Modern Girl Goes Vintage
This is the sort of outfit I would imagine a “modern” girl wearing, if she were trying to dress in a vintage style. Or the sort of thing that Vogue magazine would style, if they were doing a series on classic styles of the past. It has a sort-of vintage feeling, with the full skirted silhouette, the structured handbag, the classic button down shirt, and even to some extent the head wrap, but at the same time, it feels very inauthentically “vintage”. The style of the shirt, with the contrast placket, the geometrically patterned silk scarf from India, the feather earrings and the strappy sandals, all expose it as a modern ensemble that is pretending to be vintage.
I have come to realize in the past year or so, especially since starting my blog, that I am not a diehard vintage wearer. It sounds kind of bad when I say it like that (especially since this is supposed to be a “vintage” blog, after all) but I think it is completely true of where my style has evolved to. A few years ago, I did the whole vintage thing- every outfit was easily recognizable as a specific era. I wore hats to coordinate with every outfit, and always made sure that my purse and shoes matched. Even when I worked in a hardware store, I would wear 1940’s workwear inspired ensembles, and styled my hair to coordinate. However, in the past year or so, I have started drifting away from that.
Margaret of Denise Brain Vintage recently featured me in a post on her blog, about different kinds of vintage wearers. You should hop over and read both of her posts, here and here, as they are very good reads. When I read her post; I had a revelation! She had completely hit the nail on the head! Her description of my vintage style was spot on correct! (are there any other analogies I can use here? . . .) But really, isn’t it funny how someone else can see so clearly what you haven’t been able to successfully articulate yourself?
I have come to discover, that while I absolutely love styles of the past, and have ever since I was a child, I will never be that person who is always dressed head to toe vintage. Sometimes I just happen to dress in all vintage, or vintage inspired and you can pick out a discernible era, but the majority of the time, I feel most comfortable in clothing that nods towards vintage, but isn’t necessarily representative of one entire era or look. I’ll easily throw a 1960’s pillbox hat, with a 1950’s skirt, and a modern shoe. Or a 1950’s skirt, with a t-shirt, loafers and no hat or hair accessory. Almost everything I wear could be described as “classic”, but I don’t necessarily pair things together that “should” go together. Sometimes I put things together and discover that it was an absolute failure.
I want fashion to be fun.
While I admire those who wear vintage, or vintage inspired looks, like the “time travelers” mentioned in Margaret’s post, I am not 100% comfortable wearing that. I don’t feel like me when I do. Instead I feel trapped in a box, being forced to choose between vintage and modern, instead of happily marrying them together like I am wont to. And, this doesn’t mean that I don’t love vintage- I do!
I love fashion, both vintage and modern, but my main concern with choosing an item should not be whether it is vintage, and fits into the “vintage aesthetic”. It should be whether I personally love it. I used to buy things just because they were old, without truly thinking about whether I actually liked them. (and then I ended up with a lot of things in my wardrobe that I didn’t actually like.) There is a lot of terribly ugly vintage out there, and just because something is old does not mean that it is instantly valuable. It might be valuable to someone else who appreciates it, but that doesn’t mean it is valuable to me. There is also a lot of vintage and reproduction that is quite nice. . . for someone else. Just because everyone else likes something doesn’t mean you should too.
I guess the main point of what I want to say is, at the end of the day: fashion should be fun. What is fun for you, is not necessarily what is fun for everyone else. But, if you choose to wear what you love, without worrying about where it falls on the “vintage spectrum” it will end up being great. Or at least you’ll be very happy with it! If your closet is full of things that you love and enjoy wearing, whatever “era” they are, you can grab anything out of your closet and be pleased with it.
Like this shirt I am wearing here, I saw it at the thrift store and I thought it was pretty. The rayon fabric is nice, and the navy blue with the lighter blue goes surprisingly well with a lot of what I have in my wardrobe. Just because it isn’t a true vintage style, didn’t mean that it wouldn’t work in my wardrobe. I wasn’t going to pass it up, just because it is modern!
So, I guess this post is a bit rambly; it’s just been something I’ve been thinking of lately. Am I going to “give up vintage style”. Nope- and I don’t see myself ever doing so. In fact, I suppose I have been dressing this way for a long time, and I’ve touched on it before too, I just didn’t realize that there was a term for it. But now, thanks to Margaret’s post, I know I’m a proud vintage mixer! 🙂
Do you like to mix modern and vintage? Or do you tend to dress strictly either vintage style or modern style? Maybe you don’t fit into either- hop over to Denise Brain Vintage and read her posts- what kind of “vintage wearer” are you? I’d love to know!
