REVIVAL: Avoiding Temptation

I recently found this vintage wool coat in an op shop, and it brought back a lot of memories for me. Not because I’m of a similar vintage to the coat, but because I used to buy a lot of vintage clothing. I once had such an extensive collection of vintage clothing that my sister, who was an actor, would raid my wardrobe whenever she needed costumes for a show.

But my love of vintage clothing once stopped me from making friends. Or it didn’t - who can say for sure? – but what happened was this: For about four years I worked as an usher in the city. Between the matinee and the evening performances, I would try to get to as many city vintage clothing stores as I could...
One night, as I made my way back to work for the evening shift, I noticed my fellow ushers sitting in assorted configurations at various cafés and restaurants near the theatre. It suddenly occurred to me that in four years, I hadn’t once whiled away the hours between shifts with a colleague. I hadn’t once had dinner with a colleague. For four years I’d been so determined to get to all my favourite shops before the start of the next shift I’d failed to get to know anyone!

Another downside was loving the clothes too much. Revering the clothes, even. Every time I’ve moved house, a box has gone missing. Don’t ask me how, but it seems I can’t move house without losing a box. One time, the box I lost was the one containing three vintage coats and a dress. Oh, how I mourned the loss of those clothes! It was as if I’d lost an arm or a leg.

It would be very easy to replace those clothes. There are vintage clothing stores everywhere, and while vintage clothing can be expensive, it’s still generally cheaper than good-quality new clothing. But where would I draw the line? If I were to walk into a vintage clothing store, it would be all too easy to walk out with armloads of purchases. Cumulatively, it’d send me to the poorhouse. Not unlike a teenager at Supré, perhaps?

So the only solution for me is not to walk into vintage clothing stores at all. A vintage piece once in a blue moon - which is about how often a vintage piece that fits me and suits me might turn up in an op shop - will have to do. And if I lose it? Well, easy come easy go.

Amy Choi grew up in the family business (a Chinese take-away) and is a three-time university dropout. She was once a finalist in the Vogue Talent Contest and flew all the way to London for lunch at Vogue House. She has worked in customer service, as an usher, foster carer, freelance writer and columnist, most recently for The Age. Her first book will be published next year. She's still dating her first boyfriend and they live in country Victoria with their two daughters. Keep track of Amy's op-shopping adventures at her Revival blog... and at GWAS each fortnight.