Those of you who've read my blog for sometime now, may remember that we have a "take it, or leave it", at our island dump where we take our recycling and garbage. You may also remember that I've scored some quite good things from there over the years, from first edition books, countless floral 90s dresses, 70s sandals, a Marimekko dress, bell bottom jeans, most of our housewares, cardigans, quite a few good raincoats and pairs of work pants, a giant telescope, flower pots, cast iron griddles, to once on a whim, a giant copper kettle and a small hobo-god statue.
Most of our furniture and housewares are from there, whether they be cooking utensils, couches, rugs, or plates. The wonderful thing about this system is that you can get something, try it out and then pass it on. We have a constant ebb and flow of taking things there and back. Or as Mali's dad always says: "The Dump giveth, and the Dump taketh."
About 30%-40% percent of my wardrobe is from there. When I first came out here fifteen (!!!??!?) years ago, the Dump was like the thriftstore of your wildest dreams, stuffed to the gills with the best finds, free of charge. These days, due to the general decline in quality of goods and also the rising awareness of the value of "vintage" the pickins' can be bit slim, but there's still a ton of gems to be discovered.
Like, for instance, this 80s pineapple dress, or this contemporary all-wool, practically brand new cardigan! I wanted to do an all-dump outfit, but all the dump shoes I have right now are summer ones and the dump tights are in the wash. The hat's from the dump though. This dress is probably one of the top 10 pieces I've ever gotten there, I got so many complements on it already.
The rules of my personal shopping challenge include being able to get free stuff from the dump, because those finds I totally consider the finds of destiny: when the perfect pineapple dress shows up, it's wrong to say no to it.
The white sweater is up there too in the top ten. I've had it for three or four years now and it's the perfect summer layer: a little something warm in the cooling PNW nights. In the winter, it can go under some heavier coats, no problem.
Looking at these random pictures of things I've worn in the last week or so, it strikes me how wild and frilly my style must seem to a lot people and it also makes me happy that I'm able to have this small everyday modicum of self-expression. Rare is the day, that my mood is not buoyed by pulling on a favorite sweater, or slipping my prettiest earrings through my lobes. Dressing well, comfortably, warmly, brightly and wildly, is a cheap and easy form of self-care for me and I really hope more people would embrace style as that. Not something to spend a lot of time pondering, or disregard it as frivolous or silly, but simply make sure that they are as comfortable in their clothes as a lizard in its skin, or a chicken in its feathers.
On my initial post about this project, there were a few queries for a broader post about clothes and feminism. I know I've gained a lot of new readers, so I figured that I would just find the post that addresses this issue in my archives and post a link to it, but lo-and-behold, it turns out I've never written one. With that, I promise I'll get back to you. In the meantime, do link to your outfit posts if you have em, or if you use instagram #bringbacktheoutfitshot, because I would love to see what y'all are wearing and where it all came from.
Are there any other clothes challenge folks out there? I would love to also read all about that. Links please.