September 13, 2017 @ 12:51 am
Ha, this morning I was thinking about ugly vintage as I got dressed! I am with you on all of this Nicole, I just love fashion, and don’t like to be restricted by eras. I adore many vintage styles and am lucky to pick up pieces every now and again, but I never have an authentic top to toe look. I still watch modern trends – and sometimes dabble in them – and I love reading Vogue and Harper’s. Clothing for me these days is about how I feel in it as priority #1. I’ll be sure to check out the article you mentioned! When I first saw the top pic I thought you were in a leather jacket on my tiny phone screen – it’s a nice shirt though and I would have been tempted by it too. Xx
September 13, 2017 @ 10:50 pm
I was definitely thinking of you as I was writing this- as I know you are someone who enjoys all eras and styles too! Thanks for your lovely comment- and as for a leather jacket, if I ever find the right one, I will not hesitate to wear it! 🙂
September 13, 2017 @ 9:33 am
I love this. I am happy that I put a name to your style…even though you obviously had that style going for you without any help from me. Thank you for being an excellent example for my blog!
September 13, 2017 @ 10:51 pm
Thank-you for for choosing to feature me, Maggie! 🙂
September 13, 2017 @ 4:52 pm
Oh! I love that outfit. It is so lovely.
September 13, 2017 @ 10:51 pm
Thank-you Marilyn! It was a bit different than what I usually wear (no prints or patterns!)
September 13, 2017 @ 8:05 pm
You are SO right. Fashion should be fun and it should fit your life. It’s REALLY hard to wear complete vintage all the time. I’ve been mixing in modern more lately, too, cuz I love skinny jeans and combat boots and that will never change! ?
P.S. Your photos lately are just SO good!!! They look amazing!!
September 13, 2017 @ 10:54 pm
I was thinking of you too Emileigh when I was writing this, as I know you often mix in modern or other styles, and I love your “vintage mixing”! Skinny jeans and combat boots are always a good idea 😉
As for the photos- thank-you! My sister takes the photos of me! And I also got a 50mm lens for my camera which I seriously LOVE as it creates the best portraits!
September 14, 2017 @ 7:54 pm
Well I think loving what you wear says it all. If you love it, wear it, no matter the era or if it even goes together.
As a vintage reseller now I’ve also noticed lots of really ugly vintage but like you also wrote someone else might fall in love with that piece. It is so random and personal why one piece speaks to a person. I still tend to buy what I like though. I’d rather have pieces I love that I’m stuck with should it not sell than something I really dislike.
I’m like you in that I like to mix things up and I don’t worry about it. The only time I’ve dressed in authentic clothing from head to toe from a period is when I’ve tried to win costume contests at vintage swing dances. Then I really pay attention. In my day to day life though sporting shoes from the 1950s just isn’t practical. Nor is doing up my hair which is naturally bone straight and fine.
Thanks for sharing Maggie’s article link.
September 14, 2017 @ 8:10 pm
I’m right with you there on the straight hair- doing 1950’s hair is so impractical for someone whose hair doesn’t hold a curl!
And, I completely understand why you would choose pieces that you like, in case you get stuck with them. You always have such a great eye for vintage! I always enjoy seeing what you mix together; you are one of the best ladies around for championing the cause of “wearing what you love”!
September 21, 2017 @ 2:37 pm
This post! Yes! All of it! So completely relatable. After I moved I not only altered my wardrobe to be more hot weather friendly, but also to finally accept myself and the style choices I really wanted to make, outside of vintage. I wrote about this not that long ago, and doing what was best for me to make my life better was the best choice I’ve made, and I hope that your post works to inspire others.
September 21, 2017 @ 2:47 pm
I remember your post about your changing style! And I have loved seeing how your style changed to become more “you” once you moved to California! Thanks for reading my post, Janey, and I’m glad it was able to be relatable for you ♥
September 22, 2017 @ 3:31 am
My “style” is pretty random, and I find it hard to call it style at all when I feel daggy most of the time, but that article was a revelation for me too. I’m closest to being a vintage mixer, and now I know that that is what I want to be, too! It really helped me to have it articulated that way. When it comes to my making, I love recreating full on vintage looks, but I rarely want to wear them!
September 23, 2017 @ 12:26 am
Yay! A fellow mixer 🙂 I’m so glad to hear that the article helped you out too. It’s definitely true that a full vintage look can be a lot of work- vintage mixing is definitely easier for everyday!
September 22, 2017 @ 3:35 am
Oh and the other thing I meant to say was that it is hard to do head-to-toe vintage without the hair and make-up, which I just don’t care for! I feel like embracing the vintage/modern mixer idea is going to make me feel more comfortable with that.
October 2, 2017 @ 4:08 am
I love to mix a bit of vintage with a bit of modern in my everyday look. It stops it from looking too costumey to me. Also great turban tying skills here! I must practice my turban tying!
October 12, 2017 @ 7:02 pm
Yes, I agree- it all has to be what you are comfortable with, otherwise it isn’t “personal” style. I know some ladies love to dress head to toe, but when I do it, it feels too costumey too!
As for turbans, it was a slow progression to get to the point where I now wear them out in public! The early days of my turbans resulted in many terrible ones, but practice really does make perfect. Instead of planning to wear them out right away, practice at home in privacy, until you have got the technique down! 🙂