We go to house and estate sales all the time, so we’re used to the different types of sales. On one end of the spectrum you’ll have high end sales run by dealers, where the prices are close to retail and they clearly know what they have. On the other end you’ll have family run sales where their main priority is clearing out a house, and they just want to get rid of everything, no matter what it is! We don’t mind either type of sale – we enjoy meeting people, seeing the inside of houses, seeing the things that people have accumulated during their lives.
The other weekend we went to a family run sale, and I mentioned to one of the ladies there that I was interested in clothing. She thought for a moment, and then said she thought there might be clothes in the attic, and if I felt like climbing in there I was welcome to them. Without knowing what I was getting into, I followed her through a tiny door into a little crowded attic space. In front of me were a few hanging storage containers, dusty and falling apart. The woman gestured to them and said they’d belonged to her great grandmother and her aunt, she didn’t know what was in them, and they’d been planning on just leaving them in the attic for the new homeowner to deal with. I took a quick peek inside, saw some rhinestones, and said, “I’ll take them.” We got pretty filthy dragging them out of the attic and down the stairs. By the time we got them outside, the plastic had mostly disintegrated, and we barely got it all stuffed into our car! I thanked the woman for letting me into the attic – and I think she was happy to get rid of some dirty clothes for profit!
When I finally got everything unpacked, I was amazed at the goodies that we’d dragged home. The storage bags contained dresses from the 1940s and 1950s, with a couple of 1960s beauties thrown in for good measure. While some of the dresses had been nibbled on by creatures over the years, the majority of the pieces are in very good shape from having been in storage for so long. It’s interesting looking at items trying to learn something about the previous owner’s character – but you could tell the owner of these dresses was probably a serious lady. No novelty prints, no bright festive colors. No, just more black dresses than I’d ever seen in once place. Amazing dresses, with bead work, embroidery, rhinestones. Sheers, bows, textures, pleats. I’m in love.
All of these beauties are around 1950s size 20 – so around a modern size 14… Once I get them dry-cleaned, they’ll be ready to go into the Etsy shop! When you’re at a sale, it pays to ask whoever is running it – whether or not it’s the family or a dealer – if they have what you’re looking for. You just might find an attic full of treasure!