Embracing the patina
I was leaving work a few weeks ago, walking out a door very much like this. I heard a snap and realized one of the side cinch straps on my bag had caught on the handle and broken off. I've shared before that this purse was inherited from my mum - it was something she had coveted for years. Though it is something I likely wouldn't have bought myself, I love it even more because of the connection to her - the story and memory attached. And, now that I have been using it for over 5 years; I've come to love it and also find it a very useful bag!
Of course hearing that snap and realizing it had broken was upsetting. Hindsight, it wasn't overly surprising as those straps seem to get caught on things all the time - and a quick google search uncovered that I'm not the only one who has experienced this.
I shared what happened with another fashion-loving friend who happens to have the same bag and her response was:
"Well, it just adds to its patina".
Upon hearing this comment, Blake Lively's Met Gala moment from this past year came to mind. If you didn't see it you need to check it out here. She literally patina'd in front of our eyes!
Here is the Merriam-Webster dictionary of patina:
a: a usually green film formed naturally on copper and bronze by long exposure or artificially (as by acids) and often valued aesthetically for its colour.
b: a surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use.
The phrase in definition b has really got me thinking. "A surface appearance of something grown beautiful especially with age or use". This is what my friend was referencing. Now, this can apply to so many things when it comes to aging - but for our purposes here, I'm going to stick primarily with fashion.
While I'll likely repair the strap, what I love about the bag is its patina. My memories - how it is serving me over time. That's what makes it interesting and unique. Adventures lived and time gone by. The leather inside and out is aging - and that's more than ok, it's beautiful.
You've probably experienced this a bit yourself when you think of some of the pieces in your own wardrobe: the perfectly worn in faded jeans, an antique piece of jewelry you may have inherited, a leather jacket that maybe just seems to get better with wear and time.
Consignment and thrifting have become so popular with increasingly more options both on-line and in-person. It's budget friendly, great for the environment; but I also love that mystique embedded within the patina - knowing that there is a story there and that it is continuing with you.
The last two Christmases my husband has gifted me pieces from luxury consignment. This year, it was a beautiful Chanel bag he found on Poshmark. The seller included a Vogue ad from its year and a personalized note about the purse noting its condition for the year is spectacular and that the colour and shape add to its uniqueness.
I love thinking about who may have owned this in the past and that it is getting new life with me!
Similarly, last Christmas my husband gifted me a gorgeous watch from luxury re-sale. Watches are big in the consignment world as not only can they be a lovely jewelry piece - they tell stories. As a new owner will likely never learn the story, but small clues often remain in the age of a dial or strap - in its patina.
If you are interested in designer pieces, there are so many luxury consignment options available. It may be a route worth checking out. Remember, the beauty in the patina!
Consignment shops and sites:
This printed Adidas bomber jacket that was under $30 is one of my favourite all-time consignment finds. I found it in the shop Random & Co in Squamish - if you are ever visiting the town, be sure to check it out. Every time I am there, I come away with a true gem.
If you are interested in dipping your toe into more consignment/thrift shopping, but find it overwhelming; I highly recommend following stylist Faye Delanty and her site Fashion Hound. Faye is a stylist for the Salvation Armies in Australia (or Salvos as they are referred to there). Her videos on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are so educational. She films herself shopping thrift and walks through all of her finds and also references designer runway shows. Truly educational and inspiring!
If you haven't given the world of thrifting or consignment a whirl, why not give it a try this year? It's also a great way to edit clothes from your own wardrobe and receive $$ or credit for adding pre-loved items to your own. Sites like My Wardrobe and Poshmark are fabulous for this.
And, while I was using this idea of "patina" in the context of style; this is also handy to keep in mind when looking in the mirror - as we are all getting older. "Something grown beautiful, especially with age". As I enter my 51st year - this mantra will come in handy!
Do you have some favourite thrift/consignment shops or sites? i'd love to know!