and take a trip down clothes-memory-lane just one last time. :)
My cleanout theme song, obviously:
My cleanout theme song, obviously:
That's all for today-- see you back here tomorrow!