Apr 29, 2012
Hello *waves* personal blog time, of sorts. If I had a pound every time I have been asked why I wear vintage rather than sticking to mainstream fashions and trends I wouldn’t be having to eBay half of my wardrobe this summer (actually this is no biggie. I need SPACE) Recently with the round of book interviews, I have given this a bit more thought. I’m getting philosophical in my old age. I’ve summed it up in three main points
No 1 BECAUSE IT MAKES ME HAPPY.
Yes it does. I don’t do this for anyone other than me. 99% of my friends are the same. This is probably why most of us are single (jokes ladies!) On the aesthetic side it can be elegant and lady-like or it can be brash, pop-ish and fun. It’s always creative. Personally these days I embrace both. I dress according to my moods. This summer I can’t get enough of my white peg leg 90’s jeans with fluo green and yellow perfume bottle motif, but I will still be dressing as a 50’s beach babe at every opportunity (COME ON SUN!). Shopping is much more of a pleasure, there is ALWAYS the adrenaline buzz that comes with discovery at the right price. I like wearing clothes that no one else has. It gives me a kick. In the background there is also a community with camaraderie, and a mutual understanding of what makes us tick. It’s like a secret handshake, only really it’s a nod of appreciation instead. People I have met who love their old clothes will always be happy to talk about them to a fellow enthusiast. I have met less than 5 people who were utterly horrendous, boorish snobs. Vintage is always an investment. High street is rarely. I enjoy the escapism, the fantasy. It pulls me out of lows, enhances the highs. I have always been attractive to ‘different’. My first and longest love was thanks to a masculine and liberal application of eyeliner and silver nail varnish. As a young child I loved dressing up in my mother’s feather trimmed dresses and 80’s body con cast offs. I had a pink fake fur coat and used to wear it with a white swimming costume adorned with a giant gold star I pinched from the Christmas tree (I was 7, and faintly precocious). In my teens I secretly swanned around in my grandmothers 30’s bias cut evening gowns. As far as I can remember extraordinary clothes have always made me feel warm, and oddly safe. This is why I chose to become a personal shopper. Nothing pleases me more than someone else experiencing that tingle. I always try and guide my clients via informed choices, not dictate what they should buy. Otherwise the magic is lost.
No2 BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE PRESSURE (…..and maybe a bit of rebellion)
Here is where I dig out the tiny violin. I spent most of my formative years trying to fit in. I went to 6 schools in 3 countries and the only survival technique was to identify as quickly as possible how to seamlessly blend in with the crowd you wanted to be part off. This meant you got invited to parties and picked at games. If you were in the right group boys paid attention. This may have led to a small nervous breakdown aged 24 when I realised I had continued to do this well into adulthood and had no idea who I was as a person. It was always a competition to see who had managed to infiltrate as much Moschino or Calvin Klein into their school uniform. I remember girls reeling off lists of what designer items they owned like it was some roll call of achievement, and they weren’t even the embassy kids or heiresses (my brother was too busy chatting them up). My mother, having been brought up by ‘Vintage’ gran on a spartan but forward thinking diet of cast offs that were second hand many owners ago, was having none of it. The most I got was Kookai, Caterpillar and Morgan (this was early 90’s France I hasten to add) There is nothing lamer than being made to feel inadequate because of your clothes. Yes, these days I am seduced by designer vintage but if you are buying diffusion brand t-shirts at £70 a pop, at any age, you should really wake up and smell the sweat shop. I still remember those school days with a shudder of horror.
No3 BECAUSE I CAN.
Here is why I may get a bit preachy, I think we should all just shut up and let each other get on with it. Seriously, can we please do that? Women are being attacked with acid for supposedly being too ‘vain’ and young men are being rounded up and killed in Syria due to the link between western trends and homosexuality. We don’t all have the freedom of choice. We do though, and it’s for exactly this reason that I respect any kind of look. I don’t like bitching about anyone. Each to their own. Recently the facebook page of a well known festival posted a picture of a group of ladies at Aintree with a searing caption. Wouldn’t they look better if they attended their event and wore vintage? Fnarr fnarr, aren’t we better than everyone else? Well no, actually. This kind of attitude gives vintage a bad name. Quite rightly, it experienced a back lash. You know those Aintree gals? Kudos to them for putting it out there. It may not be to my taste but I respect their decisions. Live and let live. Funnily enough there have long been murmurs that the only difference between that look and a vintage one is a paler foundation and a redder lipstick. Fake eyelashes, fake nails? Tick, tick. Scouse brow? We have been doing that for ages….. probably nicked it off the Cholas and their sharpie pen brows. Ditto to the hipsters, or any kind of music related fashion sub genre. In fact anyone who dresses to please themselves should be left alone.
Is there warrant for critique and mild snobbery? Sometimes. Another badly styled Daily Mail article proclaiming Rihanna to be dressed in a 40’s style when it’s nothing of the sort makes everyone’s teeth grind. I have the utmost respect for those who can pull together a 100% original era specific look and at some events that is de rigour. Vintage may be about dressing fancy but it’s not about fancy dress. Wearing a joke shop afro or stick on ‘tach aint going to cut the mustard anywhere. Those who spend so long getting it just right deserve respect (I certainly do not have the skill or dedication). There is also a need to weed out the opportunists trying to flog Primark as vintage. Overall I very rarely see this in an unjustified capacity.
There are a million other reasons why people chose this path. I’ve known people who wear vintage for the ecological benefit, because of a fetish or to keep a family connection alive. Feel free to tell me yours in the comments.