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How does the public react to your personal style?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


How does the public react to your personal style? Do people smile, compliment you and feel inspired by your look or do they give you the stink eye, make rude statements and throw rotten vegetables in your general direction?

I have heard both sides from many vintage lovers but for the most part, I have only ever been greeted with positive reactions. About 2 weeks ago, I went to the mall with my grandma and an older gentleman walking through the bookstore tapped my arm as we passed him and said "You have a great look!" Mostly, people ask me "Are you going to a special event today?" or "Are you an actress in a play" and I say "No, this is just my style!" followed by a brief statement regarding my love for vintage fashion. I have had one unpleasant glare from a very unfashionable broad in cut-off shorts and a scrunchie...so I just gave her the stink eye right back because she looked a mess in her Daisy Dukes and yucky hair.

Do you feel secure in your wardrobe choices or do you feel that you sometimes need guidance? In the beginning of my journey into vintage fashion, I felt unsure of myself. I always took my husband or friends along to shop with me so I could get a second opinion. I wasn't sure if 80's does 40's is a good thing that I can take advantage of or if it was downright -wrong-. In reading your blogs, reading books and magazines from the era and trial and error, I have learned a lot and I feel much better about my wardrobe choices. I'm still having some difficulty when it comes to shirts and blouses but I'm getting there...even if I have to make my own!

What do you think is the cause of your reactions? Is it your style, your personality, the way you carry yourself or how you pair items in your wardrobe? Do you get positive or negative reactions or a mix of the two? If you could improve something about your style or receive a little guidance with a particular area in fashion, what would it be?

25 Responses to “How does the public react to your personal style?”

  1. I have a friend who wears dresses all the time (think Audrey Hepburn type) and she doesn't get weird looks, but she does get asked why she's so dressed up. I personally try not to question anyone's fashion style because I feel we're all unique! I like how you dress :-) Some folks just tend to think everyone should wear whatever the trend is right now, but I don't.

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  2. I get older ladies beaming at me and teenage girls snickering behind their hands. I don't let the negatives bother me and just enjoy the warm glow when I do get compliments x

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  3. I haven't received any negative reactions, per se. Just curious stares OR, in most cases, extremely flattering and energetically positive reactions. This past weekend, for example, at this historic site we visited, one of the main guides and a group of elderly women waiting for a tour just squealed with delight over my 30s outfit. One way or another, while the compliments are divine and the stares sometimes awkward, I just keep going with my vintage life. I don't wear vintage to get the compliments and those who would judge mean so little to me that as long as I feel like I am putting my best foot forward and expressing my true self, then I am a happy gal.

    I'm always refining my look...but feel much better at putting together an outfit now that I know 100% that the early to mid 1930s looks are the ones that I feel most "me." Still working on the hair, though. Might grow it a bit longer...


    In the end, the reactions are just due to modern society, I think. To many people, women in hats or dresses longer than knee length are the stuff of movies or old photos, so to see someone in life embodying these looks is a novelty (for some that's a good thing, as it evokes memories or positive connotations; for others, it's complete lack of grounding in history, fashion history, etc, so it's confusing).

    Great post. Lots of very relevant and thought provoking questions!

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  4. I wouldn't say my style is very vintage, but people always ask me if I'm going somewhere special. I think it has to do with the Humboldt style code of Patagonia fleece and duck boots. I felt weird at first, but I am becoming more secure in my personal style everyday.

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  5. I've had a few teenagers shout rude words at me and some young men lunged towards me aggressively (they didn't touch me though) but it is mostly stares or compliments. The older generation love my look and they always comment on how they wished that more young people dressed smartly. The younger generation usually gawk at me at first but they're usually really nice and tell me that i look very striking and unique. It's just the stares that bother me sometimes but i'm learning to ignore them!

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  6. My biggest struggle is thinking that I have to always buy something new to be stylish. I have many times forgotten about what was in my closet & accessory drawer and just gone to the store. My goal this summer & for the future is to incorporate my own vintage collection (selected pieces from throughout the years) into several new pieces that I simply love.

    In regards to looking good, I have to wear what makes me feel good, whether it's a blousy top and jeans one day or a dress that hugs my chest and hips the next. If people look at me funny for doing so, then that's their problem!

    http://lepetitstyle.blogspot.com

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  7. I find the same thing as some of the other ladies said: Older people love my look and young people either snicker or look confused. The only really negative comments I have ever gotten are from some of my "friends" but I just shrug off their comments and wear what I feel best in.

    I am actually very shy but I have gotten immune to stares. I think that's just part of the territory when you wear vintage and are into different things than most people.

    ~Kate~
    http://vintageinamodernworld.blogspot.com/

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  8. Since getting my vintage frames, I've gotten very positive "feedback" from strangers. lol If anyone hasn't liked my style, I haven't noticed, thank goodness! lol

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  9. Luckily there's a huge rockabilly scene in Austin, so I mostly blend in ;)

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  10. Most of the time, it's positive, but sometimes I can't tell if people are saying nice things because they really like my style, or they just want to be "nice." I've experienced good and bad, I guess, but I think it's just important to do what you want!

