Tuesday, 3 July 2012

My Take on the Vintage Backlash.

There have been various bloggers lately who have posted about why they wear Vintage and how they feel about it going mainstream. I have posted some long and rambling replies to some of these posts, apologies if I filled your comments box with randomness!
It made me think about the subject to such a degree that when I woke up at 5.15am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep again *weeps* I started to write a post on the subject in my head. Of course I don't remember it word for word now, (I do know it was brilliant, witty and incisive) so instead you have my half remembered off at a tangent version.

Vintage is the biggest thing since sliced bread if the papers and women's glossies are to be believed. It is of the moment and even downmarket weeklies are telling you how to shop and where.

There has been much discontent in the world of vintage at this news. There are those who are spitting feathers over the very thought that some little twinkie who usually shops at New Look is suddenly going to be browsing the rails of their beloved vintage stores. There are those who have ACTUALLY STOPPED WEARING 1940's or 50's originals in disgust at the fact they are now trendy!?! I kid you not! Personally I think theirs is mental behaviour but of course it is their choice.

My take on it? I guess the fact that I am not a vintage purist means I was never going to have a violent reaction anyway, but I say live and let live. If there is some young person out there who up until this point had been following friends into Topshop like a sheep, that has suddenly discovered a passion for well made original clothes then I say the current trend is well worth it!

 The only things that irritate me?

 I really don't get why cupcakes are vintage. Cupcakes have only existed in the UK for a few years, if we were being authentic British we would have fairycakes and butterfly cakes!
That being said stick a cake and a cup of tea in front of me and I will soon be distracted from my irritation......Mmmm cake.

The other thing that does drive me mad is when people get their facts wrong!?! Do your freaking reasearch, that's your job and it's not hard.

Oh and people who call every kind of floral vaguely teadress looking frock on Ebay 'Vintage'. It's not vintage dear it's on sale in Primark for £10 even as we speak.

and that the prices of vintage and retro have gone sky high - Bah.

Other than that I am sanguine. This current trend will pass and then 'The Vintage Elite' will be able to go back to swaning around like queen bees and being bitchy about people in repro clothing instead of hissing at the world in general.
Harsh? but oh so fair!
There are some real stuck up bitches in the vintage world, who won't deign to acknowlege someone who is in the wrong type of frock or who is not purist enough for them except to be rude about them. At the end of the day all they do is allienate themselves from some wonderful people so they are the losers. I know who I would rather be friends with because there really are some lovely, lovely people in the vintage scene too.

As for me? I fall firmly into the repro wearing non-purist camp. For a start I am 5ft 11" and a size 14-16 (depending where I shop), with very little in the bust department and absolutely no waist. Quite frankly finding original frocks from the eras I love that actually fit me is nothing short of miraculous!

On top of that I have been a heavy metal fan for the last 30 years and my rock chick habit is going nowhere! Hand on heart whilst I love to dress to the nines on occasion I think I am always going to be more comfortable in my fishnets and biker boots. On that note, unlike some, I have no problem with the fact clothes that I used to wear, or that are still hang in my wardrobe are now 'vintage'. The passing of time is the one damn thing you can do nothing about, so live with it!
   (Genuine 1980's baby - If these boots could talk oh my word the stories they could tell!)

I will never be a vintage purist simply because I love clothes. I always have and I always will. I still get a thrill seeing the new seasons arrivals each year so I can't tie myself to one era. I couldn't even choose a favourite era if I tried because I love different clothes from every single one.


  1. Thank you , thank you , thank you for making me laugh out loud (such an over used phrase but I really did), nod my head so much I almost butted the screen, tut at the purists (in reality I bet they would have HATED the fashion the first time around) and sigh with relief that I am not the only person who has been scratching her head over this.

    I believe that everybody should be allowed to express themselves in whatever way they choose, be that through clothes, music or whatever. I love "vintage" clothes but I wouldn't dream of only wearing vintage. I hate that the prices are rocketing thanks to people like Mary Portas (or whatever her name is) but I love that people are starting to really think about where they are spending their money and that people are able to say I bought this in a charity shop without the threat of ridicule or embarrassment.

