Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Pastiche? Unhealthy fantasy? Why I love vintage

This post is prompted by a couple of excellent posts I've read this week, one by Bruce at Eclectic Ephemera and one by Penny Dreadful. Both have encountered, directly or through friends, fairly hostile attitudes towards vintage. I've encountered nasty attitudes towards people doing their own thing before - back when I had blue hair, I actually had people shout across the street to tell me how awful I looked! - and I really don't understand them. Possibly it's a result of me having mild prosopagnosia, but I like people who have their own recognisable style. It could be something as simple as a love of particular colours, or as dramatic as eighteen piercings and a mohawk, I don't care. I love it when people are themselves.

So, why do I love vintage? Well, I do still veer off on non-vintage tangents. After spraining my ankle earlier this year, you can bet your socks that I'll be wearing hiking boots on every icy day this winter, even if they're with a tweed skirt and 1940s jumper. My personal tastes are best described as 'Modern Puritan versus the Inner Hippie'. The modern puritan likes nothing more than a simple black dress; inner hippie occasionally has urges to go all Stevie Nicks or Lord of the Rings. A vintage-style black dress keeps the puritan side happy while being romantic enough to shut the hippie up. Neither is particularly keen on the modern, short, tight, "LOOK, CROTCH! LOOK, TITS!" fashions. And if the upshot of all this is that people think I look like a museum piece sometimes… their problem. I just put the things I like in my wardrobe.

Then there are the practical factors: quality of fabric and cut. Have you seen how little knitwear nowadays contains animal fibres? That's great if you have allergies, but synthetics simply aren't as warm (and some set my teeth on edge). Modern cotton clothes fabrics are often paper-thin compared even to garments from 20 years ago. The styles frequently rely on stretch and gathering for shape, rather than being composed of as many parts as they were in the past. That's fine if you have the perfect figure, but I'm neither young nor slim and need my garments to help me out!

As for the films, the music, the books... I just like them. To date, they haven't prevented me from holding down a job, getting a mortgage or doing any of the things that would suggest some sort of unhealthy fantasy life.

If you've done a post on why you wear vintage, listen to the music or watch the films of another era, please do link in the comments. I find it interesting to see why people do it. And I bet there's not an unhealthy fantasist in the bunch!

3 comments :

  1. This anti-vintage tirade seems like a very uneducated argument to me. I've never come across anyone into the 'vintage scene' whose grip on reality has become detached either from wearing secondhand period clothes, dressing up from a particular historical period or avidly owning a classic car. Quite the contrary; people I've met who take an interest in any aspect of a vintage lifestyle are generally very grounded and knowledgeable about their lifestyle and the background history to it.

    As for wearing vintage clothes, I'd rather express my individuality this way than being a top-to-toe fashion clone. I've been doing it for the past 25 years, so I'm not going to change now!

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  2. As you say, this isn't isolated to vintage, I am a thrifter, and mix in my vintage with my hippy/modern/gothic stuff. Sometimes I go through phases of being out-and-out one thing and get, like you mention with the blue hair, rudeness. There are people out there with such an arrogant sense of entitlement that they think it's OK to 'analyse' anyone different from themselves, negatively. It's pathetic really.

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  3. I get less hassle now than I did when I was wearing stripy tights, but it does seem to be increasing as the popularity of "vintage" (whatever that is) increases. People think they have the monopoly on style, or even on what constitutes "vintage".

    They are stupid and rude. End of.

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