Are You Lying? Why Do You Wear Vintage?

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I came across a very funny blog post at The Gloss, a B5 Media network blog about fashion. The snarky post discusses the lies woman say about why the wear vintage. At the risk of totally pissing you off, check it out. It’s quite funny.

It’s unfortunate that Ms. Wright has had such an unpleasant experience with vintage and thinks all vintage is grandma clothes with arm pit stains. I wish she could see the stunning garments some of my favorite sellers such as Shrimpton Couture, Dorthea’s Closet. Violet Ville Vintage, Past Perfect Vintage and Couture Allure offer. No stains, minimal flaws, if any, and very wearable.

It makes me wonder where the heck the writer is shopping. Granted, if you have taken a look at Ebay, or even Etsy sometimes, in the past year and a half, the marketplace is filled with undesirable old clothing picked by untrained eyes. Quality vintage clothing is rare and is priced accordingly.

So to counter the 5 lies Ms Wright thinks we’re telling, here are my 5 reasons I wear vintage:

1. Yes, quality
You just don’t see the same kind of high quality patterns and fabric in modern day clothing! Oh, puce and red paisley velour isn’t around in Topshop? Try to figure out why.

Seriously? Who is wearing this? These sound awful in any decade. In terms of quality, I’m not sure Topshop counts as being a source of craftsmanship.
The construction and fabrics of vintage clothing were made so much better than today’s fast fashion. These garments have lasted 50 years. Can we say that about a top at Topshop?

2. Uniqueness
I do like looking a bit different. And yes I do have a personality. In fact, my confidence and personality make it easy for me to pull of vintage. If you worry about what people will think about you, or are worried about trends, vintage is not for you.

3. Silhouettes
I love the silhouettes of the mid-century. The 40s through the 60s are my favorite decades because they compliment my figure perfectly. When everything in the mall is a short baby doll dress, I would look like a 20 lb. sack of flour. No thanks! You can keep your trends.

4. Inspiring
Um, you know all those beautiful clothing that walk down the runway and then trickle down into the mass market shops like said Topshop? Where do you think designers get their inspiration? When John Galliano is shopping in The Way We Wore, you better believe vintage style will make an appearance in Dior’s Couture show. I can’t afford couture, but I sure can afford a $200 inspirational dress.

5. Resell value
When i buy a vintage dress, I look for value. i know that when I purchase a great piece and after I have tired of it (or grown out of it) I can resell it for probably what I purchased it for. Can you say the same thing for modern clothes? Not very many of them. The idea of disposable fashion and seeing all of the trash in thrifts forces me to shop less, but shop better. Vintage is a good investment if you want to resell.

What about you? Why do you wear vintage? Leave a comment!

photo: Bettie Paige Styled

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1 Fajr | Stylish Thought { 05.11.10 at 7:22 am }

Well the article was funny, but I agree where is she shopping? Part of me wears vintage for its uniqueness and the challenge of making a garment that my mother may have worn work for me today. I like to mix vintage with modern for a look that is me.

2 Solanah { 05.11.10 at 7:26 am }

Bravo to you! What on earth is this girl thinking? She must think of vintage as mumus and double knit polyester, because as you said, vintage looks a heck of a lot better than the trendy threads currently in rotation.

3 Patti { 05.11.10 at 9:39 am }

Amen!!! I agree with your reasons completely. Great post, Sandra!

4 Jeanne Suica { 05.11.10 at 9:58 am }

Hey each to his (or her) own… I thought that it was a funny post and if we all liked the same thing it would be one big catfight right? Look at it this way more vintage for us:)

5 Sandra { 05.11.10 at 10:12 am }

I like the challenge too Fajr! I also mix it up for a fresher look.

6 Sandra { 05.11.10 at 10:13 am }

Thanks Patti – glad you liked it! xo.

7 Sandra { 05.11.10 at 10:16 am }

Definitely funny. And I have seen this sort of vintage snobbery take place, but not often. But yes, more vintage for us! Did you like my cat fight picture?! LOL.

8 Candy { 05.11.10 at 10:23 am }

When I was a teenager (in the ’90s) I started wearing vtg ’70s to be unique and stand out from what I called all the “normals”. I still wear vtg (mostly the ’60s now) partly out of habit, but mostly because of the quality. Yes, it’s indispensable to know how to sew a hem back up or replace a button or two because there will be some vtg pieces that need tending to, but mostly I find the quality of vtg fabrics and craftsmanship to be far superior to modern clothes. Every once in a while I’ll buy something from Modcloth thinking I like the silhouette and the price is right, but every time I’m disappointed to see it’s made out of unflattering broadcloth cotton, it has crooked seams, the stitches already coming loose, etc… it’s like this, I’ve found, with all the fast fashions. I’m still wearing 40 year old dresses I bought 15 years ago. I somewhat doubt someone who shops exclusively at Old Navy can say the same.

9 Chandra @ShiftC { 05.11.10 at 5:02 pm }

You hit every nail on the head!
I wear (and like) Vintage because I find the clothing to be feminine and figure flattering. My wiggle dresses, pencil skirts, and tie neck blouses work well for me!

10 eyeliah { 05.11.10 at 7:08 pm }

pretty much the same reasons, and also because it is more affordable (when thrifted) and more sustainable (fabrics used).

