A Sparkling Vintage Life


diana  haircut

The Princess Diana phase

When I have an idle hour, I love to troll vintage-themed blogs. One of my favorites is Jessica Cangiano’s Chronically Vintage. While dropping by one day, I was inspired by this guest post (by Seanna over at SeannaApproved) to think about why I am so strongly attracted to vintage clothing, decor, pop culture, and everything else. I’ve been mulling this question for quite some time without a clear answer, but a few thoughts have floated to mind.

winged victory

Winged Victory, circa 1978

During my lifetime I have cycled through the usual, often cringeworthy, fashion trends of A Woman My Age: Farrah Fawcett wings Aqua-Netted from here to Sunday; Princess Di haircut over a navy blue suit with a little foulard tie; ripped sweatshirts and legwarmers à la Flashdance, etc., etc. I came to love vintage rather late, but when I did, it felt like coming home.

That said, I should probably clarify (confess?) that I’m not all-vintage-all-the-time. I wish I were. But sometimes it’s hard to find flattering authentic vintage clothes to suit my, er, generous proportions (reproductions are another matter–those are easier to find in larger sizes). Some styles are hard to wear without looking too costumey. I lean toward vintage touches…a string of pearls here, a cameo there, a cheerful apron in the kitchen, a hat just for fun. So if you’re picturing me swathed head to toe in a Fortuny gown or an Edwardian riding habit (iwishiwishiwish!), I’m afraid I must puncture that little thought bubble. Still, if I dressed 100% true to what new-age gurus call my Authentic Self, there’d be a lot less grungewear in my closet and a lot more chiffon.

Okay, with all that out of the way, here’s what I’ve figured out so far. I LIKE VINTAGE BECAUSE:

*I love cotton–the kind of polished cotton that feels so heavenly and crisps right up under a hot iron. (Did you know that there is a perfume called Warm Cotton? Laugh if you want, but clearly it’s not just me.)

*I love darts. Modern clothing replaces darts (which are costlier to manufacture) with stretchy, clingy fabrics unkind to the mature figure. For a squiggly shape like mine, darts are the bee’s knees.

*I love antique slang like “the bee’s knees.” So much of the modern vernacular is vulgar and does violence to the ears and the heart.

*”Vulgar” is one of those words that’s fallen into disuse and should be dusted off now and then.

*Other dusty words that need to be pulled down from the attic and given a thorough airing: dignified, ladylike, modest.

Attempting a classical portrait while stifling a giggle.

Antithesis of a badass b*tch

*With vintage styles, it’s okay to have a mature figure, a rounded figure, a flat figure. Vintage fashion magazines recognize this fact. Modern fashion magazines declare “thin is in and stout is out,” full stop. Very disheartening.

*Vintage clothing manages to be feminine without being overtly sexy. Of course, there’s overtly sexy, too, if that’s your thing, but it’s not mine. So many modern clothes look either mannish or vampish. Makes a woman look tough, coarse, and jaded, somehow. World-weary. Whatever happened to just plain pretty?

*You may have realized by now that I am not a badass b*tch. In fact, I am the polar opposite of a badass b*tch. When I hear that term offered up as a compliment, and cheerfully accepted as such, I get the vapors.

*I love lace. Especially when it’s handmade, soft, and doesn’t itch.

*I love pearls. Looooooove pearls.

*And white gloves, cameos, and corsages.

*And please, thank you, excuse me, and you’re welcome.

Old_Letter*It breaks my heart to hear kids won’t be taught cursive writing anymore. How on earth will they write love letters? You can’t tie up texts with a satin ribbon and put them in a box with a lavender sachet, and pull them out on some rainy afternoon and reminisce.

*The place in my heart that breaks for the demise of cursive writing is the same place that sings for vintage.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure more reasons will occur to me. I’ll try to get more precise. In the meantime,¬† what about you?

Are you a fan of vintage styles?

If so, why?

If not, why not?