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Is "Being Vintage" Who You Are?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

That phrase drives me crazy, "Being vintage". A person is not really "vintage", with the exception of grannies but you know what I mean, is your vintage lifestyle or fashion choice a major part of who you are?



This topic has been on my mind for the past several months. I was contacted by a student doing a questionnaire about the vintage culture. I thought it would be a bunch of stuff about why you love vintage, who is your style icon, blah blah blah....but no. It was about who I am as a person and how my love of vintage fits into that puzzle and these thought-provoking questions brought some very unexpected answers

One question was something like- Do you have any friends who aren't interested in vintage?

Wow! That's a thought that never crossed my mind but the answer is surprisingly.....no! I don't think of myself as a vintage snob. I think that all people are unique and interesting and worth hanging out with but yeah, all of my friends are interested in vintage. It didn't happen on purpose.
 Before I started blogging I was a bored, lonely housewife with three cats. I had lost touch with all of my high school friends due to moving around a lot and the fact that I stopped wanting to make friends in high school. I had outgrown a lot of my long-time friends. They were 17, getting their first cars and on the verge of drinking age. They wanted to party and go to raves and clubs and I wasn't like that at all.


 I moved out, dated a little, met Pj and we got married. My co-workers were much much older than I and we didn't have anything in common. By the time I quit my job and became a housewife, I really didn't have any girlfriends or anything! I started my blog to connect to like-minded people and after these several years of blogging, all of the local and world wide friends that I have, I met through my vintage blog.

All of the girlfriends that I talk to every day and text while I'm hanging out at home are vintage bloggers and readers!
 I recently made my first "non-vintage" friend! She's a stay at home mom with kids the same age as mine. Of course, I met her through one of my local vintage friends. We talked about non-vintage things like taking the kids to the park and planning barbeques this summer. It was oddly comfortable and refreshing.


Another question was something about "If you didn't blog about vintage, what would you do?"

Well, that's a scary thought.  If I stopped blogging about vintage and wearing vintage tomorrow, what the hell would I do with myself? No more sewing vintage clothes or pin curling my hair or thrift store hunts.

I started this blog because I'm passionate about fashion history. I have loved the topic all my life. I go to museums and desperately want to touch and turn things inside out to see how they were constructed. I need to have sewing in my life too. I went a few months without a sewing machine and was horribly depressed. I need to have a little time to myself each day to be creative and to put myself together. When I don't create and when I let myself live in pajamas, I'm not happy.

So if I stopped wearing and blogging vintage, what would I do? I really don't know. I would have a lot more time for my other loves like cooking, gardening, doing craft projects with the kids. I would probably go back to school or find some other wonderful thing to do



I didn't plan for this but yes, I guess that being a vintage blogger is a huge part not only what I do but who I am at heart.  I still do a lot of non-vintage related things but this is my passion, my fuel for my creativity, my means of supporting my family, my connection to my best friends- I dream about vintage (quite literally), I think about it throughout the day, I live in a vintage home and listen to old music while I clean it.  I love old things and old stories and I truly love doing this.

What about you? Is being vintage a major part of who you are?

25 Responses to “Is "Being Vintage" Who You Are?”

  1. Your story sounds so much like mine! Well aside from the fact that I haven't met any vintage bloggers IRL. I do have other interests outside of vintage fashion, but even those interests seem "vintage" to outsiders (gardening, sewing, homemaking, etc.). The blog world has really been an outlet for me, it's nice not to be alone.

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  2. I didn't think I "do" vintage because The Mister and I are both raging introverts who just enjoy puttering around the house and I don't wear vintage or repro clothes. But then my new co-workers pointed out that I love using vintage recipes and that I have a very "Audrey, Grace, and Jackie" timeless aesthetic about the way I dress.

    Like you and Brandy, the blog world is an outlet for me--it enables me to focus on the entirety of me, not just my brains, and apparently there are a lot of other academics like me who feel isolated at their institutions for enjoying gardening, sewing, homemaking, etc.

