I generally only get this very straightforward question from family members (coughmy18yearoldniecewhodresseslikean18yearoldcough), but I’ve also gotten this question from others as well but just posed in a different way. Often times I get questions like “Where do you get all of your pretty dresses?” or “How do you get your hair like that?” – people who are genuinely just curious about my look.
So why do I dress this way? Well as I’ve gotten older I’ve become much less concerned with what people think of me – I’m never going to see any of these people again in my life – why care if they judge me based on my clothes. I also think it helps that I live in a relatively large city (Minneapolis – home of the hipsters) and you see people dressed in so many different styles that little old me dressed like Betty Draper really doesn’t ruffle too many feathers – if anything I tend to make someone’s day. Sure I might stick out in a sea of hipsters or people with shaved heads, pink hair, etc. but I don’t think I’m sticking out negatively. My whole life I’ve also been someone who is always dressed nicely. Even before I became interested in vintage style I alway made sure I looked nice before I left the house. I don’t leave my house wearing my yoga pants and my Uggs. And I certainly don’t go to the grocery store in my pajama’s (I was at Trader Joe’s last Sunday and it was amazing how many people were in PJ’s and work out gear!). I am drawn to the fashion of the 40’s and 50’s as well because the cut of those clothes flatter my body type – my waist is 10 inches smaller than my bust and hips – that is a TRUE hourglass figure. The cinched waists and full skirts of the 50’s were made for figures like mine so I just feel comfortable in those styles. And finally ladies just always looked classy and put together in the 50’s!
I’ve never (yet) gotten rude comments (to my face – who knows what people say after I walk away haha) although I know of some fellow vintage loving ladies who have gotten negative comments. I’m not usually dressed to the 9’s head to toe on a daily basis – I don’t yet have a closet collection that allows me to dress like that every day and let’s be real some days you just don’t care what you look like (on those days I’m usually in black dress pants and a nice top) – especially when you work in a cubicle and the same few people see you day in and day out. But because I don’t look “vintage” on a daily basis I really tend to flip people out on the days I do have my hair done and I’m wearing a vintage inspired look. I walked from my office to the coffee shop one day (it’s not a far walk) and 3 different people stopped me to tell me how much they loved my dress. Strangers often stop me to say they like my dress or skirt or hair. Here is an example of what I wore to work a week or so ago –
Of note – none of what you see me wearing above is vintage (except maybe the pearl necklace – I think it was my granny’s so I’m guessing it’s old). In the top pic I’m wearing a bolero from The Limited and a dress from PinUp Girl Clothing. In the bottom pic I’m wearing a tshirt from ModCloth and a circle skirt from eBay. I don’t own many actual vintage things. I have a hard time finding things that fit me (my waist is around 29-30 inches and most vintage things are 22-26 inches – those dames were little). I also have a hard time paying $150-$300 for a cotton dress. If it’s a well known label (Shaheen, Surf ‘n Sand or Lilli Diamond) and it’s in impeccable condition then yes paying hundreds of dollars is warranted. But if it’s a cotton day dress or the like – heck no. I follow a lot of blogs and so many of these ladies find their vintage dresses at local flea markets or thrift stores for cheap – I’m so jealous. I’m not a good enough treasure hunter I think! I also tend to wear more reproduction vintage on a daily basis because if for some reason I damage it I am more likely able to fix it or get a stain out. Vintage dresses are 50 and 60 years old – the fabric can be thin, the stitching loose, the zippers broke, etc. In fact I just bought a great 50’s sundress and I put it on to wear it to my work party and the zipper came away from the dress. Luckily it’s an easy fix but it’s things like that that make me not wear true vintage on a daily basis.
If anyone is interested in starting a vintage inspired wardrobe read this post from Chronically Vintage – http://www.chronicallyvintage.com/2012/12/a-beginners-guide-to-buying-and-wearing.html. It is full of great information! Bottom line – wear what makes you feel good. Life is too short to worry about what others think of you and way too short to be someone that society thinks you “should” be. I only wish more teenagers and young 20 somethings would catch on to that sooner.
Until next time!