Can Moving On From Your Clothes Produce the Same High As Acquiring Them?
Imani, co-owner of Imani Jahaan Vintage, and I embrace at the sight of each other. She is selling vintage clothing and home goods at Made + Found Pittsburgh, a quarterly vintage and handmade market held at the Ace Hotel. We have only engaged with one another a couple of times, yet our embrace feels like years of practice. I met Imani in May when she purchased a pair of Jeffrey Campbell jelly white mules and a vibrant green sweater skirt from me during a closet sale. She wore the skirt out of the sale.
Imani has a style I could see myself in. It is a style I both admire and relate. As Imani left to brunch with friends, I remember thinking the skirt was made for her. It found its rightful owner. It gave me such joy.
I had a could-not-help-but-wonder-Carrie-Bradshaw moment. Can letting go of clothes, better yet clothes I enjoy and wear, produce the same high as adding new pieces?
I reached out to Imani with this thought. "I completely agree that the same euphoric feeling can be had from a gift or a swap," she said. "Sometimes it is more of a lasting effect because of the experience involved."
When I received the sweater pencil skirt from local vintage vendor, Basil, I was in love. The tight fit was an abnormal choice for me, but I didn't mind. It allowed me to play with various degrees of volume on top. The skirt slipped on like a cozy holiday stocking and passed the Dennis Reynolds wide stance test. I wore it four days straight. They were a good four days. Seeing Imani in the skirt, those good feelings resurfaced. I witnessed her connection to the skirt. My happiness was heavy, made of a more durable quality. It was greater than when I purchased the skirt for my own use.
"When someone has one of my pieces (and I use 'my' very loosely)," shared Imani, "I’m filled with joy. Another person gets a turn with a piece I specifically picked out with my personal eye and they see the same value in it as I did. I may have acquired it but to see a customer style something I picked is really exciting and gives purpose to what I do!"
I could not agree more, Imani.
I also reached out to friend and owner of Reel Vintage, LLC, Jenn Jarecki, for her thoughts. Jenn and I met a couple years back. She treats her garments with the delicacy and love of a newborn. We connected over this love and her flare for the romantic and funky.
"I would certainly say that, in my opinion, selling a client a piece of vintage that they absolutely love may even be a greater high than finding that piece in the first place," said Jenn. "When I discover a truly exceptional item, but know it's destined for someone other than myself, watching the future-owner try it on, give that 'I never want to take this off' twirl and seeing a smile that has no intention of receding, is one of my favorite aspects of selling vintage."
I donate and sell my clothes, but I am not a vintage dealer. This high was new to me. My clothes extend beyond communicating my personality to the world. I experience the world in them. Beyond the shell, I carry stories with layers. So do my clothes. As Stanley Tucci explained to Anne Hathaway, "Holston. Lagerfeld. De la Renta. And what they did, what they created, is greater than art. Because you live your life in it." I do not own Chanel. The only Oscar De la Renta dress I've seen has been behind glass (though I am eyeing one up on Poshmark currently). But, substitute those iconic designers with any quality maker and the quote still rings true.
I share my words with the world. It gives me joy beyond what type can describe. This crosses over to my closet. I look at clothes a bit differently since investigating this high. I am less possessive. My pieces have hidden potential even I cannot see. They are mine now, and maybe they will be yours at a future date. The smile on your face, one produced only when a piece aligns your insides with your outsides, will be met with a smile of equal gusto. You will walk away with the garment, and I will toast to fabric's next chapter. I look forward to that day.