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Phyllis Donovan: Vintage Wear Or Just Plain Too Outdated

Phyllis Donovan: Vintage Wear Or Just Plain Too Outdated



  Before I came home from the rehab facility in early April after recovering from two broken legs, my grown children had to clear out the spare bedroom in my house to be used by a live-in companion-health care aide.

 That meant emptying the bureau and clearing out the closet so the room would be strictly hers with space for all the belongings she would be bringing with her.

In the process, they had to find somewhere to put all of that stuff including the garment bags full of off-season clothes I kept in that closet plus our dressier clothes which usually only saw the light of day during the holiday season of parties and fancier get-togethers.

Since I planned to use one of the smaller bedrooms when I returned home, they piled the garment bags temporarily on the big bed in the master bedroom. It wasn’t long, though, before I discovered that the bed in the smaller room was too soft for my back. That meant the bursting garment bags had to be moved to an easy chair in the master bedroom so I could sleep in that more comfortable bed.

 And there they’ve lain in a messy heap until my instinct for neatness demanded that we find a new home of all of those clothes or get rid of them. Last week, my daughter Peg and granddaughter Kate helped me go through a couple of bags full of the oldest clothes.

At first the job was easy. It has been some time since I’ve actually worn dresses and many of the ones I had saved were nothing I would wear now. So they were put in the giveaway pile along with all of my late husband’s clothes.

We were getting near the last of the items in the second garment bag, with only a few things saved due to practical or sentimental reasons. My granddaughter reached in and came out with a once chic, flat little hat which she plopped on her head while digging into a smaller bag she took out.

 And there was the going away outfit I had worn on my wedding day. It was a moss green knit suit with a white angora collar which was matched by that perky little hat. (The gloves I wore with it were long gone but I had to marvel at how dressed up we’d been on leaving our wedding reception.)

“Wow! This is all in perfect shape, Grandma,” my granddaughter said excitedly. “You could probably get a lot of money for this if you offered it on one of those vintage clothing sites online!” She pulled out her iPhone and proceeded to show me a photo of a girl in a vintage outfit promoting one of those sites.

  Looking around at some of the other clothes we’d set aside to give away she said, “A lot of this stuff isn’t as old but some of it is old enough to sell as vintage.”

 “Forget it,” I told her. I’m not looking to make money, I just want to make room in my closets. The few older things I’ve saved all these years were clothes I kept for sentimental reasons. I don’t plan to sell them. The rest, I just want to pass along to anyone who could use them.“

I’m sure she was disappointed with me for passing up this golden opportunity to enter into the vintage clothing market. But she’ll be around when we go through the other garment bags full of possibilities.  I know she’s thinking that, just maybe, there will be other vintage things we could keep out to offer for sale. And even though the thought of any of my belongings qualifying as vintage clothing makes me shudder, I just might let her try her hand at offering it online.

 It might be fun just to see what someone would think it was worth. 


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