Photos by Kris Rodammer
I have a new routine for days off in Houston. Across the street from my favorite coffee shop, Catalina Coffee, is a Salvation Army which has 50 percent off clothing on Wednesdays. I park my car in the coffee shop lot, scurry across the street, and peruse the store, draping wardrobe potentials across my arms and eventually hiding within the 3 item changing room doors, with an exponentially higher number of pieces of clothes to try on. When shopping primarily for wardrobe, my standards in the clothing selection process are quite different than if I was shopping for my everyday wear. Every item I buy is between $1.50 and $8, so if I can imagine a handful of shoots in one item, I deem the clothing something to buy. Thrift stores are hit and miss, and for me they are much more fun than a normal store because the price point is lower and it feels like a scavenger hunt or adventure. I was raised on garage sale clothing, partly due to being one of four children on a single income home, basic practicality, and intelligent Jewish frugalness, and some of my fondest childhood memories are my Saturday morning garage sale hunts with my mother. Children can outgrow or ruin clothing rather quickly so wearing expensive clothing never made sense, nor would it have been possible, and I feel the same idea of temporary clothing should apply to most modeling wardrobe.
A little bit of wardrobe can inspire me, evoking a certain role, and this helps add to the variety of my work. Monotony can be the death of art, unless used as a tool to push past the sameness and create something unique. Little is needed to transform a shoot, certainly wardrobe is not needed, but sometimes that can be the quickest way to inspire a new idea.
So, what did I depart with from the thrift store today? A long, light brown, soft leather coat that may be a wee bit big but is just awesome, a shiny button up shirt, a purple, baggy top that can be tied up or maybe just cut with scissors to reveal my stomach, and a fuzzy baby doll that has feathers around the trim and boob sections. And a red, plaid shirt/dress that will work for everyday use as well for shooting. 5 items for just under $20, and now I'm cooking up ideas for each bit of clothing.
There are some wardrobe items that are best bought new and yesterday I finally replaced my black pumps. I had a pair that I bought this year, but apparently my feet played a trick on me, or the leather stretched out because by the time I was using my shoes for shoots, I was disappointed by the slightly large fit. My new ones are taller, shinier, and a corresponding level of less comfortable as they are much sexier. In about an hour and a half I will get to wear them for the first time.