    (Is this my first time commenting, here? Shame on me for lurking for so long without commenting!)

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    1. PS: I LOVE that photo of you with the kids playing in the background!

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  3. I think everyone is drawn to people with common interests, but I also think none of us would be any less ourselves should we be unable to blog or connect with others online who share our interests or passions. I'm a stay at home, homeschooling, mom and honestly I wore vintage and sewed without ever even reading a blog, and yet it's been so wonderful to be inspired by others I would never be able to connect with any other way. You have been an inspiration to me and many others through your blog, and I think it really just encourages others to follow their passions more.
    Sarah

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  4. Just to add to what everyone has already said, I've also never really had too many friends, especially not ones my own age, most of them were always my teachers and professors. I've been accused of having an older personality than my actual age, but now that I think about it, it's because I was into vintage stuff. I could talk to someone older than me about a Grace Kelly film I'd watched or something, but people my own age wouldn't have a clue what I was talking about, because they simply weren't into things like that.

    The Internet however has really helped me find people closer to my age that also enjoy vintage stuff ( and like Brandy points out, not just fashion, but things like gardening, sewing, even homemade cooking).

    I guess in some way yes, being vintage is a bit of who I am, and always have been, even before I really started dressing vintage. That may also be why your blog is so entertaining, to all of us, your vintage self show through, and your not afraid of showing it.

    Thanks, Brittany, for being you!

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  5. I agree with Sarah. I have been into "vintage" for as long as I can remember, but didn't start dressing until I was about 16. Now I am 34, and I still have very few "vintage" friends. The few that I have don't live in town and have a family of their own. So, it's very hard to get together. I think that "being vintage" is just who I am. It's not a phase, like many thought when I was growing up. I used to blog, but don't anymore. That doesn't make my passion any less than it was before. Many don't understand why we do what we do; why we like what we like. And, I have been called weird (or my favorite: You're hair looks interesting....), but it's who we are. Everyone is entitled to their passion. Everyone needs a passion. Life would be so uninteresting without them!

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  6. I really like this post. I have been blogging for 3 yrs now but I blog about dogs and about vintage. I started blogging about dogs and then combined the too. Ive always loved old things and history but I only started dressing really vintage about a year ago. I don't have many dog or vintage friends IRL. I work full time as a special ed teacher and when Im not at work Im spending time with my husband and my dogs. Lots of people notice and comment on my vintage look but I think of it as only part of who I am. My few good real life friends are mostly people I met through work and none of them are into vintage or dogs. I wish I had more IRL friends with those interests. What I love about blogging and the internet is you can connect with people who share your same intersts

    retro rover

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  7. I liked how you expressed yourself! That's a very thought provoking question. I know for myself I also had a hard time relating to people my own age and just had a certain mindset and the things that interested me were "vintage". As a child, history fascinated me, especially the history of fashion. I would spend hours at the library reading and looking up books about clothing. I feel that dressing vintage just came naturally to me because I already loved vintage music, watched vintage movies, had vintage stuff in my room and understood where it all came from. I actually feel truer to myself when I'm dressed in a vintage outfit. It really is a part of who I am. Being a creative person as well, I understand what it's like to want to express it and "being vintage" is another way to do that. I didn't know there was a vintage blog world until 3 years ago!

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  8. Great post! I adore vintage and I love to surround myself with pieces of clothing, accessories and furniture that have a past and have lived before I found them. But that is where it all ends for me. My pals and family don't really "get" vintage like I feel I do, and so, like you, I made contact with like minded people through the blog world. And now, having found my "people", I have never felt happier. Hurray for blogs!

