I often feel alone in my passion for all things vintage, and have trouble explaining to others exactly what fascinates me so much about life 70+ years ago. So I was thrilled to find a series of videos on YouTube by German vlogger Lilly Jarlsson, whose view on vintage vs.modern lifestyles frequently resonates with my own.
In this video Lilly explains what attracts her about the vintage lifestyle. Starting at around 7:35 on the video, she talks about modern manners vs. vintage manners, and manages to express a concept I’ve stumbled over:
“Politeness is a different thing from being good, being right and being able to determine right from wrong. So of course that was always a problem in every decade of our world, and since you’re a human being whenever you were born, you have a personal responsibility of deciding if you want to be good or bad. This is something that has nothing to do with the style or the decade or the political situation. I think that at one point a person has the possibility of deciding who and what you want to be. So this is definitely something I don’t want to sugar-coat too much, the times back then. I believe every time has its good and its bad sides as well as our world today.”
She also broaches the topic of people who make fun of those who are out of step with the modern world:
“This group of people will always find something, even if you’re “normal” in other people’s eyes, that they can take as a reason to bully you or mock you. If it’s not the vintage style, they’ll find something else that they don’t like and that they have to use as a reason against you. You don’t have to swallow everything. Of course life is cruel and people are cruel and there will always be mocking and ridicule, no matter how old you get, but I think it’s important to understand that you have a right to live, in a free society, where you decide who and what you want to be.”
If you enjoy vintage style, especially from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s, check out Lilly Jarlsson’s YouTube channel for inspiration.
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.
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.
*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 please, thank you, excuse me, and you’re welcome.
*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?