Thoughts on why I wear vintage

In the last few weeks I’ve had too much time on my hands and have gone all deep and meaningful with regards to my feelings on vintage.  So watch out there are a few of these kind of posts coming!
So the all important question- why do I wear vintage?
For me this is a multi-layered question as my desire to wear vintage stems from many sources.
For me this is the defining reason why I wear vintage. I love the fact that something isn’t new and has already lived a life before it comes to you. I am an obsessive researcher, and given the chance I will research ANYTHING (zip manufacturers, fabrics, finishing techniques…anything). A single vintage garment can offer me so many avenues for research, and also so many stories for me to pass on. As someone who is quite shy I always find that your clothes can be a great talking point, and my own, sometimes outrageous vintage choices often provided me with something to talk about.

This little number ended up being a great one to research after i found the original advertisement, you can read about it here
Re-creating lost bonds with the past
For me it has a lot to do with the fact that none of my family every really kept their clothes from the past, and it seems to be a way of recapturing my own family history by acquiring things that link back to their past.
My fathers side of the family have long been involved in the textile trade (see this anecdotal post about my granddad) and my Granddad worked for the tailor Hector Powe  (where he met my Nanna) and also briefly for Frank Usher in the 50s, I think this deep seated bond (and the fact that I never really asked my granddad about this connection before he died) makes me feel a need to recapture my families own past. My Nanna in particular always gets excited when I turn up with my latest vintage finds, especially those from the 40s and 50s when she was a young woman. I love the way too that this seems to jog her memory and then I hear (often hilarious and touching) stories from her younger years.

My wonderful Nanna and her sister in the 1940s
Dressing differently

Aged 7 with mother Tree…i have distinct memories of being DESPERATE for this alphabet print wrap top : )

A typical look for me aged 14…not vintage but this was my kind of random style. I can’t find a full length pic of this outfit but it was a blue and pink stripy polo shirt, white gypsy skirt, TONS of beads and converses. Happy memories.

Another typical look and a very vintage styled dress aged 14

Aged 13 and another of my former favourite dresses. I still have this one somewhere…

When I first started wearing vintage I think the desire to dress differently  was my main reason for getting into it I remember vividly the sneaky trips up to brick lane when I was 14 or 15 to go and visit the vintage shops. My first purchases were all small the odd blouse or dress but I think it was when I was 17 that the desire to wear vintage really kicked in. This was all because of the search for the elusive “may ball” dress. My dress was SENSATIONAL. And I think most of my reason for choosing it was this desire to look different, and not like everyone else.  Over 4 years on it is still one of my most prized possessions (partly due to the memories attached to it from both my may ball and my freshers ball at uni which I also wore it to) and something I would never let go of.

The elusive May Ball dress back in 2008- again no full length pics of the front of it…apologies!

This isn’t a vital part of wearing vintage, but at a time when I am having to sell large chunks of my collection it is something at the forefront of my mind. The sort of vintage I tend to wear (mostly 40s and 50s) is currently hot property and therefore rather than loosing money when I sell my items on after a few wears I often make money. This is something with buying new that cannot be achieved.
In terms of money it is also my LOVE of a bargain. Although I have been known on more than one occasions to squander over £200 on a vintage dress it is more often than not my dresses picked up for pennies which have a great story behind them that I love the most. 

A legendary “pennies” purchase St. Michael Marks and Spencer 1950s skirt purchased for £5 many moons ago.

Final thoughts

But most importantly for me vintage isn’t about pidgeonholing myself into a particular era or trying to religiously recreate a look. Yes, i primarily wear clothes from the 50s but i’m not trying to recreate the past, i’m not a re-enactor and I’m not wearing fancy dress. Vintage for me is a “tool” for creating my desired look. It offers me the chance to express myself in a different way and also i tend to feel much more comfortable in vintage clothes than i do new. 

The key thing i always think about when dressing is to dress in a way that makes YOU feel comfortable. I love vintage, and that is what makes me feel most “me”, vintage is an expression of my own love of history, femininity and textile design, but equally if something new is beautifully cut and designed i can love it just as much!

Outfit worn for my Summer ball last week. 50s dress worn with a Tatty Devine necklace and Zara shoes. Nice mix : )

So, that’s a few thoughts into why I wear vintage. Inspired a lot by Charlotte of Tuppence Hapenny’s  recent blog post which you can read here.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on why I wear vintage

  1. What a wonderful well written post. I related so much to what i just read. Vintage is the same for me and why i love it so much because it holds so many memories of peoples past but by coming into my hands and heart i am leaving my own memories in it to. dee x

  2. Great post and I completely agree- your reasoning is incredibly similar to mine (without the family history of textiles!) I also uphold and applaud the values present throughout much of the 40s and 50s- I'm not niaive enough to think every housewife was happy, but there was definitely a values set which has been lost in todays fast fad, fast fashion, throw away mentality. I'm also incredibly pleased for you that with your figure you can wear original 40s and 50s dresses- for the rest of us it's vintage repro!!! xXx

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