Last Saturday night was the 12th Annual Jane Austen Ball. I've been going since the very first one, and have only missed two due to work. It's an excuse for people to dress up and dance to the music of Jane Austen's lifetime, and it's one of the geekiest and most wonderful things I do.
After years of wearing an old bridesmaid dress that was vaguely Regency in style, and several more years of running around the week before the Ball trying to rent a gown, this year I finally had a dress made, and it was gorgeous. The only problem was that whenever I've rented a dress in the past, it comes with the long white dress gloves. So with just two days to spare, I realized I needed to find some gloves quick.
Which leads me to my slip. I went to the Goodwill, and they had NO gloves, much less stretchy white dress gloves. Next, I looked online for thrift stores in the area and made a list of ten. After three or four of them had absolutely nothing except some 70s tan suede that looked perfect for a Foxy Brown Halloween costume, I was beginning to worry I wouldn't find any gloves anywhere, new or used. I should explain it's considered very gauche to neglect the gloves. Some people take them off once they're dancing, but I didn't want to make an appearance bare-armed.
And so, when I walked into a store that I realized was actually a discount store, not a secondhand store, and asked if they had any gloves, and she literally pulled out a brand new pair of the exact gloves I needed, and she said they were $7, I caved. I could have kept looking, and possibly end up gloveless, but I didn't. I decided I wanted those gloves, and I knew I'd be wearing them for the rest of my ball-going days. So there you have it. I think it's actually more of a slip than a tumble, because it's a small item that won't end up in a landfill. They'll be in my armoire for many years.
What I learned was that buying used is all about thinking ahead. If I'd thought of it sooner, I would have had the time to look in more secondhand shops. I might have even called ahead so I wouldn't be using up so much time and energy, not to mention gasoline, searching for just what I needed.
Whew- I feel a lot better getting that off my chest. Do you have any good tips for buying specific items used or at secondhand shops?