Sunday, 14 February 2016
What Vintage means to me.
I suspect this will be quite a rambling post so apologies in advance. Whilst cooking the bolognese part of a spaghetti bolognese for our dinner tonight I was stirring and pondering what Vintage means to me.
This has been prompted by not only reading a back issue of In Retrospect magazine (yes I was very late to that party! but what a great read it is) and the book I am currently thoroughly enjoying ‘Bang Your Head – The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal by David Konow’ not an obvious link I know, but bear with me!
In the magazine they were discussing whether the 80’s and 90’s should be considered vintage and in the book we have just reached the mid 80’s where metal was becoming huge and outlandish outfits and huge hair were all the rage, and this is where my brain kicked in with it’s thought process
I have made no secret of the fact I was a huge Glam Metal (Hair Metal) fan back in the day like many of my generation on the vintage scene we have come round to vintage via rock, punk or goth.
I was a skint art student who wanted to dress like her favourite bands I couldn’t afford to buy new so I scoured jumble sales and second hand shops. Here I found gold.
My first purchase was a fabulous turquoise satin 1930’s men’s dressing gown, oh how I wish I still owned it now!
I regret to say have no idea what happened to it, I suspect it literally got worn to death but like to think of it making a bid for freedom one night, tired of being covered in spilt beer and fag ash, of being knocked around and sweated on in the mosh pit, it was designed for cocktails and cigarette holders and laughs round the piano after all. I like to think it is genteelly living it up somewhere safe from my mistreating clutches.
Another item was a 1960’s powder blue lace coat that I bought along with it’s matching elegant lace dress in a thrift shop. I loved it, my Mother loathed it, I didn't realise quite how much she loathed it until she admitted many years later to deliberately washing it too hot and shrinking it.
I haven’t a clue what I did with the matching dress and again I curse myself for my lack of forethought in keeping it safely.
Among the items I still own are a tailcoat and matching waistcoat, (now over 100 years old!) a navy pinstripe waistcoat, various white dress shirts and a drawer of accessories.
Delicate elbow length black lace gloves and pretty scarves and shawls of differing ages, all of these items went through the ordeal of pubs and clubs, beer, cigarettes, late night chips and drunken staggers or crawls home. Not what they were designed or made for at all!
Back in the 80’s vintage clothes were in abundance and prices were cheap, I started out buying them because it was all I could afford and ended up loving mixing old and new, studs and bullet belts over Victorian lace was what it was about for many of my friend's at the time.
With hindsight I think that is why I still happily mix it up now, new and repro with genuine vintage, and why I don’t understand the people who have a cow when they see someone dressed that way rather than top to toe genuine pieces.
I recall someone getting their knickers in a twist about girls walking into her vintage shop in head to toe high street their outfit hideously completed in her eyes with a gorgeous vintage bag, she refused to serve them.
I, very politely for me it must be said, pointed out that maybe that person was simply a collector of handbags?
The owner of the store felt the only way to do such a bag justice was to only ever wear the correct era outfit when using it, I disagree, a fabulous outfit from any era, can be finished to perfection with a gorgeous vintage bag, whilst also show off that bag as it deserves to be shown.
I know I’ve mentioned before that even if I did want to dress in true vintage from top to toe my height and girth make it pretty much an impossibility, there weren’t many tall fat women in the 1930’s or 40's and the few that there were didn't wear the kind of frocks I want to wear. I will admit I probably would wear more authentic vintage if I were a teeny tiny but I'm not so there it is.
Yes I love to frock up as much as the next person, but more often than not I’m up to my elbows in a wheelbarrow of compost or cleaning the bath, and frankly jeans and a hoody give me the comfort of movement I require for these tasks,
When I do finally get off my backside I’m very much one for getting stuck in and not worrying if I rip things or cover them in paint or mud.
Also if I’m honest, quite often I simply can't be arsed. I sit here typing now in jeggings and a huge purple jumper. Why? because it’s Sunday, I’m having a lazy day and frankly these were the nearest items to hand when I crawled out of bed this morning. I haven’t even brushed my hair, mind you for some reason I always forget to brush my hair, so that’s not necessarily me being lazy.
I feel I can express myself more wearing a mix of clothes and eras. I know I would feel horribly stilted and trapped were I to dress one way for the rest of my life. I love clothes and fashion (even if you would never guess it from the shambling mess that types before you!) I love reading the blogs I follow and seeing the writers in the amazing vintage they have found, I kind of admire the ones who are true vintage wearers 24/7 but I know it's not for me.
Thus endeth my Sunday ramble, I'm off to do the washing up. Time and Fairy Liquid wait for no woman.