Sunday, 5 December 2010

Born in the wrong era? A vintage rant.



I am a tad (read hellishly) hungover and so I apologise for the rant but this blog is about something that really bugs me.  What is it that causes me such rage?  It is when perfectly intelligent, reasonable, adult women state that they were "born in the wrong era."  So many vintage aficionados seem to do this and it is something I'm seeing mentioned more and more. Personally I find this sort of comment incredibly naive and shortsighted.

I suppose it depends on what attracts you to vintage in the first place.  For me, and I think most of my vintage loving friends, half of the fun is in the looking different.  It isn't just about liking a particular era for its aesthetic, it is also about standing out.  Many of us have come from the goth, skate or punk scenes and this is an extension of the enjoyment we always had in dressing differently.  A more grown up take on it I think.

Let's think about this then.  If this is something you enjoy about wearing vintage, well, if you were actually living in the 40's you wouldn't stand out.  You would look just like everybody else.  Not so much fun then, perhaps?

Also, if you were living in those "times gone by" you would not have as much opportunity to actually find a way of looking different.  We are lucky in that these modern times, in the first world countries in which we live,  we have the freedom to express ourselves through our clothing more or less without fear of attack or being ostracised from society (a notable exception being the case of Sophie Lancaster, a terrible story, truly shocking).

Back in the "Golden Era" only the very rich and thus charmingly eccentric were really allowed the luxury of being visibly different, the average girl on the street would need to confirm to societal norms which were quite restrictive, if she didn't want to be the target of damaging negative gossip.

We also live in times of plenty in comparison to the 30's or 40's where we would not be able to afford our vast wardrobes of finery - how well would any of us, with our eBay and Etsy addictions, really cope with clothing being rationed.  Only 48 coupons a year, 11 for a single dress, 2 for a pair of stockings.


Is it because you want to be a housewife?  Seriously, no one is stopping you.  You don't need to go back to the 50's to have that life if you want it.  Feminism gave us the CHOICE to do what we want whether that is becoming a fire woman or baking cakes and cleaning house.


If your hankering for the past lies elsewhere, in the politics of the era perhaps, then that concerns me even more.  Do we really want to go back to times of racial segregation and child labour?



We live in great times really; of anaesthetic, running water, central heating, effective contraception, freedom of speech and the internet!  I am happy to be living now and not in the 30's during the depression, not in the 40's during the war.  Hurrah for 2010 (though it has been a hard year) and for 2011 to come.

What are your thoughts?  Would you really want to live back in your favoured era and why?

 

62 comments:

  1. I'd like to see them trying to use a dolly peg and mangle outside, without cetral heating for a family of 6, that's what a house wife did in the era they want to be born in.

    Yes, I could rant on, I'm a good deal older than most on this scene, infact I'm bleeding vintage myself.

    Trouble with this day and age is everyone is equal and in truth
    i'd have been a servant back then, so no thanks I am so seriously in the RIGHT era.

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  2. hahayy, that is so true my dear..or I also hate when,they say "oh I seen pictures of my grandads pin ups and fell in love with the style." or I used to watch my mom dress in vintage which is rare.
    I agree I also in the right era.

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  3. Miss Matilda - that is exactly what I mean. I would be firmly stuck in the service class too. Nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. I pwrsonally am learning to live in the moment and enjoy what I've got. We are all living life pretty damn good in comparison to where we'd be in bygone days.

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  4. I agree with you 100%. With that being said, I would not say no to a quick trip in a time machine to stock up on some cute stuff before I came back ;)

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  5. oh I forgot to add..and "hell no Morrissey ..I really couldnt cope with out Morrissey in that era,lol"

    huni go enter my give away!

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  6. Oh yeah, I'd love to take a trip, buy loads of beautiful dresses and then come back again. I'm greedy like that. Tut at my modern values. ;-)

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  7. Even looking at family history gives you an idea of how pants it was then. My grandma? Wired up to an ECT machine. I'm so bloody glad I don't *actually* live in the 50s! however, it was nice recently having breakfast four mornings in a row in Ed's Diner, which is kind of like having breakfast in the 50s. But without enforced housewifery, and I can live unmarried with my boyfriend without being a scarlet woman. And have tattoos. And reliable contraceptives. And a cure for TB. I could go on....

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  9. I love your post. Very thought provoking.

    For me, being involved in the rockabilly scene, it inspired a love of things from the late 40s to the early 60s, but I do appreciate the 30s and 40s deco period. Because I love the music, I want to be immersed in the culture, which includes vintage. Being in the culture does not mean that have the same morals and values of that time, but I do respect a lot of them.

    I like dressing and looking this way in a modern age. I like well dressed women in designer clothes stopping me and telling me they like my "style" and asking where I purchased my dress.

