My interest in collecting clothing can likely be traced back to my early childhood watching Mr. Dress Up on CBC. My favourite part of his show was when he would open his tickle trunk and there would magically be the perfect outfit to play any character, be it cowboy, artist, or even a sailor.
I grew up in a remote part of Alberta (two hours from the closest store) to parents from farming families where hand-me-down clothes were the norm. Add in my mother’s habit of never throwing anything away, and it was easy to see how I developed an addiction, or admiration, of second hand and vintage clothing.
I can recall the first day of grade nine wearing a two piece polyester skin tight bell bottom suit which had a pattern of denim patches. While other kids were wearing brand new clothes from the Gap, Club Monaco, and well the odd Nirvana t-shirt, I was wearing recycled fashions from my mother’s closet.
When going to second-hand clothing stores, and the grunge era of fashion, became more popular in junior high, I was completely on board. I loved the thrill of the hunt, and more than anything, I loved trying on the most ridiculous outfits and retro pieces I could find. (I can still remember the jealousy we all had when our friend Adrienne found a $5 bill in the pocket of a pair of jeans).
Over the years I held on to some pieces, passed other along, and focused my interest on vintage and retro pieces. Having backpacked around the world, I somehow found a way to store an impractical item I’d picked up from an antique market in Buenos Aires or vintage store in Berlin in my pack. I love any excuse to play dress up, and while most people are fine to wear a little black dress to a wedding, party, or dinner event, I am more likely to bust out a one-of-a-kind thrift store find (and maybe top it with a vintage fur coat).
Now in my late 30’s, I’ve outgrown the size of a tickle trunk; I have what one might call a tickle closet. I’ve become that friend you call when you need something for a costume or special event.
In the last year I’ve seen an increase locally in the number of vintage and second hand clothing events and Instagram sellers flipping items. Globally, the fashion world has finally started to denounce fast fashion, and the vintage, retro and second hand clothing market is booming.
Sustainability has become stylish, but I’ve learned not everyone wants to go hunting for treasures the way I do. This is why the beautifully curated Swish store in downtown Edmonton is likely so successful – people are willing to pay for someone else to do the digging.
My sister is put off by the smell of thrift stores, and like many others, is overwhelmed by the racks jam packed with mostly things she has no interest in.
The Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress I found her at a thrift store… well that she was fine with.
For years, I’ve thought about using my thrift store hunting skills to resell second hand items, but I had no interest the packaging and mailing involved with selling on eBay. I’ve tried consigning, but it isn’t always the right fit for some of the pieces I have or find. I have many things in my collection that I’m ready to part with, but I also found so many amazing things in my searches that weren’t right for me, but felt too good to leave behind.
And so, I decided it was time to share my passion for secondhand fashions and my patience for thrift shopping with the world (or at least Edmonton to start with).
Thanks to my lovely friend Des, who is entertaining my side hustle idea by showcasing a rack of clothes at her environmentally conscious hair salon, The Beauty Parlour, located on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton. I’ll be curating a constantly evolving collection available for viewing and trying on during regular Beauty Parlour business hours.
In addition to the salon, my extremely patient boyfriend has allowed me to turn our spare room into a growing showroom of secondhand goods, which I’ve used to show off pieces for some close friends (he also volunteered his love of spreadsheet skills to help me track my sales).
I recently launched a new Instagram account @ArmoireInspiration, to help show off my goods available at The Beauty Parlour and pieces available for direct sale. I’ve been rocking new looks to work each day to get photos of some pieces – which has resulted is oohs and ahhs from my coworkers, and a newly named Vintage Fashion February.
The community of second hand clothing is growing in Edmonton, and while I’m not sure how far this side venture will take me, I’m having a lot of fun finding items to share with the world. If watching Girlboss on Netflix has taught me anything, I have a lot to learn.
But at least I am going to look fabulous doing it. Give me a follow on Instagram and let me know if you like what you see.
HOW TO BUY
- Visit @ArmoireInspiration to check out items available for sale and direct message through Instagram to arrange a meeting to check out an item that tickles your fancy.
- Pop in to The Beauty Parlour where i’ll have a rotating selection of curated items available. I’ll be happy to drop off any items seen on @ArmoireInspiration at The Beauty Parlour to be tried on/purchased.
The Beauty Parlour
2nd Floor, 10011
82 Ave, Edmonton, AB T6E 1Z2
(780) 429 4242