While waiting for the tram today I was looking at a red dress in the window of a Salvos op shop (Salvation Army charity shop). A lady struck up a conversation with me, asking me if I liked the dress. I told her I was no expert in fashion and couldn’t really give an opinion one way or another. “It’s a bridesmaid dress,” She told me. “And an ugly one too.”
The ladies name was Freda, an Australian lady of Greek descent. As we both stepped up closer to the window to look at the dress, she told me she was a dress maker. She then pointed out the wedding dress next to the red dress. “Now that’s a classy dress, a lot of work went into that,” She said, pointing at the long train of the dress that was rather unimaginatively strewn across the floorspace of the window. “I would guess that’s about a four of five thousand dollar dress.” She said.
I then looked further into the shop and saw a rack of white wedding dresses. It’s summer here in Australia, wedding season, so the perfect time for a charity shop to display and sell such gleaming white gowns. As I looked at the rack of dresses I told Freda I’d never seen that many wedding dresses in a thrift store before.
“Who buys their wedding dress from a thrift store?” I asked out loud. “Probably a girl on budget who wants something classy like that,” She said, pointing at the dress with the long train. “You could get that dress at a steal I bet, then just have it adjusted see.”
Another question then struck me. “Who sends their wedding dress to a thrift store though?” Freda turned and looked at me as if I’d just asked the dumbest question of all time. “Well, they can’t all be fairy tales endings can they.” She said in a matter-of-fact tone.
I looked back at the rack of dresses that had gone almost unnoticed by me just a few moments earlier as I waited for the 109 tram. Now they seemed like the saddest dresses I’d ever seen, just hanging there in a thrift store, abandoned like the dreams of their once owners who had clearly sent them somewhere to forget.