Second Hand is definitely my philosophy re: clothing. I truly consider it the Eco friendly way. In doing so I suppose it is an ethical way. Been doing it for 50 years. At first by accident. Being a musician in a band I had a gig looming. My thought was to dress up as a vicar. Where to find the clothes though?
Before that one specific gig date, our band played in Levi, Wrangler or Maverick denim. Or hippy flared loons, tie dye grandad t-shirts and waistcoats. Our music began to change where I was writing songs with different imagery required. So I first dropped on and wanted that very British ‘Summer Vicar’ look with a cream linen suit, black shirt, dog collar and a Panama hat. So a trip to the first charity/thrift shop I took? I found my first fascination with all things second hand. And I mean ‘All Things’. My Gaggia coffee maker and many familiar everyday used tools and items are found still useable and came from a charity shops or car boot sales source. Before that I frequented army and navy stores. Or the hippy joss stick smelling Nirvana called ’I am’ for all things jewellery based love beads and peace sign necklaces accompanying clothes based in cheese cloth, desert boots and Afghan or long military coats. Also the local food and goods market where the retailers sold from permanent ‘lock up at night’ stands. It was a ghost town walking through that empty market place early morning waiting before the stall holders arrived to begin their day. Keen you see!
Anyways. Charity/Thrift Shops. That’s where I first discovered the beautiful philosophy of ‘Iconic Ownership’. Clothes and other items I could never afford new. And actually? All the better for having been worn and given an air of being ‘lived in’. I can’t describe or explain how I’m always able to carry off and look comfortable in whatever I wear. Lucky I guess. But I can get away with it somehow. And since a fresh faced young guy at 16 years old, wearing a battered Harris Tweed jacket, a pleated pair of needle corduroy trousers, leather heavy brown belts and button needed braces, Oxford button collar shirts, knitted handmade ties, chukka suede desert boots and always, always deep burgundy coloured socks with an appropriate Paisley handkerchief and waistcoat pockets showing a fountain pen clip, my Grancher’s ‘passed down to the eldest’ silver pocket watch and a silk square piece of cloth for cleaning my glasses. I’ve dressed older than my years. Now I’ve caught up.
My love for the five ‘B’s’ is still there. Bohemian, body art, beards, booze and baccy are still their. Although no smoking, no booze (this year) and no tattoos. I still own two of the five ’Bs’. Beard and Bohemian. That’s a plus.
I wore glasses since 17 years old. Needed for driving when I realised I couldn’t do the ‘you are required to read a number plate at 20 metres’ test. Fail? You couldn’t get behind the wheel. My glasses? From an early teens always John Lennon round style. Iconic you see. Excuse the pun. My first car? A Mini Clubman estate. What I’d give to own it now. I drove around about 25 years ago in a beautiful old Fiat 500 rear engine built in the 1970s car. But I do now own the 1972 VeeDub rear engine bay bus. That’s not too shabby is it?
I’m adding soon to my ‘Iconic Ownership’ series of blogs. Clothes and everyday items. Why? This morning I was putting together my considered outfit for a wedding we are going to. The Bride and Groom stated that individuality is key. The Groom and his Father are wearing tweed. As are others too. So I got an ‘outfit’ together. Then I thought to myself. Each of these items deserves a little written homage to their existence. In their contributions to feel good factors.
Harris Tweed, Italian knitted tie, platinum tie pin, wool burgundy handmade waistcoat (made for a member of a Welsh Choir I was told), silk Indian handkerchief, silk/linen mix shirt, Timberland capped chukka boots, grey worsted Dak trousers and obligatory burgundy socks. I have round 1930s Algha gold rimmed glasses too. But the opticians won’t put new lens in them for fear of damaging them. So I have new modern round frames. They’ll do I suppose.
Whilst I had my iPad camera on the snap snap. I grabbed my beaten and trashed Carhartt Chore Jacket (100 year old anniversary edition made in 1989), Two Tilley hats (Hessian gardening one and all over Cream for reflecting sunshine beach considerations) and my beautiful Levi Brown beanie. All essential gardening wear. Am I a clothes snob? Nah! Looking at the Carhartt obviously not! But I really do love things that are built to last. Both vintage and more modern Iconic.
Interestingly. My blog on the 1930’s Musette MLE 35 French Infantryman bag seen in the film ‘The Ninth Gate’ with Johnny Depp, gets at least two visits per day. Over the years it’s visits are in the thousands. A Google search finds my post high on the search finds. I suppose there must be many others who have their own fascination with all things vintage.
Vintage, with it’s aesthetic and philosophical loveliness, truly seems to have a Worldwide fan club it would seem.
Please tap on individual photographs to enlarge.