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  9. I love this conversation Brittany!! For me, it has always been a part of me bc of the people who raised me. Being raised by parents born in 1949 and a grandmother born in 1927 and to top it off my culture being very traditional, I was exposed to old fashioned manners, morals, traditions, etc since day one. I used to fight it of course in the late 80s when all a girl every wanted to be was Alyssa Milano haha But looking back I can see that history and the past has always been a part of me as I think it is a part of everyone. I just think some people take to embracing more of it than others. Since it has always been a part of me, my love for classic film just sparked more of it as I grew older, I think at the end of the day I would always fall back on that first vintage love...film. The only difference bet my life now and then is that I am projecting more of what I love about vintage into my everyday lifestyle ie fashion, hair, decor etc. For some people I do think it is a fad but for others who like I said always embraced the past a little more than the average person, I think it will always be a passion for them with or without vintage outlets like blogs, magazines, videos, etc. I love this post. And I am so happy I get to be a part of such a special community!!! xox

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  10. Well I suppose there always has to be one exception! I would say the majority of my friends are non-vintage. I have always loved history and as a teen had a passion for watching old movies but I have a lot of other interests too, back then my main passion was music so I made a lot of friends to do with that. I indulge my love of vintage by blogging and chatting to other like minded people on the internet but it's not something my friends from home and work are at all into.

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  11. When I ventured away from LiveJournal, the first blogs I found and devoured were ones written by lovers of vintage... and it was fantastic. All of these people re-creating and re-inventing looks from the past and having the confidence not to care what anyone else thought of their sartorial choices - I loved it! Their enthusiasm and self-assurance inspired me to step away from my rather ordinary clothing choices and to see what fun I could have when I got dressed in the morning.

    I don't think my style is vintage or retro, really - it's just mine. But I wouldn't have that it if weren't for other people embracing the vintage vibe and sharing it with anyone who'll take the time to read along.

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  12. I don't know anyone really near me who is into vintage so there is a lot of my life that doesn't revolve around vintage. I have made some great blogging friends though! I love vintage because it allows me to be creative and dress uniquely! Plus, I can pick and choose the decades that flatter my body shape and skip those that don't *coughmoderfashionscough*

    I love blogging because it allows me to talk with people who actually like what I like. Being that I'm a chemistry professor, very into vintage fashion and quite shy, I don't always do well in social situations in real life. But I'm really a nerd at heart more than anything and I love vintage nerd time with my blogging pals! :D

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  13. I have to say- you do have to be careful because if that student reads this they might be really hurt. I'm sure they didn't mean it to be offensive.

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    1. Oh, no I wasn't offended at all! I was amazed because I was expecting the usual boring questions about why I love vintage but instead it was much more than that!

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  14. I think that having a love for vintage is something ingrained in us. You do have to ask yourself, why do I love vintage? In a ever moving world why do you have this interest and love for it. Only people who see beneath the glamorous movie stars and the peter pan collars, really do appreciate it. I do agree that some people see vintage as a fad, whether it's a shift dress or writing on paper.
    My love of vintage started when I was very small when I first started watching "I Love Lucy." It's still my favorite show! But it really flourished about two years ago when I discover vintage blogs. Especially Va-Voom Vintage, thanks Brittany! I have always loved old movies, antique stores, and of course the clothes :) So is being vintage who I am? It certainly is! I can't imagine not loving it. Vintage shares my modesty, my values, my character. It is who I am.

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  15. Everyone can see that you love and breathe vintage. You are such a lovely inspiration, dear. I have also loved fifties style since I was a little girl and admired Marilyn Monroe (still do), I don't think I ever will stop loving vintage. :)

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  16. Absolutely! Being vintage is part of my everyday life, but in way that most don’t think about. Vintage living for me is about victory gardening, preserving our food, being less of a consumer and using more natural products. I have friends who dress vintage, own vintage homes and drive vintage cars; in appearance they are living a vintage life, but their way of living isn’t vintage. That’s why I blog. I love to show how sustainable vintage living was and can be again. The concept of the reusable grocery bag isn’t a new trend – it was done in the 1940s during the paper shortages of WWII.

    A big reason why I love vintage is because of how diverse it is and how we all have something to learn about what it means to be and live vintage.

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  17. Thank you for sharing us a big part of your life, it s a fantastic vintage life you have.
    Have a great weekend!

