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Vintage Stores and the big Dilemma…

by Julia Bendis

June 20, 2011 | 2:12 pm

I absolutely love shopping at Vintage and Second-Hand shops.  The thrill of getting a one of a kind piece of jewelry or dress is indescribable!  Finding that beautiful 50’s dress that no one else has is one of the reasons I enjoy Thrift stores, another is the fact that I absolutely hate shopping at the mall or any other kinds of stores.

I don’t understand how women, (and by Women, I mean my Mother) can spend five hours at the Mall only to come home with nothing!  On many occasions I foolishly agreed to go with her, to do the whole Mother-Daughter shopping experience, but quickly realizing it was a big mistake.  Three hours later, you could find me slumped in a chair, yes THAT chair designated for husbands right outside the Women’s fitting room.  Dehydrated, hungry and exhausted I am heard blurting out the same answer to every shirt my Mother comes out wearing: “Yes, its perfect!”, to which my Mother replies: “You are not even looking at me!  And what about this top, that looks just like the exact same top I just tried on only in light pink instead of pink?  Do you think I should get the pink or light pink?”  And that’s when you will observe me grabbing both tops out of her hand, walking over to the cashier and paying for them both, just so we can get the hell out of this place.  Of course my Mother will give me a lecture about how I spend too much money, and the next day return both of the shirts.

I have no clue how my Mother does it, she is a Diabetic!  She has to eat every couple of hours or else she will pass out.  The only explanation I can come up with is either she carries around a purse full of food or the emotional high of clothes shopping gets her so excited that her body forgets it needs nourishment.  I’m still working on the hypothesis…

Not only do I hate the crowds, scouring the racks but also knowing that someone else at any given moment could be wearing the exact same dress that I am, and I pray to never run into her!  A few times in my adult life, I have shown up to a party only to turn around and leave because someone else was wearing the same outfit…  I know its totally a woman’s thing, men don’t care if another guy is wearing the same shoes, shirt or anything else.

That’s why I love Thrift stores and one of a kind Mom-and-Pop shops.  I don’t mind that all the clothes are used in there, that’s not a big deal to me.  What I DO mind are the stores that keep their lights super dim especially in the fitting rooms!  It took me a couple trips to a Vintage store to realize WHY they keep the lights so low.  Those stains on my gorgeous 1950’s party dress ain’t going anywhere.  And believe me, I tried everything.  Bleach, super extra-strength OXY-Clean that promises to get out “even the toughest stains”, good old-fashioned baking soda, dry cleaning, etc.  You name it, I tried it!  Considering the stains have been there since the 1954, its probably a big waste of my time trying to get them out…

If I could only teach and then bribe my kids to do clothes shopping for me… now that would be the sweetest thing ever!  I know I couldn’t trust my Mother to buy me clothes; I’m pretty sure that if it was up to her I would be walking around looking like a cross between Dita Von Teese and a teenage hooker…  No offense, Mom but not all of us look good wearing mini-skirts paired with a lace-up bustier…

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I was born in Ukraine, in the former USSR, and grew up in Riga, Latvia which is on the Baltic Sea.  My family and I immigrated to the United States in 1989, right before the...

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