Monday, March 12, 2007

south side story

There are two kinds of thrift stores. There's the kind you can drop by, survey at a glance, and be on your way, and then there's the kind you need a dedicated afternoon and a deep reservoir of fortitude to conquer. The South Side Goodwill is in the latter category, but well worth the time and effort.

The last time I went, I spent more than I think I've ever spent on one single thrift store visit, which is to say the sum total of one outfit at Baby Gap, on five overstuffed bags full of stuff. Most of it was ordinary children's clothes, but then there were these treasures which induced a certain gasp-and-clutch reflex that thrifters know well:

Traditional Japanese children's clothes! This one's a hanten, or short quilted kimono-style house jacket, in a traditional indigo print fabric:


A quick google search for "hanten" turned up this description from an American living in Japan: "It is the epitome of rural farm fashion. Think red longjohns and overalls as the equivalent American outfit." Yes, that jibes with my comfortable memory of hanten being worn to lounge around one's paper-walled house with one's feet tucked under the kotatsu, a low table with heating elements underneath. I'm thinking the concept will translate well to life within our uninsulated brick walls, though sadly, we lack a kotatsu – maybe we could retrofit our coffee table?

I also picked up a vest version of same, which if it has a special Japanese name, I don't know it. Sort of a hanten lite.


As the photos demonstrate, Iris is lukewarm at best on the hanten – she has yet to even try it on. But the vest she loves with all her heart. She even sleeps in it.

I often wonder how things like this end up at the Goodwill. Hanten run $30-50 in Japan, easily over $100 if mail-ordered from here. Did some family receive them as a souvenir from a well-meaning friend who visited Japan, politely thank him or her, then stash them in the back of the closet until it was cleaned out and they ended up in the Goodwill bag? (Both pieces obviously have never been worn.) Or did they come from a local Japanese family whose kids outgrew them before the winter?

Less mysterious are these vintage – I'm guessing 70s – Healthtex jeans:



Dig that groovy rainbow stitching! Now I just have to convince Iris, a self-described "tightsy, skirty, dressy girl," to wear them.

And two vintage sheets in search of a project:




Next time I go, I might take a deep breath and dive into the women's clothes, which are actually organized by color. If I start with the blue section, think I'll find an indigo hanten for me?

8 Comments:

Anonymous erin said...

nice thrifts angelique!

i owe you an email about the bike - it's coming, i promise.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous kirsten said...

wow!
love those sheets- they'd make excellent skirts - or cut up for patchwork ... something.

12:44 PM  
Blogger amy h said...

Wow -- great finds! I actually have a pattern for making a hanten -- I wanted one for myself and never got around to it.

Those rainbow jeans rock!

4:36 PM  
Blogger ironica99 said...

It's funny. The 'tightsy, dressy' girl I don't have so much in common with. But I recognize that love of a vest. To this day I love vests (sometimes not realizing they're unfashionable) and jackets. THAT's my girl. :)

10:41 PM  
Blogger a friend to knit with said...

Ha....southside good will? great buys....i'll be looking for you there! :)

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

I am jealous. We have no good thrift stores here (and one less these days since the Salvation Army store was flattened by a tornado).

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Katie said...

I love to find such great deals! I did find a great Sale on Flowers by Zoe online! Check out Sandboxcouture.com!

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

Ha, the bottom one is what my parents' bedsheets were when I was growing up!

9:34 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home