    Personally, I think the reason I have always been attracted to this era is because the cut of the clothes are flattering to the type of figure I have. If I was rail thin with no hips, I might be attracted to modern clothes or even repro clothes since I am into the rockabilly scene, but a nipped waist and full skirt are best suited to my figure. Even modern repro don't fit me well, compared to vintage. I have shopped for clothes to wear to work, and have yet to put on a dress that fit me well and was flattering, so I wear mostly vintage to my modern job.

    I think what people who long to live in a different era like is the glamor of that time. The only time you see celebrities, with all their money, look glamorous is when they are on the red carpet. Going to the market they look like slobs (except the exceptional Ms. Von Teese).

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  10. Don't want to be nasty about stuff, I love the scene as it is, people spout poop, in reality life then was not as romantic as people think, oh and make a coal fire every morning to keep every one warm...i could go on and on and on.....see everyone wants to be Ava, Bette, MM etc etc,
    for my day job I am a nurse and quite frankly no way would I EVER want to be a vintage nurse....

    (I did a mis spelling xx)

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  11. Yes, the time was glamorous IF you were rich. Being a housewife in the 40's day to day was anything but. You had to get up early, make your husband breakfast, clean the house, sort out the children, knit your own clothes, make dinner out of nothing and all while trying to look pretty when clothes, make up and hair products were not available. It bothers me when people can't see past the surface.

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  12. I can understand why people say it tho!

    Challenge sit in a Lancaster over Dresden and see if you can take it( wicked am I not)

    However, I do think life was less fast paced before the war and would have been quite reasonable because everyone knew their place, so to speak!!!

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  13. Oh certainly, the late 30's would have been fun if you had enough cash. I boggle at how complicated things can be...I once found myself almost in tears in Tesco's trying to decide which of the hundreds of laundry detergents to buy.

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  14. I agree with you, it's better to live in 2010! But I don't think my love for vintage fashion is a way to stand out...I simply like fifties dresses because they're made for my figure!;)

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  15. My ex husbands granny was one of the 30's party set, was always in awe of her.

    Hung out with Ed V11 etc etc.

    I've seen both sides of the coin within my family circle....

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  16. I agree with you, I like vintage clothes and homeware for the challenge, the quality over new things and the fact that it's more unique than Ikea etc. I wouldn't want to give up my macbook, Kitchenaid, car and all of those other luxuries for all the tea in China. I also have a career in Science and even 20 years ago it would have been a rarity for a woman to work in my industry. I love being a modern woman!! :-)

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  17. I am definitely from the wrong era. My life is exactly like a housewife from the 1950's. I don't have much money so I am used to having only a handful of clothes. I don't have a washing machine so I wash all my clothes by hand. The only advantage I think I have is that I get to use the internet at my mum in laws to look up information on recipes and household guides. I don't have any modern equipment I don't even have a phone line.

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  18. I utterly agree with everything you've said here! I think it's really important to think about why we like the era so much but also to think what it actually meant to live then

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  19. The lack of civil rights is the worst part about any era preceding our own. However I am not attracted to modernism as an aesthetic. I don't like modern furniture I absolutely hate modern art and I don't like modern clothes.
    I don't think I'm born in the wrong era but I also think our culture's obsession with modern aesthetics is so boring and annoying.

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  20. I'm not keen on modern aethetics either, but I'm also sure a lot of people in the 50's hated the mid-mod look, and that the nouveau fans didn't like deco.

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  21. Nooo, thank you. I'll take my pretty 40s frocks with a side of modern technology and advance antibiotics, please. I'd also hate doing laundry outside in the dead of winter, beating out the rugs, and any host of other things my grandmother did.

    (Marian the Librarian)

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  22. Interesting post, Lisa. I supposed if one was actually FROM a previous era, you wouldn't know about modern medicine, cars and phones for (almsost) all, the internet, brilliant washer/dryers, easily available yummy food, clothes for pennies, the welfare state, etc and therefore wouldn't miss them.... its going BACK in time that's the problem. I wonder how 'quaint' our lives now will seem to our grandchildren.

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  23. What an interesting conversation...

    My attraction to vintage clothing, and antiques in general, isn't about "looking different" for me. I'm simply in love with social & cultural history, and I get a real thrill out of wearing or owning clothes and objects that were a part of our rich past. If I had been born in the 20's or 30's, my guess is that I would have liked vintage then too - and would have been seeking out clothes/antiques from the 1850's.

    Lisa, I just have to say - you write very intelligently for a woman with a hellish hangover! ;-)

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  24. Interesting post which I have been pondering on the way to work this morning.