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  18. Yes! I just kept nodding my head as i read through your answers and experiences! To help me find a vintage community - I had to start one (Toronto Vintage Society - on Facebook)! I feel every city should have a chapter...it has done amazing things for keeping me surrounded with like minded people...and boosted the vintage culture in my city!

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  19. I am new to blogging, but I do read others such as yours and I am amazed at the level of creativity and passion that people have for what they do. I don't currently possess any vintage clothing, but I find that what I make tends to take inspiration from 30's, 40's and 50's as I find it so flattering and classy. I have very little interest in what is currently on sale on the High Street as everyone tends to look the same, and the finish can be very poor. It's lovely to walk down the road feeling fabulous in a unique well fitting garment whilst all around you wander around in tracksuit bottoms and leggings!
    It's great that you make the time to blog about your love of vintage.

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  20. I feel like my SOUL is vintage, not just what I like or the clothes I buy. It's not dress-up to me, I actually feel and have the mindset of the eras in which I dress. It's accuracy, not costume. Many "outsiders" (meaning everyday modern people!) do not get that. Don't get me wrong, I love being told I look like a movie star. With vintage, I feel confident, unique, MYSELF. It's hard to explain unless you know it yourself. I know I will never act like the frat-party, can't-remember-where-I-was-midnight person. I really can't even imagine being anyone else than who I am. I don't have many friends, and that's totally okay with me. Maybe if I lived in a more diverse area, with different kinds of people, I would be more social, but there aren't any here! That's why I blog. :)

    Ivy

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  21. I don't have many friends, but the ones I do have are mostly non-vintage. Okay ALL non-vintage. I have one acquaintance who loves mid century style but only her house gets the treatment, it stops there. I personally can't think of any other way to be than vintage, it's a HUGE part of who I am; ingrained in me since the day I was born! My Dad is an antique collector and has been all his life (he's in his 60s) and my Mum loved old things too, so I grew up in a house stuck somewhere between 1885 and 1945, with old movies on the tv, old music on the radio, antique home decor (complete with kerosene lamps in the evening!)... everything was salvaged, home made, handed down or otherwise acquired. Even now as I look around me I'm hard-placed to find anything significant that was made in the last 30 years; every piece of furniture and 99% of the decor is pre 70s. It even influences my career- I'm a vintage dealer. I only live in old houses, if I could drive I'd have an old car... the only reason I don't dress vintage is because I can't find the clothes in my size (damn you boobies) but I do what I can with what I find. My brother would tell you the same story (except he opts out of the dressing the part thing because well... his period is strictly 1880s and earlier, and that's not a practical outfit for a courier. :) Interestingly he doesn't have any vintage friends either.

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  22. Is being vintage a major part of who you are?

    Yes and no. I love wearing what I wear. I don't think I could go back to how I dressed before, permanently anyways, I have the rare occasion but I don't feel like myself when I do. I haven't gone as deep into a vintage life style as say you or many other girls have. My home for example is still very modern. My closet however is a much different story. I don't have many friends who are into the vintage life the ones I do have are online and I'm fine with that, the ones offline are not into it same thing I am fine with that. It also helps with my movie obsession cause then I have people to talk with about that. But for a good while it was really depressing I don't go out much and it would have been nice to sit with someone who also appreciated it. I think this is mostly because tues-fri I am pretty much a housewife and it can be boring. And sitting online all day after cleaning and in between cooking seems rather sad. I'm learning to change that. But I like who I am and I am happy with my life and I think that's all that should matter.

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  23. This may sound a bit nutty but "I love Lucy" was the first sitcom I watched religiously and for my 8th birthday went to a convention it was wonderful so growing older and delving deeper into those eras I felt much more of connection there than anything else. Vintage lifestyle just feels natural. Also I totally understand about outgrowing your school friends, at 25 though its been a few years now and its got a little lonely but just discovering the vintage blogs I hope to make some friends. Thanks for your blog btw its really great I just love it.

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