Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alternative Gear

The Salvation Army in downtown Wilmington was a favorite thrift store jaunt for years. There was also the Goodwill in Swarthmore, the Bryn Mawr Thrift and the Salvation Army at the Delaware beaches. I scored some of the coolest shit there: 1970s vintage track sneakers, my grey-purple wide wale cords that were several sizes too big for me in high school, my red cords that were also too big for me my freshman year of college, tons of 80s tees (that would well with dark denim), little snap up blouses like the brown plaid one that I wore so much it ripped and I couldn't part with it so I sewed it back together and the rainbow checkered one I wore my sophomore year of college, velvet blazers, grey cords, crew neck sweaters that hid the back pockets of my cords in high school, adorable cardigans like my tiny red one that rocked with Jocelyn's red and blue striped shirt and my navy cords. And my Docs. I wore those blue 8 hole boots everywhere from 1996-2001. Even to shovel snow.

Over the last 12 years, I slowly parted with these items. At 18, I was about 118-120 lbs. A size 4. My body also just looked different and stuff fit me differently. The cords that once hung so low now fit at my waist. The sneaks that were a comfy size 8 now didn't fit my size 9 foot. I may have even grown an inch. It's hard though to part with these fabulous duds. They conjure up tons of memories from the moment my eye caught it and I had to have it, to days of high school and college gone by. I had to have those Docs because my crush had a pair in red. Had to be as cool as him. My purple grey cords that I'm certain I wore twice a week to school my senior year saw me through the never ending hell of Physics class. I bought the red cords in Newark DE with my equally fun and funky boyfriend that summer and that fall, I wore my sewed up shirt and my ivory cardigan to my homecoming and remember being all distressed because that beau and I were on dire straights. My little red cardigan I wore to the City Line Diner with my family before it closed...the bad ass bell bottom jeans in a dark rinse with a big ol' star on the back pocket. Fabulous duds with tons of stories echoing from their threads.

When I hear the Cranberries play through my car stereo or I watch Reality Bites, I am reminded of these "alternative girl" days as I like to call them. Then I didn't think I was that weird or that hard core artsy. Now I look back and I see this great creative spirit that embraced so much - not just in the clothing but in how I felt, and how I perceived myself no matter how messy, artsy or alternative I looked. Who cared? I'm not a true hipster by any means but my inner old school college girl does come out and play when I get my hair highlighted now...when I decorate my office spaces...when I bust out my red furry boots with an otherwise business attire...or when I find the perfect Russian fur coat at a vintage shop in Philly.

In a way, it took 10 years for that girl to grow up a bit and splurge on the funky hair and nails and nicer vintage finds!

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