The Mast-Head: Thank You, L.V.I.S.

Punk rock, preppy, biker look, Deadhead, office grunt — the L.V.I.S. outfits it all

The Ladies Village Improvement Society fair is Saturday, an annual event that I have enjoyed since I was small and my grandmother took me to the Mulford Farm grounds to play pint-size games of chance and get my face painted. But it was not the fair that had me thinking about the L.V.I.S. early this week; rather, I had no swim trunks in my truck, and I badly wanted to break up the day with a dip in the ocean. 

At the risk of sounding too much like a fanboy, the L.V.I.S. and I are like this (picture my intertwined index and middle fingers). Not all that long ago I was invited to speak to the club’s members about The Star during a lunch at the Devon Yacht Club in Amagansett. I had given my spiel plenty of times before, but this was the best audience I had ever had, bar none. 

But it’s the Bargain Box shops, which dressed me and several generations of somewhat nonconformist East Hampton youth, that really float my boat. Punk rock, preppy, biker look, Deadhead, office grunt — the L.V.I.S. outfits it all. More than once, I am only a little chagrined to say, the Bargain Box put me into an appropriate kit mere hours before I was due at a summer benefit and even a funeral, or two.

On the eve of the fair, with the shops going to close early today, there was a sense of panic among the customers browsing among the books and clothing on Tuesday. A strikingly rugged young man in black boots, sleeveless T, and artfully ripped white overalls emerged from the men’s dressing room to place a very floral swimsuit back on the rack. Others picked up a few beach reads. The women’s section was buzzing with a sound like an oncoming train as people rattled the hangers. 

I found a pair of Hurley surf trunks that would not fall off in the waves for $12 and two dress shirts for those moments when the need might arise. After walking proudly back to the Star office with my loot folded over my arm, I sat for a spell at my desk, then quietly slipped out the back door for a quick run to Georgica and my long longed-for plunge. Bless you, L.V.I.S., for all you do and the catastrophes large and small you have helped me avoid.

See you at the fair.