A Letter to Thrift Stores

By Esha Aphale

Dear Thrift Stores,

“I’m born in the wrong generation.” 

“I swear, life would’ve been so much better if I was born in the 20s or the 50s or the 80s.”

“My sense of style is so different, I don’t fit into this generation.”

Thank god for you, Thrift Stores. If it wasn’t for you housing authentic clothes from the various past generations that I wish I existed in, I don’t know where I’d be. 

I remember watching old movies, either black and white or with faded colors, and grumbling in envy at their mannerisms, their old school romances, but mainly their clothes. I’ve always wanted to swoop through an old Victorian castle wearing a huge gown, or glitz through the roaring twenties in a flapper dress or sport bell bottoms during the psychedelic 80s.

It’s like going on a treasure hunt after entering a time machine, looking at the most peculiar clothes, books, furniture from every time period possible. If I could, I would live in thrift stores, wrapped up in different time zones, lost in different worlds and eras.

Dusty books, forgotten literature, a blush pink dress with the hint of mildew, a broken silver mirror, and hidden treasures. The feeling of rummaging through your grandmother’s forgotten attic, the same nostalgic feeling exists in the magic that perfectly ties together and cumulatively contains items through the eras and different walks of life. Things, clothes, books that have seen horror, war, peace, love, heartbreak, been used to the point of unrecognition or never seen the light of the day, all waiting for someone with a young body and an old, peculiar soul to come along and discover the secrets they hold. 

Everything in a thrift store has a story attached to it, just like we do. The old varsity jacket with a polaroid and a faded golden locket tells a short tale about high-school love, the dented silver hairbrush talks about the few strands of brown locks it still holds, the faded silk saree speaks volumes about a lifetime of glamour, the yellowing book with a “Happy Birthday” message tells a story about a fellow bibliophile giving away a part of themselves to someone else. 

You, yes you, a shoddy construction in some forgotten alleyway hosting equally forgotten and mismatched things, that don’t even know what purpose they serve, have taught me that there’s always someone who notices that spark in you and makes it come alive. 

So, thank you for that. For the magic, dust and rediscovering the art of loving a forgotten, damage and a pre-loved item.

Yours always,

A Lover of Pre-loved

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