Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring Cleaning

On Friday afternoon I met Liz in her driveway. "I'm warning you," she said, "It's really bad in there." She gestured behind her to her garage, which attaches to her basement.

Liz is in the grips of a spring cleaning frenzy, and she asked me to come over to help her sort through the stacks of vintage clothing in her basement. I was more than happy to do it. In fact, I was really looking forward to seeing what sort of fabulous clothing was tucked away in the Aladdin's cave that Liz's basement surely would be.

The basement fulfilled its promise of being a vintage clothes lover's dream come true. In a quick glance I saw a gorgeous 1970s silk caftan and a Lilli Ann suit from the '50s with pleated detail at the sleeves. We lit a stick of sandalwood incense and stuck in in the shoulder of a dressmaker's dummy to burn down as we sorted clothes into piles to dryclean, take to the store, or send to Goodwill. For the sale rack, we filled bins with 1950s dresses, tee shirts, Jantzen sweaters, and other clothes with tiny stains or that need small repairs. Someone with basic mending skills will make out like a bandit when these clothes are put out.

All of this is to say that it's a great time to get down to the Xtabay. Already we have a box of bargain 1940s silk ties and 1980s belts out, and the sale rack is in front of the store with new pieces added every day. You just might see me in one of my Xtabay sale rack scores: a black cotton 1950s dress with a fitted bodice,a full skirt, and velvet trim. Full movie star glamour for $15.

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