    Brilliant post, you just made my night.

  2. Oh, you are wonderful! I couldn't agree more. I don't give a damn what's trendy right now. The way I see it: If there are loads of people who are interested in vintage, it means I have more people to talk to about the subject and more people to shop with. I don't wear repro usually, only because I can buy the real stuff cheaper but if I spot a cute top at Target on sale, you bet I'll buy it- vintage or not! :) It's kind of awesome that vintage is big right now because you can walk into any store or online site and find something vintage-y. When I go out in public, people understand and admire my style because they are exposed to it. Nothing wrong with that!! I've been to a warehouse filled to the brim with vintage clothes so I can assure the worried parties out there: there is plenty of vintage to go around. When the trend passes, the young things who follow what the media says will be donating their vintage to the thrift shops and we can all gather it up and add it to our closets. :)

  3. ps. where are those first brown shoes from? They are AMAZING!!!

  4. You are hilarious! I've read a few comments on "vintage blogs" from girls young enough to be my daughters almost claiming to have invented the genre 'cos they've been wearing it for 5 years. I couldn't give a toss what people wear as long as they're happy and leave me alone. Give me them cowboy boots! x

  5. What a great heartfelt post. You know im a vintage loving girl but im certainly not bitchy with it. For me i love the style and the shapes and the freedom and the history that attaches itself to items and clothes from the past. I wouldn't have a clue what is in fashion and to be honest that does't interest me. I think everyone has a right to wear what ever they want to and what makes them feel lovely and beautiful if thats vintage or modern it really doesn't matter. The only thing that has bothered me are the prices of vintage clothes now in chairty shops for the likes of me who has been wearing it for years it does upset me. But that is life and it will all die down again so to speak im sure. dee x

  6. I love that this kept you awake. I hope you sleep better now it is out :)

    I am not really a fan of the word vintage - because I don't like being associated with a trend. I have been dressing this way for about 5 years - and with the sudden explosion of interest - even good friends of mine, who have known me for years, assume I love things like burlesque & victory rolls. There is nowt wrong with those things - but that's never been me, so why would it be me now it is mainstream? Very odd. This does not make me elitist - it just doesn't sit right with me.

    So I have started using the word "retro" instead - even changing the name of my shop. It is unfortunate that "vintage" is used as a keyword on things like ebay - I guess ppl want to get their items sold. I do feel for the non primark sellers - as their stuff gets lumped in.

    Don't get me started on cupcakes.

    Fab post :)

  7. I couldn't agree more! I have too many interests to squeeze myself into one tiny pigeonhole, and I know there are definitely some bloggers out there who will only deign to acknowledge you if you're into exactly the same clothes as them. I've unfollowed the snotty ones! And cupcakes - GAHHH! I'd also rather stick pins in my eyes than listen to most 'vintage' inspired music - I don't have any interest in red lipsticked trios of ladies - XFM all the way for me! It's fine if other people like it, but not my cup of tea (that's apparently essential too!)

  8. It always irks me a tad how slapdash-idly the word "vintage" gets tossed around. It seems an item need only be a week old, and no longer in stock at whatever high street shop it came from, to be dubbed vintage these days. To me the word vintage describes items that came from the years between 1910 and 1960 ('65 at the very latest), not garments I wore as a youngster in the 80s and 90s! These are, to my mind, retro (at best), and should be dubbed such.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this multi-faceted topic with us, I really enjoyed this reading this post and nodding my way (in agreement) through much of it.

    ♥ Jessica

  9. I can't afford to be a purist and I also can't afford repro clothing, I am lacking in the purse content department .. I know it keeps bursting open but it's due to all the coppers I have in there!

