Friday, June 5, 2009

Pumps & Pleats: Precious finds amongst the junk

Story and photos by Michèle De Meglio

There’s some weird crap at flea markets.

Frankly, after one - no, six - too many church fairs during my youth, I developed quite an aversion to these swap-and-shop-your-junk sales.

But I did my best to hide any lingering childhood scars and donned a brave face as I made my way through Fort Greene for the Brooklyn Flea.

Based on blog posts and word of mouth, I expected the sale to be upscale, trendy and ridiculously cool.

There were plenty of hipsters and downtown folk surrounding the stands, but I found some of the wares to be a bit, well, weird. Geez, it seemed like some of the stuff was cleared out of a 1970s packrat’s overflowing garage.

There were really beat-up old handbags. Ones that had faux-gold lion medallions sewed on and others straight from the 80s in various pastel shades.

I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted a black microfiber tote emblazoned with a fully functioning clock. Can you say Flavor Flav?

There was also a tan leather messenger bag embroidered with mushrooms. Must have been brought in by hippies who wouldn’t grow up.

My favorite display had to be the plastic human heart model secured with tape and tossed next to a pile of distressed leather-like bags.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s some strange stuff at the Flea - but there’s also some cool finds.

A baby pink tube dress with a scalloped texture and just a hint of sparkle was unbelievably adorable. It was even paired with three strands of plastic pearls in the same delectable rosy shade.

I swear, if I could pull off a silver sequin tunic with a massive butterfly print, I would so do it.

I was speechless upon finding an insanely giant orange velvet couch right out of a 70s flick. It was like a car accident - so terrible that you know you shouldn’t stare but you can’t peel your eyes away from the grisly scene.

My biggest smile of the day was reserved for a table boasting two for $20 plastic stud earrings. Some of these cheap-and-chic babies reminded me of the sticker studs I wore as a third-grader. You know, the ones shaped like yellow stars or blue moons.

I fumbled with a pair of pink hearts and reached for my wallet.

Then again, $20 for cheap plastic studs? Dude, seriously, we’re in a recession.

The Brooklyn Flea runs every Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., in Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School’s schoolyard, Lafayette Avenue between Vanderbilt and Clermont avenues. On Sundays, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., the Flea is indoors at 76 and 81 Front Street. For more info, visit

(Published in the 6.4.09 issue of 24/Seven)

Michèle De Meglio is a native Brooklynite addicted to all things stylish. Check out Pumps & Pleats each week for more adventures as she scours the borough for fab duds and accessories.


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