My favorite piece? Let me state for the record, that seriously there isn’t just one. For the purposes of this article I must say these are currently my two favorite pieces. They are both vintage (purses or) pocket books. A rectangular shaped (with a slight flare at the end and a flat bottom) black ostrich skin snap closure pocketbook with the label of the esteemed house of IMagnin, and a white ostrich skinned flip top double strapped pocket book purse. Both acquired second- hand, thrift or consignment shops. The black one in Walnut Creek, CA (because it was a classic piece) and the white one was bought at a store in Berkeley, CA (A lucky find for my Wedding Trousseau).
I should have started off by saying “Thank you Mom.” Isn’t it sad that we sometimes learn lessons the hard way? However, the most important thing is that we do “learn”. Long before the “consignment stores” and the “up-styled trend”, my Mom would constantly drag us with her to go “thrift store shopping”.
“Searching for and finding that coveted unique piece has a lucid ulterior motivation and never fails to satisfy me with a decidedly lenitive effect.”
We loathed going into those stores and we hoped and prayed none of our friends saw us entering such a place. I could not wrap my head around the fact that this woman would shout at me “do you really want people to think we are poor! Why do you wear those jeans with the holes in them?!” Yet and still wasn’t she the one who would always offer or drag us to go thrift store shopping with her.? Aren’t those old clothes? We used to call them “dead peoples clothes” not knowing that they weren’t just donated from people who didn’t want the reminders of family members who had passed on. Or in fact that people just “gave things away” they no longer had a use or desire for. We kept everything in our basement in barrels, just in case we wanted them back later. Or someday we would “send them to the Philippines for family or other people in need”. My Mom was a stunning beauty. She had that Island girl innocence mixed with an acute confidence of self that made her irresistible to most everyone. She was also very smart in that she had come to the U.S. as a child bride. She was divorced with 4 children by the time she was 19. She learned how to maneuver and in needing to provide for her family, she ransacked her brain and picked out ideas and refined them with an entrepreneurial spirit and business savvy that was unstoppable.
I learned from her. What she liked vs. what she loved. Needs vs. Wants. She, as well as I, loved classic, tailored or eclectic pieces. Things that endured the test of time. Things that spoke to me and said, “I am yours”. “You must have me”. “You look like me”.
I grew up in Northern California with a definitive Cali Swag base, a dash of New York boldness and confidence. As a child, our excursions to San Francisco were always special. It didn’t matter if it was Play Land
Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square or just getting lost. But that was where I, as a child, first saw the I.Magnin storefront. The impact was profound.
, my love for acquiring things: homes filled with different eras of furniture, classic cars, jewelry, clothes and accessories dominated my underlying reasons for being.
I moved around a lot, not really wanting to be tied down and opening my horizons by seeing some of the world. I moved to Colorado at 19. I lived in New York and Florida. I was proposed to in Paris on the River Seine. And yes I searched for love, however, searching for and finding that coveted unique piece has a lucid ulterior motivation and never fails to satisfy me with a decidedly lenitive effect.
I often feel a certain risorgimento in choosing an outfit and dressing is invigorating. Simple pleasures in daily rituals are a lifestyle choice for me. I love to savor and enjoy everything and with gratitude and great care, For life can be short, live and be blessed.
These items didn’t disappoint nor ever failed to give me that surge of pleasure again and again.
H. C. Capwell Co. (Capwell’s) (1889/1912/1929)
Oakland, CA 94612
As a young adult in my early twenties, I shopped at Capwell’s (that sold the I. Magnin brand) which intersected with Telegraph, Twentieth and Broadway Avenues in Oakland, CA. I was fresh out of Cosmetology school and working at a salon on Broadway.
Alexandria “Lexa” Credo Darnes did a You Tube channel titled “What am I Wearing Today” and has a Pinterest and blogs as Lexa Loves it