|I have been distant.|
I have been reading blogs however, especially some interesting ones about 'why I dress this way' (or 'why wear vintage?') from some fab bloggers:
Suzie Q for Retro Chick
So, I thought I would ease back into my blogging regime by going on about my favourite subject: me. (My mother, who has recently started reading this blog, will no doubt have read that last sentence in the Zippy From Rainbow voice she reserves for when I am explaining oh-so-reasonably why I should get first dibs on anything going... ).
|What I imagine I look like.|
"Contents may differ from those advertised."
I suppose I should start by explaining that in my case, the question isn't so much 'why do you wear vintage?' as 'why do you dress like an explosion in a charity shop?'. Yes, I do collect, own and wear 'proper' vintage, but I also have an active interest in current fashions - especially indie and street styles. I've always been clearly identifiable as someone with a different style to the norm, and a retro edge to a greater or lesser extent however I have always been pretty eclectic to the extent that I might even look like a modern 'rock chick' in vintage items, or look very vintage in 100% modern clothes.
So why do I wear my style?
The first reason is simply aesthetic. I've always been interested in theatre and design, culture and history. The way things look have impacted on my clothing choices, be it in terms of colour, shape or style. I enjoy bright and over the top designs- kawaii, psychedelic, rock-n-roll and even Gothic revival to name but a few. Unfortunately I can't actually draw or make anything of worth that isn't edible - this was evident even in my childhood when my twin sister would use the oven to fire Fimo models of cakes*, and I would use it to make actual cakes - so I use clothes and make up instead. And I like sequins.
Additionally, we do have the twin thing. Some twins want to dress the same, some really, really don't. Sis and I fall into the second category and from the age of six were of the opinion that matching anyone else was the height of moosylon**. My sister went with guitars, band-t-shirts and eyeliner as a teen, so I went with disco, brightly coloured shoes and glitter nailpolish. Naturally.
In terms of preferred eras, I slightly fell into mine. I have always loved 60s-70s grass-roots aesthetics (be it Swinging London, Mods or plain old kitsch suburban lifestyle), so the clothes appealed. I've also got a penchant for disco and retro pop. Oh, and did I mention the liking sequins? When I was a teenager in the 1990s, 60s and 70s 'retro' was trendy (in the same way, I suppose, as 80s-90s is now) and could be picked up very reasonably from jumble sales, charity shops and even Camden Market. Imagine Camden being very reasonable nowadays!
|Can you believe I got hassle from 50s |
fans for this dress at 'Vintage 2011'?
I did try for the currently fashionable mid-century 'pin up' look. And felt... well, like many vintage folk seem to feel in mainstream. It just wasn't 'me'. Lots of people look amazing in it, and enjoy it, but I just wasn't feeling it myself. Unless it's rockabillied or kitsched up enough to turn me right back into an indie-n-rock-girl - which is, to my mind, something else. Certainly not classic or cupcake mid century. Fail. So I went back to 'bad' vintage (and yes, I've heard of 70s, crimp and Peter Pan collars being described as 'bad' vintage on t'interweb several times) and indie/kitsch. Bad vintage girl that I am.
|I only do cupcake prom dresses|
in leopard print, innit.
I also enjoy modern fashion- albeit with sequins, of course- and for many years I happily mixed vintage, second hand and high street. Being a bit older and more grown up now, I yearn for better quality and longer lasting items. This has led to an increase in the plain old second hand shopping- as distinct from hunting for underpriced retro- for two reasons. The first is obviously, if I go to a charity shop in an affluent area I can pick up high-quality modern items- to be mixed with my retro wardrobe- for less than their retail value; the second is that by saving on various items by sourcing them cheaply, I can save up for the Selfridges sale and treat myself to something designer.
|N.B. Comfort rule does not apply to shoes.|
My final reason is that I like to feel comfortable in my clothes. I'm not one for fantasy narratives about how people dressed in the past (e.g. of course, women never wore 'trousers' in the 1950s... but they did wear 'slacks'). So many of these cupcake-vintage-snob-stereotypes just don't stand up to historical scrutiny, but more importantly, they impose rules which impinge upon my enjoyment and choice. I find some vintage forums bizarrely frustrating; full of people saying they wear vintage because there are fewer rules than modern fashion, then imposing a draconian set of rules themselves. No thanks! I am happy to mix-and-match to create a more eclectic style. Not an 'entry level' style, not someone who is afraid to go purist, but someone who likes the eclectic, combined look. It just works for me.
*About 20 years ahead of the crafting trend for mini-food. Well done sis!
**Twin language: informal abstract noun/adjective, the condition of being gawkish, poorly co-ordinated and ill dressed. e.g. 'He has NHS beakers [glasses] with sellotape and he just fell off his sister's Princess bike, that's so moosylon, innit.'