Your Mom Left You A Million Dollars In Clothes

On Tuesday, the vintage fairy godmother came to my house and told me what to chuck, keep, and garage sale to Hollywood hipsters. Kozy brought over Geneva, the owner of vintage shop Trayf, an amazing stylist and fellow insane lover of clothes. We all gelled right away. I came to the realization that I can only have people who understand the value and peculiarities of the garage go through it with me. They are people who 1) love old crap and 2) have an irrational, primal love for clothes.

For months, friends and family have been badgering me to get Salvation Army to empty the inside of the garage. My oldest childhood friend expressed horror at the butterfly sheets, which are my greatest find! A superstitious Taiwanese aunt wanted me to chuck everything old because they had bad, dead person energy. Friends want me get rid of it all so I can just move closer (I live the boonies). Granted, none of them love old crap or have an irrational love of clothes but they just want me to have a better quality of life. Thanks for caring guys! 

Don't get me wrong. I want to get rid of the stuff in a timely manner. I don't want to live in the 'burbs where I'm the only single person under 40 who isn't a high school student. I just need to get rid of the stuff in a way that makes me comfortable.

When I open the garage doors, it's evident to me that my mom's clothes were her life's work. Looking at the spectrum of colors, cuts, styles, and quality of what she bought, she spent her creativity and money in culling this collection. It's hard to convey the value of this to people who didn't know her or who don't care about clothes. Yes, it's just sweaters and dresses, but clothing is more than the sum of it's parts. Fashion is about being able to change the way you look at yourself and how others look at you. It physical transformation everyday. You don't have to be who people say you are, ever! When I look at the garage I see a big fat mess, but I also see potential. 

Geneva and Kozy feel this way too. I knew they were the right people to help me when I opened the garage doors and Geneva said, "Your mom left you a million dollars in clothes! You have the best closet ever!" She was right. 

They had me create piles of keep, donate, and garage sale and meticulously went through every piece. The best part was they let me keep far more pieces than I expected and showed me ways to wear things I'd never imagined I could pull off. That's Geneva's genius as a stylist-- the see potential in everything. Kozy has impeccable style and is one of those rare creatures who can make anything look awesome. She can make ugly 70s men's shirts looked like Comme Des Garcons.

Hello dress from Winter Formal 1992.

Sequin studded blazer!

Valentino cocoon coat! Sadly, it's too big on all of us. Definitely my paternal grandmother's. She had the fancy clothes.  

We took off our clothes in the middle of the driveway Barney's Warehouse sale style to try things on. I don't think the elderly Koreans neighbors walking their Pomeranians minded. 

I'm wearing a jumpsuit with a matched cropped striped jacket. So Pretty Woman at the horse races. 

Boxes to garage sale! 

Not only did floor space clear up but rack space too. We freed up three large racks out of twenty! More later on the goodies I kept. Here are some photos on Flickr.

Addendum: special shout out to Brandon Sheffield for catching typos. 


Monique Truong said...

I was at a booksellers' dinner in San Francisco recently (I'm a novelist so this was a meet & greet the author kind of event), and I told everyone there that the BEST thing that I've read recently is a blog: Infinite Garage. Fascinating, funny & so touching!! Thanks for sharing this adventure with us.

pam said...

i love the butterfly sheets and what a dream it would be to look through all those vintage fashions! i can't wait to see what you kept.

Tera said...

"I think this is the best costume for the day."
~Edie Beale
Loved this post, love old clothes! I read this thinking, no, no, no don't just toss them somewhere:> Glad you got help going through them.

mccranberry said...

i don't think it has to be the all or nothing approach you spelled out. i think i advised you a while back to just live somewhere "normal" and then drive out to the garage like it's your 9-to-5 job. that way you don't have to be haunted by the ghosts and memories 24 hours a day. is this way too sensible/sincere for a blog comment?

Raina Lee said...

Hi Monique, thank you so much, I'm so flattered! wow! Thanks spreading the love!

Hi Pam, thanks, I'll show the crazy fashions soon.

Tera, I love Edie's quote and adore her. It's true, they are all costumes.

mccranberry, i think you didn't read the blog post all the way through, but thanks for helping me clear out the den. I know you wanted me to keep the butterfly sheets.

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