    I do not like the fact that the sweet little fairy cake is called a cupcake over here. The wee ones are fairy cakes, the huge ones are cupcakes. I make them because they are yummy and I have a husband to feed and cupcakes go further than fairy cakes! I don't make them because they're ahem 'vintage', I think that's just the comeback shall we say, of afternoon tea.

    The only really old music I listen to is Glenn Miller, I really don't like The Andrews Sisters or any of that close harmony female trio type music, I find it irritating. I also don't listen to psychobilly or any of those bands featuring tattooed women playing double bass with Betty Page hair and a platinum streak.

    As an aside, I used to listen to a lot of LA glam, hee.

  10. Well done! I agree totally. When I started blogging I followed the hardcore vintage girls, but I found them far too elitist, then I met you lot, who are older and wiser and mostly hilarious! You lot talk to me! I started shopping secondhand because I had no money, literally none, combined with an almost autistic obsession with any non contemporary music created the monster you see today. I just can't be arsed to be pure vintage, I think maybe I'll start calling myself eccentric.
    Also if you ask older people about the clothes they used to wear you can be damn sure they didn't have cherry and swallow prints.

    Ps: I'm making it all about vol u vents instead of cupcakes

  11. LOVE this post, it couldn't be more true. The fact is I too cannot afford the prices of the vintage pieces I find,(AND like, AND that are in my size). This is the reason I sew. As long as I'm happy and comfortable in what I wear I really couldn't give a damn about other peoples negativity.

  12. Oh yeah! I'm fed up of the word vintage being bandied about to sell just about everything.I also get naffed off that vintage is all abot Forties and Fifties and anything else is seen as fancy dress.
    I couldn't afford to dress wholly in vintage pieces and to be frank I don't want to. I like to mix lots of things together, make lots of things and wear what I like.

    Oh and fairy cakes it is.xx

  13. So agree with your post Miss M and with the above comments. I dress the way I do because its what I like not because I want to be 'on trend'. If someone whats to live the complete 40s lifestyle, that's cool by me, but likewise if someone wants to mix and match and borrow a bit from each decade and wear old with new, that's cool by me too. I hate the way that the 'vintage scene' can be too precious and that it sometimes appears to be elitist or clique-y.

    Back in the 80s, wearing 'secondhand' was seen as anti-fashion, and I would happily wear an Edwardian camisole with black lycra jeans. Ahhh, those heavy metal glory days.....

    P.S. I've got a pair of black cowboy boots that I brought in the 80s too.

  14. What a well-written post!!! Love this and I could not agree more! I first started wearing vintage in high school (19-20 years ago) and even though I stopped for a long time, I never lost sight of my vintage lust. I may have worn Old Navy and Gap for a time but I always wore my cat eye glasses too.

    When I lost 33 pounds almost 7 years ago, I decided to reclaim 'my vintage self' and as a result, I began collecting and wearing vintage daily. I got "my feet wet" with vintage repro like Stop Staring and Hearbreaker Fashion but after a while, vintage became the bulk of my wardrobe. However, I do love Freddies of Pinewood, Rocket Originals, Trashy Diva, and Nicole Katherine, Remix Vintage Shoes, and Miss L Fire! I also like the odd cardigan and/or top from Target or H&M.

    If I am out and about, people will ask me if I "watch Mad Men" or if I "liked that Pan Am show." I assume they are asking me because they assume I dress this way due to this vintage trend. Whether it's on telly or in the stores, vintage is popular right now.

    I, for one, will never change my look because of some annoyance with the fact the average person is 'jumping on the vintage band wagon.' What I do or how I dress is no way connected with most people do. I do not care. I think it would be a waste of time to be worried about what others do or chose to wear. If you like a style, go for it!

  15. Great post. I've also noticed some vintage-snobbery round and about and I'm not even a vintage-wearer. It often makes me giggle that some of these vintage purists think they're being so unique and that they've got the monopoly on the vintage style, however people have been working the vintage style for decades, before most of these people were involved in the scene. Honestly, some people need to get a grip or find something more important in their life to worry about.