Hello everyone ! I have been very busy working at my practice office these last weeks, and releasing two of my books (“Voyage en Self-Love” and “Là où, là-haut, tu m’aimes !”), the first one in print format, the second one as an Amazon kindle. I take this opportunity to post a message: despite some nice contacts in the USA I am still looking for an efficient translator and a pro literary agent for the first one, I’d like him/her preferably based in New York City…) I quickly close this parenthesis to come to our topic…
Today I want to talk to you about children and charity shops.
This is a subject that may surprise and yet… Let me tell you my story. As a child, I was exactly like right now: I have always liked items and clothes with a real soul (this also works for me, with places and homes, you will never see me living in a recent house. I went out of my way to buy a real 1930s house, in an Art Nouveau style)
I come from an upper middle class family. My father was a commercial engineer and my mother an executive assistant and a psychoanalyst. They are now retirees. They are the ones who made me love flea markets and charity shops. For me, these universes held incredible treasures. It was very exciting to leave home without knowing what I was going to bring back or discover, sometimes very old books, sometimes improbable objects or atypical clothes, handmade princess dresses etc.
Indeed my parents preferred us to dress with small means and keep their money to make us travel around the world. So I set foot in N.Y at the age of 8, at 10 in California, at 14 I had the chance to tour Louisiana, Mississippi etc. I also went to the Netherlands before I was 17, to Malta (several times), to England (many times), I visited Germany, Scandinavia, Canada, Greece, Tunisia, Spain and so many countries during my teenage. That’s a good thing because today with two kids it looks like some travels we can’t always afford…
In high school, I was the one who frequented great Parisian Vintage shops as well as the “Puces de Montreuil”. I had an incredible style: little Dior and Chanel dresses found in Charity Shops for a few francs, Harley Davidson biker boots bought in a charity Shop in London, sports bag from the 70s… In short, in high school I was a kind of “star” and everyone scrutinized my 60’s and 70’s outfits and that gave me a taste for fashion and it also developed my Self-Love and my Self-Confidence! Later I even held Fashion columns as a Journalist in some french women’s magazines.
But above all, shopping in charity shops has allowed me to set limits for my fashion budget! I have never put more than 5 euros in a T-shirt (except the 25 dollars one bought at the famous Bagdad Café in the USA), no more than 20 euros in a dress, no more than 20 euros in a nice pair of shoes etc I always find almost new shoes and I have a closet full of rare pieces… Sometimes I resell one of these clothes to fashion enthusiasts: I manage to sell them for up to 30 times the price I bought them in the past! Yes, the clothes of the major brands of the 70s now sell for gold! It’s a real investment!
Unlike me who was brought up in simplicity and spontaneity, my husband was brought up in snobbery. His mother insisted on buying him new branded things, always, preferably very expensive ones… I think it was a way for her to reassure herself about her social status. Sadly, she was closer to poverty than high society, so buying new and expensive things made her feel ‘important’… Yet he thinks the way I dress and how I stand out from the crowd is great! He is my first admirer and admits that branded clothes are not up to my vintage style! You will never see me buying an item from Zara or Mango… I don’t like ‘fashion for the masses’. When I have 20 euros to invest I put it in high-end vintage and I buy, for example, an Yves Saint Laurent dress from the 80s being aware this dress will last and won’t be in the trash after 5 washes!
By going to charity shops as a child, I realized that clothes weren’t that important, that they weren’t expensive and that there was no point in spending a lot of money on fashion. You don’t have to worry about that! Style is so easy!s
I learned to develop a personal and unique clothing style while my school friends were all dressed in the same items!
I learned to associate with poverty even though I was from an upper middle social class. I learned to appreciate and to love people who are a bit “weird” just like the vintage fashionistas or the trendy old men you sometimes meet in this kind of place.
I learned to donate to Charity Shops anything that didn’t serve me or no longer served me.
I developed my awareness and my sense of imagination, my creativity because I imagined who these objects belonged to before. Also I learnt to compose some unique outfits!
I met people with big hearts, incredible people who, unlike snobs, put human values before the labels hung in clothes!
I learned to associate with people from all walks of life and I acquired a certain savoir-vivre and a sense of adaptation! Yes it is possible for me today to join groups from all social spheres. Better I developed a love for the other, for his life, for his galleys, for his personal story…
Here’s why you should take your kids to flea markets and charity shops! It’s an incredible human melting pot!