Last winter, when I visited Tennessee, I went to an antique shop and noticed how cheap and awesome everything was. There were mink stoles for $45, beautiful crystal for pittance, and well-built, stylish shoes from the 60s in mint condition. I realized that the antique, vintage, and thrift stores in places like Tennessee are not--as they are in Seattle, or Boston--picked over and over-priced. My assumption that Alabama's antique shops would hold true to this statement as well was correct; this afternoon Patrick and I stopped at a huge antique mall in Madison to browse the old kitchen items and beaded dresses. We ended up doing some last minute Christmas shopping, and spent a good hour and a half inside, before checking out with two gay men who once befriended Patrick at a bar.
There are no hipsters in Madison, Alabama, and there were none in Kingsport, Tennessee, either. No one interested in purchasing old school suitcases and styling them in the quaint DIY wedding decor. No one interested in having an old typewriter in the corner, to, you know, bang out some poetry now and then. No one searching endlessly for that particular Chanel jacket with the pearl buttons, either. And this is what I love about these sorts of stores, anyway, is searching through what people have discarded, what no one seems to want, and finding something that I can love. A tiny cast iron pan. Costume jewelry rings made from old clip-on earrings. A ceramic juicer. White lace gloves.
In a particularly bountiful "shop" in the antique mall--which Patrick described as my perfect ten square feet of space--I found fur collars and coats, beautiful vintage dresses and petticoats, well-made shoes and handbags. I think one of the fur coats, real fur, was pricey--at $45. I told Patrick, flipping through beads and chiffon and tulle, that I should buy a bunch of vintage clothes and shoes and jewelry in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and ship it back to Seattle, where I could make a killing up-selling it to the hipsters on Capitol Hill, Fremont, Ballard, and the rich women on Queen Anne. A woman looking through the dresses with me chuckled, saying in her remarkable Alabama accent, that there weren't many hipsters around her, and that was a pretty good idea. I think I could get at least $90 for that fur coat, at any rate.