Each garment in my wardrobe holds the memory of its purchase. Ebay buys may recollect a tense bidding war, or bring a smile at the remembered thrill of watching the final seconds tick down without a challenging bid. Sometimes it was a glimpse of fabric on a charity shop rail or in a pile at a car boot sale, hastily grasped and examined and evaluated and determined - yes - to be the real deal, and quickly purchased. I paid £2 at a car boot sale for the 1950s aqua taffeta dress I wore to my sister's wedding - the excitement of finding such a bargain will never leave me.
It needed a long bath in Vanish to get the discolouration out. But it was £2. Full circle skirt, too.
Some purchases might be the culmination of months in pursuit of a particular wishlist item - a 1940s crochet handbag, a 1950s princess coat, a leopard muff - which was then, finally, ticked off the list. Or it might have been spur of the moment, happened upon while browsing a vintage shop maybe, or the result of an idle online search bringing up something lovely and unexpected - in the right size, at the right price - quick, where's my credit card?
Most vintage garments are unique - many were home made, and of those that weren't, most of their companions will have long since been consigned to the great wardrobe in the sky - and so each one is ours alone, unique and exclusive. We certainly don't need to worry about passing someone in the street wearing the same Primark sweater.
Our clothes are special to us, treasured equally for their rarity, their history, and the thrill of their discovery. They are our hobby, our passion, our link to the past, and our form of self-expression.
Or, sometimes, it's just a pretty dress.