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  11. If you have read the mission statement of my blog, you know that I truly believe in style being about expressing personality, feelings and fun. I do not believe in any rules per se except that ones you pick for yourself (I do not wear cream for example). I have found that the people that get the most compliments on their clothes, regardless of how they dress, are the ones that exude confidence. You can wear the most ridiculous outfit if YOU WEAR IT and not the other way around. Prince is an excellent example of this! For the most part, I get a very positive reaction and I operate in a semi-professional/conservative world. I was worried recently because a historic research project I completed thru the city and university got some media attention (on blog later) that my appearance would be a problem. However, it actually helped me stand out and get noticed positively. Again, it is all about how you carry yourself in my opinion. And the reality is also that you can not please all of the people all of the time so only focus on the one that matters, yourself.

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  12. oh and by the way, some of my favorite vintage outfits get the most compliments from women over 60 and men under 30. just goes to show you, sometimes a little class and innocence is much appreciated.

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  13. Older people usually give me approving looks, younger people give me strange looks or giggle. I guess about the same as what everyone else said.
    I've always been very shy so it's still taking some getting used to to having people stare at me all the time. I suppose I'll become immune to it eventually though. And besides, /I/ like how I look. :)

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  14. I don't get any strange reactions, more like "it looks nice on you, but it isn't for me...", I sometimes get the feeling that people think I look quirky, but at the same time they look up to someone who stands out. And yes, like in the other comments, it's funny that older people sometimes look at me as if they are seeing someone they knew when they were younger... I love it when that happens, you can see the memories flashing before their eyes.

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  15. The reactions are mostly positive, especially from older people like many have stated here. Sometimes the glances are more curious. Nobody has ever said anything rude to me, but I don't know what their thinking or I just couldn't hear them, because I was listening to my ipod. Oh well... ;)
    My brother makes fun of me. He cannot understand why I dress like that and the weird make up and so on.

    I would love to get more into the hairstyles! I still have to practice.

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  16. Here you certainly do get some serious stares, but so does anyone nor dresses in some varion of an outdoorsy getup. I have noticed though, that it seems like if you're a plus-sized person wearing anything like this the people are even more perplexed. I should know since I am, plus-size that is and tall to boot, and my Sis who wears this stuff as well is not. But it doesn't bother me too much as I don't mind the stares and people here are also far too glum to dare a comment. :)

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  17. I've been wearing vintage for about 15 years now, and I really have never gotten any negative comments as far as I can remember. I lived in San Francisco for most of that time, so that might be part of it. The older ladies at the medical clinic I used to work at, always wanted to know how I kept my seams so straight! I lived in New England for awhile and got the occasional comment on being "dressed up" when I really wasn't, but they still had nice things to say about my look.

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  18. All of the stares and times I overhear someone commenting about how "weird" I am dressed come from people who seem to be trying desperately to fit in with everyone else.. I guess they don't understand why I'm not doing the same?

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  19. I love this blog, I have started a fashion blog too! Please tell me what you think.

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  20. I don't do head-to-toe vintage (part of that being I'm too tall and too busty for a lot of vintage, so I'm happy to find your blog to get some tips), but I wear a lot of vintage jewelry and get tons of compliments on it.

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  22. Thank you to everyone who has commented. You all make very interesting points on the subject. I suppose it has a lot to do with where you live, how old you are, places you go and so on. I agree that people who give negative feedback are the types that follow the flock and that's too bad for them. Regardless of what people say, I encourage everyone to continue doing what makes them happy, be unique, be yourself and make your mark on the fashion world. Thanks for sharing, everyone! xoxo
    Oh, and Maria- you can do it, darlin'! I'm 5'7 with a 44 inch bust! Just let those hems down, buy bigger shirts and take the sides in so they nip in at your waist and rock it!!

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  23. You know I really thought about this one for a long time so i am so happy people are still posting about it.

    I am a lot older than many of the people who read this blog- almost 40- and my style has changed over the years, but it has never been conservative and what you would call "normal". Sometimes it bordered on scandelous- I always owned it though.

    As I am getting older I am really enjoying the fact that society is "allowing" me to play a little more with my personal style. Where as when I was young dressing vintage or any variation on the norm was seen as costume-ish, now it just looks like I am fashion forward. The older I get the more compliments I get on my look.

    I have had to give up some age innappropraite wear (some) but it more than makes up for it with how daring I can be.

    Hang in there kids, your style will be appreciated -even though it will have to share the field with a few crows feet.

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  24. I just finished writing about my first experience going out totally vintage and came here and saw this post. I love it!

    http://being-belle.blogspot.com/

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  25. well, I have been a vintage lover since high school. And while everyone else was walking around with the latest greatest abercrombie and fitch clothing, I was wearing polka dotted dresses with vintage blouses and victory rolls. I got nothing but weird looks, and teachers even talked about how "weird" I was... since I started modeling, and I'm now in college, I get nothing but "OOOH I LOVE YOUR STYLE". Maybe it was just the immaturity of high school kids? Idk, I had a hard time with people's bad looks, especially girls. I even got asked "WHY DO YOU DO YOUR HAIR LIKE THAT?!" ugh. RUDE

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