The title is inspired by my dear, sweet, old mummy who yelled this at me the first time I came home with clothing from a thrift shop. She truly believed that all thrift shop clothing came from corpses, possibly striped right off their dead bones seconds before burial or something. And, obviously, such horrific things would not be allowed in the house.
Then again, she had a similar reaction when I tried making my own clothing too. I found a laundry bag at the local .99 store that was made from a genuinely fabulous black textured cloth with a white floral design that even I liked and made it into a passable maxi skirt. Mom would have rather me stayed home and missed school than wear the thing out; she refused to let me leave my room until I’d changed into something “acceptable”.
My mother ruled my clothing choices with a iron fist for most of adolescence. Maybe it was her fashion designer background, maybe it was the fact that Grandma had made her clothing for her. In old photos Mom always looked stylish in her wide-leg pants and color block dresses, hair fanned out, every unruly curl heat-pressed and lye-rubbed into a death-like coma. Thin, always perfectly made-up and fashionably well-dressed.
They say a child is a parent’s punishment. I was built like a squishy line-backer, pale as a ghost and with no sense or interest in fashion, jewelry or makeup whatsoever. According to her anyway. I just wanted to be comfortable and get through a school week not being laughed at.
Still some of my favorite clothing pieces came from thrift stores; a pair of bell bottom jeans that zipped up from the hem, I guess in case I wore the world’s chunkiest boots. At some point I made them into lace-ups, tied together with spare shoe laces. A slinky black top dotted with gold stars from Michael Kors of all places. If you count cast-offs from my mother’s closet (even though we’re nowhere near similar in body shape or size), then a huge chunk of my closet was once worn by someone else.
I love thrift stores of any stripe. I like the random assortment of junk and my wallet likes to not be empty. Mostly it’s visual candy; a bunch of different clothing styles, fabrics, eras all piled together, Sure you have to pick through a ridiculous amount of stuff with long-defunct businesses or obscure seminar names on them, but you find some kick-ass stuff if you do.
One of my planned projects for this year is making a suit for myself. God knows I need something a little dressier than jeans on the off chance I get work or go somewhere fancy and a pant suit should be too hard to scrounge up. But I don’t want something plain. I’m thinking a nice blazer and pants, matched together with some well-placed patches could look cool. In some of the Garment District’s supply shops I’ve seen huge embroidered patches for sale. Found a tutorial about making some patches of your own on Trash to Couture that looks easy enough for me to try. And at least if I’m getting my clothing from the thrift store it won’t set me back too much if my experiment backfires.
Though it would be even cheaper if I actually got my clothing from corpses.