11 Daisy Fairbanks { 05.11.10 at 7:19 pm }

She like the Liberty @ Target?! That stuff was awful, bad fabrics & construction, Great on the hanger, but cheap & disposable! So just with that statement she proved your point. Anyhoo, I’ll always be a vintage fan. For all the reasons you stated above.

12 Glamoursurf { 05.11.10 at 9:44 pm }

Very well stated Sandra! I couldn’t agree more with all your points. Wearability, sustainability, value, workmanship, and just STYLE.

13 Prêt à Porter P { 05.11.10 at 10:17 pm }

I haven’t forayed into vintage clothing, but I do have a few pieces of vintage jewelry. I think vintage is good for jewelry because you’re most likely getting something of better quality at same price the fast fashion shops charge.
I will say I think taste level and having a good tailor/seamstress is important when wearing vintage. It’s not about wearing a costume, I believe things should be made modern.

14 eva // èvoluer { 05.13.10 at 10:56 am }

I love this article! I buy vintage for almost all the same reasons. And im petite so I find that styles from the 40’s and 50’s are very flattering for me.
love you blog and will be back again!

15 liz { 05.13.10 at 1:26 pm }

Just because it “looks” vintage doesn’t mean it is..Paisley and pit stains probably came from someone’s closet in Martha’s Vineyard where the wearer figured “well, some poor soul won’t mind the pit stains”. Also, it would have been nice if she named any reputable brands with good fabrics and craftsmanship now

16 Andi B. Goode { 05.13.10 at 10:34 pm }

I didn’t find her article particularly funny. Sometimes sarcasm can be funny but I do remember it’s the lowest form of wit. ;]
I agree with all of your reasons and really couldn’t say them any better. One other thing – her comment about each piece of clothing having a ‘story’. Yes, it’s true that we often don’t know that story but it has a history. You can imagine that story. Even if it’s NOS you think about where it has been stored for so many years and why it’s only come to light now! Also, many people ask those who are selling the clothes to them for the stories behind each garment and can pass it on to others, when they know them.
-Andi x

17 skinny buddha { 05.14.10 at 1:41 am }

very well done, you bring great arguments to the table. obviously that person does not know what she is talking about wheather it be vintage or modern chain store-pieces. quality, craftmanship and timelessness are the criteria we should all take into account when making a purchase.

18 Karen @ Bobbins And Bombshells { 05.14.10 at 9:10 am }

Amen! I’m still wearing 1950s vintage I bought in the 80’s. I can’t tell you how much modern clothing has come and gone in my closet. The vintage stays and fills me with joy!

19 Alicia { 05.17.10 at 1:25 pm }

Sounds like someone had a bad experience…I like your list much better. =D

20 Sandra { 05.17.10 at 6:40 pm }

Thanks Alicia!

21 Sandra { 05.17.10 at 6:56 pm }

Hi Karen! I agree. This is why I spend so little on everyday modern clothes and would rather invest in well made – vintage and modern.

22 Sandra { 05.17.10 at 6:58 pm }

Hi Skinny! I think shopping quality is a lost art in our modern, fast pace world. We want everything fast and cheap. We definitely need to get back to smart purchases.

23 Sandra { 05.17.10 at 7:01 pm }

Hi Andi and Liz!
You ladies do not mince words! I thought it was a bit funny because it was a bit absurd. But yes, I do question if the author knows that there is so much wonderful vintage out there. Sans pit stains.

24 Sandra { 05.17.10 at 7:05 pm }

Hi Eva! I looove your blog too. I’m so thrilled you stopped by!

25 Sandra { 05.17.10 at 7:12 pm }

Hi PPP! I love vintage costume jewelry too! I definitely look for modern flair when I shop for vintage. Love your blog BTW!

26 Retro Chick { 05.18.10 at 4:44 am }

I read this article, and I just thought she sounded incredibly bitter! I wondered if maybe her husband had left her for a vintage dress :o)
I can’t afford designer vintage, but buying vintage means the stuff I CAN afford genuinely does seem to be better made than what I can afford on the High Street (which would pretty much be Primark)
I also wear it because it’s a bit different, and, like you, I like the silhouettes.
It’s also a fact that in certain style (particularly pencil skirts and dresses) most modern clothes won’t fit me as I have a 10″ difference between my waist and hips, which isn’t common among modern body shapes. Sadly I’m also 2 or 3″ bigger than the average 50s woman, so getting stuff that fits still isn’t a breeze!

27 Hollis { 05.18.10 at 5:21 pm }

Sandra,you said it perfectly. But if her not liking vintage means more vintage for me, hey, I can work with that. And thank you for the kind words – you absolutely made my day!

28 Dusty Rose { 05.19.10 at 8:11 am }

I’ve seen your blog a few times in my wanderings and have always loved it, but just got this link and am so glad to see that you posted your response to that article. It’s fine to not be into vintage, but there’s really no need to diss the people who do like it. Silly.

29 Agnes { 10.31.10 at 2:01 pm }

Amen to you!!! I really don’t know what to make of that other person’s article other than she had to make a deadline and just wrote a rant because she had to. Her comments and snarky criticisms of vintage just go to show her poor viewpoint and short-sightedness when it comes to real style. I feel happy though, because that means one less person to worry about when vintage shopping and more vintage treasures for me!
Congrats on such a fantastic, well-written response. :)

30 Sandra { 10.31.10 at 10:38 pm }

Agnes, I got that impression too. And you are absolutely correct – more vintage for us!

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