My regular readers might have noticed that while I love vintage-inspired style, especially from the mid century, I generally don’t wear vintage clothes and instead stick to modern or reproduction (from online shops and the high street). It’s essentially at the heart of what my blog’s all about as it follows my outfit journeys, so I thought it might be time to explain my reasons. If any of my readers are new to this kind of retro look and are interested in an alternative approach to the one of building up a wardrobe of vintage pieces in order to achieve it, or a variation of it at least, I hope you’ll find this interesting!
|Vintage or modern? Two pairs of glasses – one vintage (top), one modern, both giving a similar touch to an outfit|
Top 10 reasons I choose new over vintage
1. Minimal trying of patience
I am a super, super impatient person and never is this more apparent than when it comes to clothes shopping. I don’t have the patience to spend hours in high street shops finding things I like (99% of the shopping I do is online), let alone in vintage or charity shops where what you like and what will fit you is in even shorter supply. I just don’t. If you do have patience, you might win big in the vintage clothes game and I take my hat off to you (or I would, if I could be bothered to find one I like 😉
2. Preferring separates to dresses
I’ve noticed that vintage shops in particular – especially online – usually have a great range of dresses, but a much smaller selection of separates to choose from. This girl likes the multiple possibilities of buying and pairing different separates. Not only can you create more outfits this way, it also helps with the fit – it’s much harder to fit a dress in all the right places than two pieces of clothing you can mix and match the sizes of.
3. Liking to stop at vintage inspired
In a nutshell, I’m not trying to look like I stepped out of the 50s, but would rather incorporate elements of 50s style into my outfits. I never go out of my way to have ‘authentic’ clothes or hair and make-up because it just doesn’t suit me and I personally prefer my own style to be a unique blend of flattering vintage shapes and modern designs. That way I get to pick and choose the best of both worlds and create a look that’s perfect for me. This is partly why when I do wear vintage, it’s usually accessories like glasses or handbags that finish an outfit off, or give it a retro spin (as above and below!).
4. Gap-filling my wardrobe
I always know what I want to buy next – it’s a constant train of thought in the back of my mind (because I have a shopping problem). For example, I’ll know the next thing I want to buy is a pair of red peep toe sandals with an ankle strap and heel because they’ll go with x, y and z outfits. The internet lets me find them with a few keywords – amazing! Job done, money parted with, lovely new shoes in my wardrobe. And repeat. Shopping in vintage etc stores don’t suit me because I’m never hoping to stumble upon the odd item that I buy just because I like it – if anything, that’s a sure-fired way to blow my clothes budget for a month… and I still won’t have my red sandals. I think if I was a little wealthier I’d be able to spend more on things I would wear more rarely, but that’s not right now. Leading me on to…
5. Being on a budget
The nicest vintage clothes I see I can’t justify the prices of. For the price of one beautiful vintage dress I might buy 2/3 modern ones. Admittedly they won’t be unique, which is one of the best things about vintage buys, but I’m yet to ever bump into anyone wearing the exact same outfit as me, so I’m pretty unconcerned about this.
6. Laundry loathing
I am a chuck-everything-into-the-washing-machine-and-hope-for-the-best kind of girl. Whether its light, dark, has care labels that threaten the world ending if it so much as touches a household appliance, it all goes in on a 30 degree wash, together. This is because I hate laundry more than almost any other household chore and working/commuting for 12 hours of my weekdays mean I can spend my whole evening on it by the time I’m home. This is not a good attitude to have if you have some lovely and somewhat delicate vintage pieces in your wardrobe. Some of them will take care and kindness and need a much more responsible owner than me!
7. Loving – and relying on – elastane
I love stretch – it’s nearly the only way I ever get a dress to fit me (and even then I often have to pull the waist in with a belt). I can’t deal with the disappointment of something not fitting right and/or having to pay to have it altered as I have no sewing skills whatsoever. I also prefer fitted clothes because I’m small and have a bust that makes a mockery of empire lines (i.e. turns me into a tent) and legs that magically vanish under most full length midi skirts. This is not a good preference to have if you want to wear vintage from the mid-century. If you can alter clothes this is a very hand skill to have if you’re buying lots of vintage!
8. Being a bit of a copycat at heart
This is a big one for me – one of the first blogs I consistently read the blogger posted a mix of outfits, some were new buys, some were vintage. I found myself getting increasingly frustrated when I saw outfits I couldn’t buy or even get a similar version of because they were vintage. It’s in fact what led me to start this blog – I like sharing outfits that are fairly easy for anyone to source and making this blog into a kind of guide to the best new pieces out there – because that’s often why I read and enjoy blogs myself! So, because I’m easily led, it’s better for me to admire new clothes than old, so at least then I can buy them too.
9. Enjoying new things
I hold my hands up to being materialistic and I really like owning brand new things. Asides from this, I get a tiny bit grossed out by ‘vintage smells’. Some people really don’t mind or in fact like the smells of old clothes etc, but that’s not really me. I have a handbag that still reeks of something indescribable 3 years after buying it and it puts me off using it (it’s on the left in the picture below, be grateful you can’t smell it!).
10. Having no reliable source of amazing hand-me-downs
I notice a lot of bloggers get hold of amazing items from mothers, grandmothers, aunts and so on. The only thing I’ve ever come into is a belt – and it’s one I could have bought a similar version of now so it’s not exactly unique. So, without this as an option, that’s one less avenue open to vintage clothes loveliness.
|Old vs new again|
So there you have it, those are the main reasons behind my choices. In my opinion, it’s totally ok to mix vintage and modern or go entirely one way or the other as long as it makes you feel good. I have a lot of respect for people who’ve built up beautiful vintage wardrobes and manage to wear it all in constant rotation – it can look fab (e.g. someone like Marianne from Esme and the Laneway, whose blog I love). I often wish I could be more bothered, just to have the odd really special piece, but for now, I’m quite happy with things the way they are. And if I’m a bit wealthier one day, then we’ll see…