I don’t know if I chose the vintage lifestyle, or if it chose me. As the baby of the family, I always lived a vintage lifestyle in some form or fashion. A child of the mid-80s, I was forever living in hand-me-downs from the 60s and 70s.
My father was a huge history buff with an impeccable sense of style. Every weekend we would travel to consignment shops and thrift stores together, if not to buy something, then to just look and marvel at what was worn and used in yester-years.
My mother was always re-iterating to my sisters and me that when we bought clothes, we should always choose “staple”, or “classic” pieces that could go with everything and anything we had in our closets; this way we would never fall victim to the money- sucking habits linked to following trends.
And then there were the summers where I lived with my grandparents whose home was filled with cuckoo clocks, rotary telephones, and records from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Holidays were filled with the sounds of Nat King Cole, Cole Porter, and Sammy Davis Jr.
All of these elements combined, and vintage was just a natural progression for me. I was groomed to live a vintage life.
For today’s post in DEAR ELLA, I’ve decided to discuss how I got into the vintage lifestyle by answering frequently asked questions I’ve received from others over the years.
1.) What attracted you to the vintage lifestyle?
As I mentioned above, I’ve always been surrounded by vintage-esque things in one way or another, but what drew me to make it a part of my life was based on a few things:
Classic: While today’s fashions might come and go, there are some clothes or décor that just stand the test of time. Even nowadays, I see people wearing styles from the 40s to the 90s.
Affordable: There’s nothing better than walking into a thrift store and scoring a timeless piece of furniture, or some obscure oil painting of a dog hunting with its owner (I may own this), or any timeless piece for that matter, that also won’t break the bank.
Unique: Let’s face it, the vintage style will make you stand out in a crowd. There aren’t too many people out there walkin’ the streets who are wearing pillbox hats or power suit jackets with strong shoulder pads from the early 80s. Furthermore, walking into my home is like a time warp and a sanctuary to get away from the chaos that modernity sometimes brings.
Simplicity: This reason is quite relative, really. I have plenty of “modern” style friends who live minimalist lives; who barely use a smartphone or even own a laptop (yes, there are those like this who exist!) while some of my “vintage” friends have hundreds of chachkies scattered everywhere in their homes.
For me, however, “Vintage” has always been synonymous with simplicity for the sheer fact that it gives me a break from always being “plugged” into the rapid changes of society. Ironically, however, here I am plugged in and posting away! I guess there are some things in our modern world I can’t do without:)
2.) Do you ever wear “modern” style clothes?
Sure do! Although I don’t prefer it, there are those days when I just need to throw something on and get out the door. Then there are other days when I’ll wear “modern” clothes but incorporate vintage “accents” to my outfit. For example, I might wear one of my grandmother’s brooches, or wrap my head in a vintage headscarf style, or might wear my hair in a certain vintage style, while the rest of my outfit is in a “modern” style.
3.) How do people react towards you when they see you in vintage attire?
When people in a cosmopolitan city like New York City stare……then you KNOW you stand out! Here’s the reality, not everyone “gets” it. Not everyone understands why I look the way I do and frankly, they don’t need to. I haven’t had any “negative” comments hurled towards me, per se, but I get stared at.
But then there are those moments when people will randomly stop me on the street and tell me how “classy” I look, or how they wish more people nowadays would dress like me. I say, “thank you” and move on about my day. The good always outweighs the bad.
4.) Doesn’t living a vintage lifestyle as a woman mean you’re approving of the “roles” women were expected to play decades ago?
“Were”? You mean we’re not still expected to assume those roles? Just kidding….(well, kind of). My practice of the vintage lifestyle has mostly been for aesthetics, but the answer to this question is better suited for a future post, so I will address it then.
5.) What do you enjoy the most about living a vintage lifestyle?
Well, let me be clear; different vintage people practice the vintage lifestyle differently. There are some who prefer not to get all wrapped up in our modern society, while there are others who “dress” the part but still enjoy the rapid changes of an evolving society. I’m somewhere in between the two.
6.) How did you decide on your vintage style?
Although I ebb and flow between decades, the 1930s and 40s have always caught my eye. Something about the tailoring and color blocking and “put-togetherness” of it all I’ve always found attractive.
On occasions, however, I get a “feeling”, a “sensation” that creeps over me that makes me say to myself, “I feel very 60s today”, or “I think I’m going to go 90s today.” I’m sure some of you vintage lovers out there know what I mean and have felt similarly.
In my post titled How to Choose the Perfect Vintage Silhouette I explain in more detail about the process behind finding your vintage style and how to make it suit you so you pull off a more authentic look. You can also check out my post on 10 ways You Can Start Building Your Vintage Wardrobe Today where I discuss ways on how you can build or expand your vintage style.
Well, that about sums it up for now. I’d love to learn about your own personal style.
-What made you interested in the vintage lifestyle? And if you’re not a vintag(y) type person, what kind of (life)style do you enjoy?
– How is it represented in your daily life?
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