For the love of Frenchy

Lord, I love the dig. And I’m not the only one.

I have a method, an approach plan. Toss all the pinks aside; watch for interesting fabric. It’s usually attached to the holy grail: the Good Label.

Eureka! A teeny-tiny kung-fu outfit. A suede cowboy vest with a fringe. Endless 70s-era t-shirts. A handmade puffy cordouroy jacket. Retro toques with giant pom-poms. And bottomless Gap, Old Navy, Stride-rite, exotic European brands, all givens, some never worn, topping out at about a buck apiece.

Frenchy’s is a maritime phenomenon, well-loved and documented. There’s at least one in almost every small rural town—Bridgewater is enormous, the Coldbrook twins own Halloween, Windsor is hot and cold, Sackville is a hidden gem. We’re excursionists. We take an afternoon and hit half a dozen, once every few months (station wagon required).

People elsewhere think they know secondhand, but they don’t. Not until they know Frenchy’s—and score the kind of haul that gets taken home in a garbage bag, bursting at the seams.

I am a treasure-hunter, the third generation of Robson women who troll the bins. Still squeamish? Behold the prize of vintage plaid and shearling.