Holy Hawaiian Hand-me-downs!

Transitioning from Denver to my new home has been, uh, well, interesting. I've definitely experienced some strife, but there's been quite a bit of joy too. Part of what's keeping me sane and happy are my weekly (daily!) visits to the local thrift stores. It gets me out of the house and I'm learning the streets and neighborhoods as a result of my thrifting adventures. Best of all there's something soothing, almost meditative, about methodically looking through the stacks and piles for those hidden gems.

The other day while exploring my new neighborhoods, I stumbled upon three thrift stores within a few blocks of each other. I went to one, then the other, then almost decided to head home instead of going in to the third, a Goodwill, but thought better of it. Leave no stone unturned!

While looking in the dresses I found a number of interesting vintage pieces - the blue piece pictured here being one of them. None of the others fit well enough to buy, but the blue one definitely had potential, so I threw it over my shoulder and continued through the rest of the store and that's when I stumbled upon the rest of these pieces. First the purple shirt, then the vest. 'Wow', I thought - someone must have donated some old vacation clothes - these are the real deal! It became a scavenger hunt - how may more could I find?!

I always say that part of the fun of thrifting is imagining where the pieces came from - who owned them, where did they go, what did they see. How did these vintage Hawaiian shirts get all the way across the Pacific to the Goodwill circa 2014? These pieces are of such quality, I can only imagine they've had a wonderful life. Perhaps a couple of (well-off?) newlyweds took their honeymoon in Honolulu and had these shirts custom made. Fifty years later, they wind up in my closet, the star of my latest blog entry.

Usually when I find a 60s/70s vintage clothing the fabric is awful - thick, polyester, scratchy monstrosities - so much so, I won't buy them because they look like Halloween costumes - But these are incredible! The fabrics are woven, linen, breathable - you know, textiles that would actually feel nice in Hawaii's climate. They look professionally hand-made (in deference to 7th-Grade-Home-Economics hand-made) as though they were specially tailored for the woman who owned them. The details are so interesting - the fabric covered buttons, the old school tags and their specificity to Hawaii, the colors and graphics!

Styling these pieces for everyday wear was a lot of fun. For me, vintage pieces look best when paired with modern styles. 'Homage' is one thing - but head-to-toe vintage 'costume' is quite another.