Second Hand Love

My style has had a minimalist flair for my of my life after the Cotton Ginny days of public school  In the 90s I wore all black. Now I wear all blue. 

For years I’ve had this reoccurring dream in which I’m climbing fire escapes on a warm day in Soho.


Everywhere I turn, and every door I look through has everything I love: once loved before white ruffled petticoat skirts, lightweight plaid shirts, jeans and grandfather cardigans made of cashmere.


There are two places like this dream in real life (that I know of): Covert Street in Cobourg, ON where you’ll find Beyond the Blue Box and a handful of sweet charity shops on a strip hidden north of King Street. There’s also this place in Toronto, west of the Beaches east of the DVP on Queen, called Riverside (Leslieville’s little brother?). After one week in this neighbourhood, I thought I had found everything vintage clothing related, incuding Common Sort and Value Village. That was until I tripped upon Vintage Vibes at the Riverside sidewalk sale last year. Dejavu? I had walked right into my dream. The owner and curator is sitting on a couch near the back, and she greets me like we’re best friends when I walk through door.

When I was 15 years old I fell in love with Petty Coat Lane’s dresses and scarves and sweaters that no one else in high school was wearing. As an artist I’ve always felt the need to express myself through fashion and this second hand shop is where I’d spend my lunch hour digging through the three for 25 bins fascinated by the possibilities of what my clothes could say about me.

Malls are migraine inducing and when it comes to buying second hand your dollars do go much further. That unique dress for $10 at Value Village has been around a lot longer than Suzie Sheir’s black cocktail dress on the five dollars and up rack. In my experience “mall clothes” never make me feel good about myself. They make me feel like someone I don’t want to be and who wants to browse to the beat whiny chic music in attempt to dress like the masses.

I was recently shopping at Value Village when I overheard one hipsters in his 20s say sort of self consciensly to his friends, “I actually kind of like second hand shopping. I know it’s cliche.” I sort of laughed and felt hope for the young guy who sort of gets it. Last week I was on a mission to empty my house of clothes

Karen LloydComment