“...A Kate Spade fuzzy t-shirt reminds me of a 1950s pin-up girl, maybe with a pair of sassy cigarette pants....” Christine’s upscale resale Right now, for example, shoppers will find a few ponchos and capes on the store floor — they are easy to fit on a lot of sizes. “A designer like Calvin Klein will sell a camel coat every season, and that will be around $2,000,” says Martinez. “We have lots of those, and they are a lot less expensive, and the construction is just as good, if not better.” Everything in Malena’s is in ready-towear condition, since Martinez repairs and rehabilitates each piece, sometimes with the help of a tailor, before it goes onto the floor (although even if a piece isn’t in pristine condition, she notes, a designer can still use the pattern for reference). She’s been known as an expert in stain removal, as well — something any vintage or thrift shopper will know is a gift. If vintage shopping is new to you, Martinez recommends starting with a retro accessory, like a 1970s or 80s statement necklace or a piece of turquoise jewelry, easy and affordable pieces to integrate into a wardrobe. She also suggests that people find the era that fits their body type — a stick-straight, boyish frame was catered to in the 1920s, while curves and a cinched waist are typical for 1950s styles. Though vintage styles tend to run small, Martinez makes an effort to find a variety of sizes. She cautions not to think that you need to match vintage with vintage, unless that’s your thing. “You should mix eras, otherwise you will look like you stepped out of a movie set,” she says. If you’re wearing a ’60s mini dress, for instance, pair it with a some booties you already own. Vintage clothing is a unique and sustainable choice — and the well-made pieces are much more durable than most contemporary clothing, says Martinez. “I compare it to the construction of a home,” she says. “The materials, the fibers,
are better; they are built to last. There is very little elastic, there are darts and boning. It has held up for 50 years, so it will continue to last. A lot of clothes made now might last for six months.” Vintage styles recur and resurface, of course. Designers use vintage patterns and designs for reference to create silhouettes that are from bygone eras. Through years of thrifting and vintage-hunting on my own, I’ve found that the key is to find pieces that have those flattering, interesting, well-cut silhouettes in styles that last beyond the end of the season. The reason styles recycle is because of a network of trend forecasting and marketing ploys, but true style remains steadfast through fads and phases.
Clothing Classics Part of the fun of secondhand shopping is in the hunt, but not everyone has the patience or the resources to look. Enter
consignment shopping. Consignment takes most of the labor out of shopping for gently-used gems... and weeds out the pieces you’d rather not sift through. At Christine’s Upscale Resale on Westtown Road, the focus isn’t necessarily vintage, but on secondhand and thrifty nonetheless. Since 1994, Christine’s has bought and sold gently used clothing, boasting brand names in recent styles for a much nicer price than original retail. Christine's is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year in the same shopping center where it started, though they've moved to a bigger space there. Owner Christine Hasen is proud to say she has "three generation shoppers" who grew up browsing the racks and have gone on to bring their own brood in the shop. Hasen was working in corporate America and realized, after shopping resale, that she might be able to do it better herself. "Recycling and reusing is
NOVEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM
Voice of the Borough