practically every single day i wear something either thrifted or vintage. today, for example, i have on a c. 1973 polyester blouse. the black fabric is sheer and covered in green daisies, white carnations and blush pink roses. i'm wearning that over charcoal grey pinstripe forever 21 low-rise slacks. (i know! who says "slacks" anymore? let's bring it back, okay?)
yesterday i wore a c. 1950 circle skirt i traded some too big vintage dresses for at alice's vintage clothing in the university city loop. i love the skirt with a fervent passion.
both days this weekend i was rockin' vintage dresses and aprons. vintage and thrift make up the backbone of my wardrobe and i have chuck rice to thank for all of it.
indianapolis in 1979 was a far cry from what most would call "fashion forward." i bought most of my clothes, beside my mother, from ayr-way or zayres. given a school clothes budget of $50, i bought corduroys, ribbed turtle neck sweaters, a few velour v-neck pullover tops, a puffy down vest and some non-descript brown shoes. i felt prepared to start my freshman year of high school.
this was also the year i met chuck, another performing arts student. he and i would skip class together, eat fried donuts at the diner down the street from school, talk about writing and poetry and how much we hated the midwest. later we would act out scenes from "fame" while drinking bad coffee and smoking marlboro light after marlboro light.
one afternoon, seeking a valid reason to leave campus, chuck suggested we go to a thrift store. i was intrigued. in my mind only the poverty stricken and desperate would shop at the thrift store. chuck assured me that i would find ways to supplement my woefully plain wardrobe with items from the thrift store. he pointed to his long, black trench coat and wool scarf, "this, and this are both from the goodwill." okay...we got on the city bus and off we went.
the entire world seemed limitless to me that afternoon. t-shirts for 25 cents. jeans for 50 cents. vintage dresses and gloves and bags and hats and, whoa...i was starting to get dizzy.
and when i picked up something that was just not right, chuck told me how it could be altered to make it perfect. chuck (and an article from seventeen magazine) taught me how to taper the legs of all of my, now out of fashion, flare leg pants. chuck showed me the perfect length to cut the fingers off of gloves ala madonna.
chuck was my fashion fairy godmother, and i thank him for that. he helped me form a unique sense of self that i didn't know was lurking in me. i was restless and chuck introduced me to concepts and ideas that started me thinking about how i could ease the unrest and find expression through my clothes.
i don't know what happened to chuck. we drifted apart the way 15 year olds drift apart--without meaning to. but i want to send this out to him...a virtual hug...thanks for helping this awkward outsider feel her way toward a definition of what it meant to be herself in a time when that was all that mattered.