March 08, 2016

Joy Amongst the Unwanted

My favorite film to watch when I’m feeling a little down is Kinky Boots. Now a Broadway musical, this little cinematic gem tells the story of an average man who takes an extraordinary risk to save his small shoe making business. And it’s based on a true story.

It also happens to be on Netflix if you're wondering what to watch tonight.

It also happens to be on Netflix if you’re wondering what to watch tonight.

When retailers choose cheaper manufacturers over his more expensive (but better-made) men’s loafers, Charlie Price partners with a drag queen named Lola to design a radically different product in a last-ditch effort to save his business and keep his workers employed.

This of course shocks many in the small town of Northampton, but ultimately everyone learns valuable life lessons of acceptance, friendship, love and loyalty. It’s a feel-good film.

(I don’t want to spoil the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it, so I’ll leave it there.)

One quote in this film sticks out to me every time I watch it. There’s a scene where Charlie discovers Lola sitting in the storage room, sifting through discarded pieces of shoe leather deemed too flawed to be of use. When asked what she’s doing there, she replies,

“One never knows what joy one might find amongst the unwanted.”

I think they're awesome.

I think they’re awesome.

About a year ago, I was on Good Morning America talking about my blog, ReFashionista. I hadn’t done a great job of pre-planning my talking points. When asked why I refashioned items of clothing that were old and ugly, I said the first thing that came to mind.

“I like how unwanted they are.”

It was an odd thing to say, but the sentiment was very much the same as Lola’s. If I had seen the film at the time, I might have paraphrased her line.

I could have said I liked saving money, owning unique things, or the thrill of the hunt…all of which are very valid reasons for why I love thrifting.

But my first instinct is a sort of misfit empathy. It’s the same weird part of me that is oddly moved by the sight of objects like this silly little too-small fan.

Hey little guy, what are you doing here?

Hey little guy, what are you doing here?

The odder the objects are, the more intrigued I am. There’s just something sadly sweet about them.

Dude...you just don't belong anywhere do you?

Dude…you just don’t belong anywhere do you?

I love finding these things that seem to defy the laws of natural occurrence and then give them a world to exist in when I can. Even if I end up leaving them behind, I still feel as if I’ve just visited old friends.

Others may think I’m odd, or at the very least eccentric.

But I wonder if any other avid thrifters feel this way.

27 Comments

  1. Saw Kinky Boots in R.I.. It was fantastic! Love your blog. I have to admit I’m jealous that you have Thrift stores with prices so cheap! I can’t find a dress for under $8.99 and if it is the “right” color tag might get it for half! Then to think of the time to spend altering it I get discouraged! I’ll keep looking and reading your blog though!
    Thanks for the great read!

  2. Saw Kinky Boots in R.I.. It was fantastic! Love your blog. I have to admit I’m jealous that you have Thrift stores with prices so cheap! I can’t find a dress for under $8.99 and if it is the “right” color tag might get it for half! Then to think of the time to spend altering it I get discouraged! I’ll keep looking and reading your blog though!
    Thanks for the great read!

  3. I really do feel this way! I made a purchase from Stitch Fix recently, then hit the Goodwill half off day on Saturday. I’m wearing a combination of those purchases right now and I’m so proud and happy because of the poor unwanted top that looks so awesome with my pricey black skinny pants. I have learned the value of having a few costly items when their quality matches the price, but I’m just so much happier when I’ve discovered something awesome in what other people thought was junk. Now if I can just learn to sew, I can rescue more pieces, like you do!

  4. Ok, first, I want to see your GMA segment!! And second, YES- I definitely feel empathy towards the odd/strange/unwanted treasures at GW. Especially if I see them again, a week or two later.

  5. LOVED Kinky Boots! Such a great movie. Lola is my spirit animal <3

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