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I See a Thrift Store and I Want It All In Black

My adventures in thrift stores lead to some of my favorite clothes, and in my (apparent) favorite color

By Rachel Pieper DeckerPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
I See a Thrift Store and I Want It All In Black
Photo by Becca McHaffie on Unsplash

While preparing for our move at the end of 2020, I did my best to downsize the amount of clothes I had in my possession. There is a Lowe’s SMALL box, filled to the brim, almost--but not quite--ready to have a second one started and waiting to be brought to a thrift store. Oh, I don’t just give to the stores, I’m also a client! During this purge, I had to part with one of my more favorite thrift store finds. Its amazing how much can be attached to a piece of clothing.

This particular jacket was one I thought was really sleek, black leather on the outside and a blue zebra print lining. Something I imagined my aunts wearing in the 80s and early 90s. The kind of chic I had wanted to be. So for $8, I made it mine. Thinking of my aunts, I knew they would have been proud of such a find. They too, loved to go shopping and snag a great deal. Maybe it's a Midwestern thing--and I’ve seen memes about it--that we like to get our items on sale. My guess is that frugality and resourcefulness are strong regional traits that we can’t shake, even when far from home.

Rachel Pieper Decker in her thrift store jacket. Photo by Rachel Pieper Decker.

As with many things, not all thrift shop finds are the amazing deal they appear to be at first glance. The zippers on the cuffs and the main front zipper had pulls that were metal and just a little too long. Those dangly bits would get in the way and sometimes even hurt a bit if I was moving too fast. After a few outings, the outer layer began to flake off, of course it wasn’t real leather, it was a very thin bonded leather. It was doing a great job of showing where the more used and worn spots on the jacket were.

A good five and a half years I had with this jacket and I wore it until it was too beat up to continue wearing. I hate wasting items, be it clothing or food. I’ll try to use something until it's highly recommended not to. And then still try to get a little more out of it. So I had to say, “Adios,” to my black jacket.

That was not the only item that was on the chopping block from my thrift store endeavors, but the jacket is the one that ended up getting chopped. The little black dress on the other hand….

The black lace sleeve dress was purchased along with another similar looking dress with the idea that it would become part of a Halloween costume. The store in which it was purchased is one of the best second-hand stores that one can go to in the entire US. I feel I can confidently make this claim as it is located right in the heart of Hollywood’s filming business. This store, called It’s A Wrap! is where many of the TV and film productions bring their extra garments. When the wardrobe department begins designing the look of a show, they may or may not know who will be cast for a specific part. This leads to the same garment being purchased in more than one size. Many of the clothing items at It’s A Wrap! have either never been worn or only occasionally worn. Not only are the clothes in extremely good shape, they are also name brand and still well-priced. That is most certainly one of the places I miss shopping at the most.

And that is where I got the little black dress. It did not become a costume that year. But a few years later, it seemed a great way to emulate the Nelvana character, Ruby Gloom, for a different Halloween. Ruby Gloom was a character that I had been wanting to cosplay for quite awhile, so I happened to have the socks already on-hand. Unfortunately, as many are not familiar with this character, from a cartoon of the same name, I often have to provide a reference image. Just like a joke isn’t funny if you have to explain it, cosplay and costumes are quite similar. If you have to explain the character and provide the context, it just isn’t as impressive.

Image of the cartoon character, Ruby Gloom on the left. Image of Rachel Pieper Decker dressed as Ruby Gloom on the right. Photo by Rachel's coworker.

I don’t expect to ever find Ruby Gloom merch in stores and definitely not in thrift stores, but that’s the surprise and magic of second hand shops--anything can be there!


About the Creator

Rachel Pieper Decker

Displaced Minnesotan in Southern California.

Fiber Arts enthusiast, Notary Public. Gamer, streamer, Web3 dabbler.

Connect with me!



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    Rachel Pieper DeckerWritten by Rachel Pieper Decker

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