Tuesday 13 December 2011

Living the vintage lifestyle?

This is something I have been thinking about, from time to time, since I started this blog. When reading this thread at The Fedora Lounge about what it is that attracts you to the vintage areas, I started to think about it again.

First of all; what is a vintage lifestyle? I suspect that it is very different depending on who you ask. Is it to try to really live as if you were living in the past? Or just to adopt the visual markers when it comes to your clothes and home. Or just to adopt some of them to create a vintage feel to your outfit? So I will refrain from trying to define it, especially as I don’t even have a clear definition made up in my own mind. I don’t think I live it, though. I have no wish to live my life after the standards of the 1940’s and I don’t look back with rose-tinted glasses either. I wouldn’t want to live 70 years in the past in a decade when a war was fought for the first part and the last part still reeled from it. Nor do I hanker for a time where men where men and women and women (and possibly little green furry creatures from Alpha Centauri was little green furry creatures from Alpha Centauri). If I had lived back then I would probably have been a middle class housewife and I most certainly don’t want to be a housewife, it is not a lifestyle for me. I work full time and so does my darling and when it comes to household chores we share that pretty equally. So no, I can’t say that I live a vintage way of life. I’m fine with being a modern Millie when it comes to my day to day life.

Clothes then? Well, do I dress 1940’s style each and every day? The answer to that is no as well. One of the reasons I started this project was that my wardrobe badly needed an overhaul and after having a lifelong attraction to the fashion of the forties I liked the idea of giving my wardrobe that flair, but my wardrobe doesn’t solely exist on such clothes. I’m not completely faithful the 1940’s either, I’m also very drawn to the fifties and especially my party clothes have a distinct fifties flair. I would say though, that I generally dress “vintagy”. I always wear dresses and skirts and practically live in cute cardigans for work. I like stockings and high heels and curling my hair. I almost never go without my red lipstick.

There is a discussion that crops up now and then in regard of dressing in a vintage style. There are people who think that you only do it right if you solely dress in actually vintage clothes. For some reason they are very often anonymous and leave catty replies to people who don’t come up to that standard. It is a type of people who, I think, can be found everywhere, people who makes a narrow definition of what is right and then look down upon those who don’t conform.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m not one of them, especially as I would have a very hard time wearing vintage clothes as they are rarely found in my size. I can admire those who do, though- it takes some time and effort and probably money too, to be able to put together a look solely out of vintage clothes. Me I go for reproductions and what I sew for myself, the important bit is how it looks. The conclusion is that I pick the plums out of my forties cake. I choose the glamour and the stylishness but leave out the hardships.

Of course I’m not being very original in my views- there are a lot of great blog posts out there on a similar vein, like this post by Fleur.
Vintage vs. Reproduction.
Retro Chic discusses The meaning of vintage and What is “vintage” anyway?.
And a bit different, but some good advice when going for the vintage look: Vintage caution.

(Picture sources:


Popbabe7 said...

Fascinating article, thanks for your hindsight. I share your views!!

Anna @ Miss Beatrix said...

This is a great post, and I agree that the definition of a 'vintage lifestyle' is a very personal thing. Like you, I dabble, and don't hold with the purists' view that there maybe something we're not doing right. It's fun and about expressing yourself, right and wrong doesn't come into it!
Thanks also for the links to similar topics, going to have a read.

Auntie said...

I totally agree! I love the 'look' and find it suits me, very well. Yes, I can go fishing with my husband while wearing a skirt, much more comfortably than I can try to climb in and out of a boat while wearing pants - especially jeans. Torture divices, as I see them. Also agree with the fedora post admiring the quality and style of thing manufactured in the Mid 20th century. A telephone or a toaster from 1950 still works properly today, even most refrigerators. That said, I'm a BIG fan or air-conditioning, and gladd to have it!

Kristina said...

Wry interesting post.Snobbery is perhaps an attempt to try to create security in a group but it is also a sad proof of the lack of key pieces of understanding and generosity and openness of mind if you feel the need to condemn others' choices. Genuine mature people with good self-esteem refrain from such. Embarrassing really how these people reveal their own shortcomings when they criticize others.

snippa said...

Well expressed. None of us would really want to live in the 1940's if we thought about it. We're lucky we can pick the good parts and leave the rest to history.

Isis said...

Popbabe: Glad you enjoyed it!

Anna " Miss Beatrix: It's fun and about expressing yourself, right and wrong doesn't come into it!
Very well put!

Auntie: I agree- jeans are so uncomfortable in my view!

Isis said...

Kristina: I agree with you! And you find them everywhere, I'm sad to say.

Snippa: Glad you enjoyed reading!

StephaniePumphrey said...

This doesn't begin to hit the mark. When the facets that truly make up a lifestyle are considered, the all-encompassing nature of this term becomes clear.

lifestyle definition

Unknown said...

Found your blog quite by accident, while searching for a Binnie Barnes pic. I spend a lot of my free time watching 40's, film noir. I like the genre and IMHO the fashion of that era was the greatest. My size, zero, also makes dressing vintage very difficult so I've chosen to think vintage. When I'm in a vintage state of mind, I wear suits (matching skirt and jacket) or a wrap around dress and an open sweater. I always, always, always accessorize with a hat, gloves and a clutch. Since I'm short and I don't really like those 40's clunky heels, I go for 4 inch moderns. If I had sufficient finances, I would have all my clothing custom made from what I see in the movies,,, but,,, at least for now, I have to live my life just thinking vintage. I think,,, therefore I am...

Unknown said...

Nice article... Thank you very much

As for me I just had enough of the modern world and I decided to drop out! So I live the past 24/7 and about the only modern indulgence I have is this bleeping computer. (I unlovingly call the computer "my naughty book" and I hide it under my bed.) To be honest the only reason I have my naught book is that it helps me "live in my little world" by letting me work from home.

As I make more friends that share my passion I've found that my life is so much more complete. So despite there being a war I would jump at the opportunity to go back in time and live in the 40s.

Madame Vintage

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