Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Fall, Fashion, & Flea Markets

For some people, September is all about following (virtually or otherwise) fall fashion week as it stomps from NYC to Milan. Side note: I always thought that the height of fabulousness would be to travel to Paris to attend the fashion shows (Champagne for breakfast! A room at the Ritz! The front row at Chanel!), but every fashion editor I have said this to, rolls her eyes and responds with this world-weary spiel about how the whole thing is so tiring and they dread it every year and they’d rather be home watching Toddlers and Tiaras…blah, blah, blah. I don’t believe them. Just stick me in your satchel and take me with you!

For me, this is the season of fall festivals, flea markets, and rummage sales. Now there are some similarities between my season and the aforementioned one, like the popularity of photographing street fashion:

The Sartorialist.

And both have real potential for danger. At the fashion weeks, you may not wear the right show to match your Opening Ceremony varsity jacket, or a pouty intern assigned as a party gatekeeper may turn you away at the door with the flick of her hair. On the flea market circuit, there’s the frightening possibility of the concession table running out of powdered apple cider donuts before you get there.

What I love most about the flea market season is not the fashions or the donuts (although these are way up there) but the thrill of the hunt. The treasures I’m always looking out for include: Milk glass, retro Pyrex food storage containers (abeautiful version of today’s hideous plastic Tupperware), and the almost impossible to find Jadeite (I’m convinced that Martha Stewart sends secret agents to flea markets across the country to buy up all the available Jadeite–see THIS as evidence).

Although I try to stick to my wish list, I sometimes (always) become easily distracted by kitchen and food-related items that I clearly don’t need but try to convince myself I should get. This is when a debate occurs in my brain on whether to let this one-of-a-kind tchotchke slip away, or to buy it impulsively and love it forever. This is how the debate normally goes down:

ME: Look at that vintage 7-Up sign!

BRAIN: Just keep walking.

ME: I love it! Let’s see how much it is…

BRAIN: What are you going to do with a gigantic tin soda pop sign?

ME: It’s so cool…I love it…

BRAIN: Did you hear me?

ME: Signs are THE thing right now! Didn’t you watch that episode of American Pickers?

BRAIN: Where are you going to put it?

ME: I have lots of ideas!

BRAIN: Like…?

ME: On Conor’s bedroom wall!

BRAIN: You know you will never do that, it will just sit on the floor propped up against the wall and someone will kick it and it will fall on the dog.

ME: I’m not listening to you anymore. Ooooohhhh…look at that antique sheep feeder! We can use it as a bin for all the outdoor toys!

When I attended one of my favorite flea markets a couple of weeks ago–the Tewksbury Flea Market– I was looking for possible props for our upcoming cookbook photo shoot. I had a few good scores, including a vintage enamel coated tin bowl with a red border, a cherry red Pyrex covered dish and a bright blue one as well. Conor used his allowance to purchase a Hess Truck from 1992 and Belle found an antique toy horse.

These are some of the other items I had my eye on:

The vendor had a whole box of these souvenir framed photos, but wanted to charge me $1 for taking a picture of them! Swindler!

This register only weighed like 400 pounds, but imagine how cool it would be on a countertop when you (me) opened up your dream sandwich shop!!

For mini-hay rides!

When I was a kid, Burger King used to give out special cartoon glasses like these –remember?

Everything you need to host your own Civil War battle reinactment!

I realized that I haven’t taught my kids how to play checkers yet, bad parenting!

A cat brooch in case I’m ever invited to a Grey Gardens costume party and want to dress like Little Edie!

So would you rather go to Paris fashion week or a flea market? And if  you’re a flea market hound what do you always look for?

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