I’m having a yard sale this week. This Sunday, to be specific. It is happening at 456 Roxton Rd., from noon til.. whenever, I guess, and you’re all invited to come and pick through my belongings and haggle with me over how much the bandage dress (!?) that I purchased (?!!!) in 2008 (!!!) is worth now. It’s French Connection. I have no idea where I planned to wear it, and have no recollection of ever actually doing so. I think on the right person it could be really great, but I tried it on and sent a picture to a friend who responded, “who are you rn” so I think it’s just not my look. It is, however, deeply flattering. Like Spanx you can wear outdoors. All that could be yours. Think about it.
I have been. Thinking about it, that is. I have been thinking a thinkpiece’s worth, evidently, about not just this dress but all the clothes, shoes, tchotchkes, and other sundry items that are forming a real Island of Lost Toys in a corner of my room, waiting to be redistributed to loving homes on Sunday. Where did some of this stuff come from? In what world am I the kind of person who could pull off a bandage dress? Or a tiny vintage playsuit with absolutely no stretch?
Looking at these items, I find myself wishing for some kind of cross between Cher Horowitz’s closet computer and a personal Wikipedia. “ITEM: Camel-coloured Uniqlo cape. Purchased within hours of arriving in London, with the overwhelming feeling that you might never wear sleeves ever again. Worn twice. ITEM: Black T-shirt with a print of a…skeleton…rollerblading…with mesh back. Purchased in Rome, age 16, because your cool friend Yasemin told you it made you look skinny. ITEM: A million books about Shakespeare, purchased because you’re a nerd.”
A yard sale is a weird thing. Not to get too wild with the similes, but it’s kind of like a shedding of skins. You’ve tried on these identities and they have (or haven’t, or really really haven’t #rollerbladingskeleton) worked for you for a while, but now they’re not something you wear, or read, or carry with you. And now it’s all laid out in the street, the detritus of your becoming (HI), for passersby to consider and maybe make a part of theirs. All the people you thought you’d be: the kind of chick who wears berets ($2 per b, guys. I have so many), the girl in the cardigan and Hunter boots, the all-vintage-all-the-time sundress cutie with the make up and the hair and the eau de Deschanel. I love going to other people’s yard sales, not only for the sweet dealz but also from a voyeuristic impulse to peruse their past selves that are neatly displayed, and priced according to their potential value, for new owners. A catalogue of attempted identities.
Anyway, symbolism. Come buy my old stuff?