During the month of April I was driving on my way to visit a friend when I happened upon an estate sale sign, which took me off my intended path for a few blocks.  As I reached my destination and entered the beautifully designed space of the sale location, I was rewarded with several rooms of clothing that fit me perfectly.  As you can imagine, I contacted my friend to tell her that I would be late.

I learned from the estate sale company which was managing the sale that the woman who lived in the house had died. I don’t usually ask questions about the person who for whatever reason is selling her or his possessions.  It has never felt morbid to me.  I see it as recycling and searching for treasures. It’s a way to give previously owned pieces a new life and contributes to a sustainable lifestyle.

In this case, because most wearable pieces for sale not only fit me, they were also, in many cases my style.  She had a high end collection of jeans. Skinny, wide legged, animal print, every color imaginable, and in the photos in this post, metallic. The dark plum velvet jacket was also one of my purchases.

I became curious about the woman who had worn this vast and carefully curated collection of beautiful pieces.  I asked about her and tried to connect with someone who knew her.  But alas, it was not to be.  Her circumstances and life history will always be a mystery to me.  Whatever her story, I will honor her by enjoying her sartorial choices today and into the future.

Since the 1970’s I have been an estate sale enthusiast. There was a time when I hunted down sales every week and sold the vintage that I discovered in a booth in an antique mall which I leased with a friend who sold sheet music.  Later I sold on consignment in a vintage shop.  I also had a studio in my basement where I sold vintage by appointment only. Of course I kept the pieces that I loved as I grew a collection that remains dear to me today.

At this point in my life I don’t comb the city and its surrounding areas for estate sales on a weekly basis. But if I stumble upon an intriguing sign on my path, I continue to be unable to resist.  I love the subculture that frequents the sales.  The people in search of the unusual and previously owned.  They may be dealers or they may be looking for personal acquisitions.  Decorating their home or embracing their style. Sometimes I strike up conversations with like-minded seekers who like me are fascinated with the sublime. The entire experience involves all the senses and though I participate less frequently, it will always be a part of my life.

Photos by Blake Jackson HERE and Makeup by ……HERE

Everything I’m wearing in this post was discovered at an estate sale, except for the fuchsia sweater and the gifted fabric hat.  These photos were taken weeks ago, as evidenced by the blooming crab apple tree blossoms in Cheeseman Park. Sometimes my stories are late and lie in waiting to be told.

 

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Fab shoes. Even look comfortable! (From an estate sale adventure).
    Enthusiastic reader, first time commentor.

  2. You’re an inspiration, Judith and you always look so fabulous ! My 98 year old Mother and 68 year old self always comment that so many people just don’t “dress” these days, and they all look the same.

    Whenever we go out, separately or together, whether it’s the grocery store, bookstore, get-togethers or parties, the two of us always “wear our clothes”.

  3. I too am an enthusiast reader and first time commentor. Living in the UK.

    I feel I Know you, so good are you at conveying your love of finding and wearing beautiful clothes. Especially demonstrating that age is no barrier to looking beautiful.

    When I grow up ( I am only 70!) I will have a figure like yours.
    Enjoying the road ahead!

  4. Judith, You look especially stunning in these photos! My first thought was, “I will have to show these to Norma.” the last one with the flowers is gorgeous. I am sure enjoying my flowers this time of year.

    Love, Janet

  5. Omg you are so beautiful! Just discovered your ig page I think that your will be my ideal inspiration, thank you for your photos and words, you have a new Italian fan.

  6. Here in Australia we call these ‘garage sales’ and I have discovered, like you, some amazing clothes and other treasures. The money I save from not buying clothes in expensive dress shops enables me to have some amazing holidays.

  7. You look soooo good in this outfit. Love of all the colours you are combining.
    Had I lived in the USA, I would have been crazy about estate sales like you are. Alas, they don’t know this in The Netherlands. Besides, your tiny size will be better for those sales than my size 14 (UK)/40 (EUR). Never figured out wha my size in USA is. Eight? Large in any case.
    Greetje

  8. Dear Judith, you continue to bedazzle and amaze! I’m always impressed, not only by your glamorous photos and impeccable style … but by your elegant and thoughtful prose … I love ❤️ your story about the exploration of estate sales and the mystery that lies within which is part and parcel of the magic! The fact that this woman’s story is moving fiorward and is becoming a part of your own is such lovely poetry …thank you my friend for continuing to inspire ❤️❤️❤️❤️

  9. That first photo of you could have come from a high quality editorial. Kudos to the photographer. I’ve never made it to an estate sale. Here, they tend to be located in places that you need a car to get to. You have found some stellar pieces over the years at such sales, and obviously, from this post, continue to do so. I think if I would have stumbled on a sale where the clothing was my style and size, I would have felt like I died and gone to heaven, and then I would have maxed out my credit card. I too have an interest in the people who owned the vintage pieces I have. Knowing a bit about the previous owner, or the story behind a specific piece adds so much more interest for me.

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