Thread Bare

People chide my irrational obsession with fashion. They cannot understand why I spend hours each week perusing fashion blogs, reading “The NY Times” fashion columns and devotedly watching Project Runway every Wednesday (Go Christian!). I rarely feel the need to justify myself, simply shrugging off their queries with a blithe “because it’s fun.” Truthfully, I have determined that fashion is my creative outlet. My older sister is an interior designer, my younger sister is a graphic design student. They dress reasonably successfully, but there is little of my obsession evident in their everyday outfits. That said, I am in no way an über-fashionista. Not only can I not afford it, but owning seven coats, 85 bags and shoes in every color and texture for all four seasons is simply not my steez. To return to the meat and potatoes of my point – the questions about my obsessions with fashion are as follows: How can you reconcile your morals AND your materialistic fashion impulses? How can you claim to be an environmentalist AND a self-proclaimed fashionista? How can you buy all that sweatshop-manufactured, disposable crap? Those are legitimate questions that I cannot ignore. In fact, it is precisely for the preceeding questions that I have made this New Years resolution. I, Magdalena Jensen, pledge to buy less new clothes and instead, buy more second-hand items. Second-hand, used, already-worn; dirty words for a glorious concept. I prefer to reframe it as “vintage finds” or “pre-loved treasures”, but whatever the word-choice, used clothing and accessories are the way to go. Not only are they more unique, but they are more environmentally friendly. Remember in elementary school when we learned the three R’s? No, I don’t mean reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. I mean, reduce, reuse, and recycle. That is precisely what I intend to do: recycle. Burlington, surprisingly, is not want for second-hand treasure troves. There are a handful of decent places to shop in the area that are not Gap, Urban Outfitters, and American Apparel. Don’t get me wrong, I think I will still need to pick up some basics at these stores, but I should be able to do pretty well shopping vintage. Allow me to recount my to-date success stories. I had never been to Battery Street Jeans (7 Marble Avenue, off Pine Street) in my entire history of living in Burlington, so I started there. After several minutes of perusing and getting a feel for the place, I zeroed in on the racks that most interested me and emerged victorious, leaving with a $6 cardigan and $2 belt. I then meandered over to Old Gold with the intention of picking up a pair of boots. They have an entire wall devoted to boots. Be prepared to stick your feet into many pairs before finding “the one”, but you will find them. Again, I emerged triumphant with a pair of $32 navy cowboy boots… Bottom line, it is possible to be environmentally friendly AND fashion conscious. Burlington has several resources: I have yet to investigate the Possibility Shop (in the basement of First Congregational Church, 38 S. Winooski Ave.) and I still need to rifle through the Clothing Line (163 Cherry Street). The internet is yet another option (e-bay has vintage!). Stay green, go shopping and get creative!