Smile Politely

My Favorite Things: Sara Hudson of Dandelion

Sara Hudson, owner of Dandelion vintage clothing in downtown Champaign, has made a career around selling other peoples’ old treasures to a new audience. But, after being surrounded by clothes most of the day, which things does she fill her own closet with? Here’s a look into Sara’s favorite clothes, accessories, and shoes, and how each made its way back to her.

1. If geometric, dizzying, and zebra-like aren’t enough words to describe this used Cache piece, there’s always one more. Skort.

2. Given to her as a present from her sister, this yellow knit cardigan is more than just a cute way to stay warm in the spring. “[She] thought I was crazy when I opened the store,” laughed Sara about her chemist sibling who shortly thereafter began visiting estate sales outside of St. Louis, where she picked this out. “It’s symbolic,” Sara says of her sister’s choice, “that she understands what I do now.”

3. With a scattered geometric pattern that looks partly like art, the real beauty of this buttoned dress is its natural fibers, which Sara finds to be more comfortable both in the summer and all year round.

4. A purchase made in Danville years ago — before the ’80s came back, even — Dandelion’s storeowner juxtaposes this kitschy-fun gold belt decorated with leaves, butterflies, and birds against a dark neutral palette, like a long black sweater or dress. “It’s kind of heavy when you wear it and sometimes it comes off, but who cares!” she says, unwilling to let falling objects stand in her way of metallic perfection.

5. As the owner of a used clothing shop, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Sara typically fills her closet with vintage goods. This Oilily cardigan, a gift from her husband featuring a multicolored forest scene and a removable fake fur collar, was special enough to make the cut, though, even if she’s the first to wear it. “For me to fall in love with a new item is very rare, because I usually find more joy in finding the eclectic vintage items,” she says. To her significant other? Job well done.

6. “Everyone needs to have a family heirloom. Something from their mom or grandmother,” Sara says. And, judging from this fanciful charm bracelet with all of its delicate silver intricacies, Sara’s one to take her own advice. A collection of charms given to her mother from her father, each of the objects dangling off the chain tells its own story, from a young girl’s silhouette representing her own birth to a lunar module, purchased during one of many childhood trips to space and aeronautical museums when her brother aspired to be an astronaut.

7. Out of the five or six pairs of cowboy boots she owns, this Lucchese pair, found in Santa Fe, is her favorite for two reasons: it’s red, and it’s fun.

8. If vintage is all about maximizing the use of one object, it makes sense that Sara does the same with her new items, too. This bone bracelet from the St. Louis Art Museum gift shop isn’t just for adorning one’s wrist: “When you’re not wearing it, you can hang it on your wall, and it kind of looks like art!”

9. While at a flea market with her husband in Seoul more than a year ago, Sara found these tiny multicolored bags perfect for cosmetics, pencils, and gifts, and purchased some for friends back home. She didn’t find too many other goodies from her trip, but who could blame her for being distracted from shopping — free time only came while waiting for adoption paperwork to come through for their son Stanley, the real reason for the trip.

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