    For me, my style of dress directly reflects my interests. Always has. It is not a way for me to “look different” or “stand out”. That said – you don’t have to go for too look out of place in today’s society obsessed with jeans, UGGS and jogging wear ..( when not remotely thinking about a moderate stretch - let along a jog). I am a history geek. I pride myself on it and would not attempt to dress in a certain vintage way if I didn’t know about the era. For me - its anything WW1 or WW2 - mainly from a female perspective. Why WW2 in particular? Because I feel it something to be immensely proud of, and just like The Great War- it must not be forgotten. So I remind myself on a daily basis. I have read more books and watch things on the 2 eras - from both enemy and ally viewpoints - than I have eye space for. And there are heaps more to go. I choose to dress in a 40’s way because I feel it suits me more than a WW1. Or the Tudors. Now, that would just look silly.

    But - as for being “born in the wrong era” - no. We have it the best we have ever had it in many respects. But I feel that a hankering for the past is a natural thing when we are faced with people who can live in a community and never talk to one another, a lack of respect for elders and the welfare state as a career choice. I am sure that “back then” there were things that irked people just the same (aside from the obvious bombs and rations). It’s all relative. But, live without a today’s mod cons? UGG-off.

    I cannot believe that you can write this constructively when suffering with a ripe hangover! I hope it has subsided :o)

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  25. Thank you. This is something I've been saying for a while and it has bothered me how naive some people can be who are into the vintage scene.

    I struggle to find anything in my size because I am a size 18-20 and those sizes are not easy to find so I put together creative homages to the eras I adore and I am glad that I can do so. Yet I get noses-upturned because I'm not wearing all vintage or faithful in reproduction.

    I think we would all struggle if we had to live like yester-year. Things weren't as glamorous as they seemed and although we have less community spirit, from what I can tell (I'm very much into social anthropoly) things were much more rough and we really don't know how lucky we are.

    I'm still as yet to see, for example, women turning up with tea-stained legs with hand-drawn seams.

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  26. well lats face it none of us would be posting messages here for a start!

    I have encountered the same thing myself and ranted about it myself. I conclude that if someone won't talk to me or my friends because we're not 'authentic' enough for them then they miss out on some very lovely and interesting people!

    Though I have always suspected I would have been a terrible hussy if I had been about when all those GI's hit the U.K.........
    ;-)

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  27. Fun post! I think you are quite right on wanting to stand out from the crowd. That is not a bad thing, it just is.

    Better to be honest about it.
    Just think if 20th cent. vintage elegance would be mainstream… *shudder*

    I'm with Miss Mathilda here, being one of the "vintage grannies" ;-) I know first hand stories about yesteryear, and no, it wasn't all fun.

    I also do love history and my curious nature makes me want to timetravel.

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  28. I totally agree with you! To be honest I suspect people don't think before they say that kind of thing. It tends to be a flippant, throw away comment that they just haven't thought through.

    Sometimes people say it ABOUT me. My Mum is particularly fond of saying it.

    I think of myself as a particularly modern girl, to be honest. I love technology, I'm independent and what I love most about the modern world is that we can choose to dress in any style we damn well please!

    I think people end up wearing vintage for lots of different reasons, sometimes it's to look different, sometimes because they like a more elegant look, sometimes because they're drawn to social history and get involved in re enactments and that kind of thing.

    For myself it was probably a combination of an urge to stand out, and the fact that I've always loved to be feminine and a more lady like look (but then I probably liked that as a way to stand out when everyone else was in jeans and trainers!)


    I am utterly with you on the complicated though. I've also found myself close to tears faced with a bewildering array of fabric softeners and washing powders. Buy the next one up from the cheapest one, that's my advice.

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  29. Boy you have started something here! Very interesting post Miss ….

    Because I’m mainly into the aesthetics of the era rather than the every day living, I’m certainly glad to be living in this era, so to have the best of both worlds- the style and morals without the many hardships, etc. Though, I do think our modern society has lost a certain something that was present in those bygone days.

    For a lot of us, time travelling would be impossible- we are all too use to this life and what it holds for us- it’s just a romantic dream, we just wouldn’t be able to cope.
    Just like people time travelling to the future would find living difficult! It’s all relative If our standard of living, society and way of thinking didn’t change throughout the eras then, this could be possible- we would stick out like a sore thumb if not!….. Oh, I could go on forever!
    I’ll just add….. that I dress this way because, the history, social history, and style are my passions- it’s just another way to express this, so I don’t do it to stand out or to look different….. Tups x

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  30. Some ladies from my family had a lot of fun. They were fairly drunken immoral types though, one side of my family were poor enough not to give a monkey's what people thought of the: Shaws undeserving poor writ large.

    My extremely intelligent grandmother did well in the 30's as a young communist, and in the 40's she had an interesting war. It was actually the fifties and sixties that did for her. The sixties was quite a horrible decade for many working class girls, liberation and equality my arse. And we've still got a way to go now.

    It is the style and optimism of the 20's and the verve of the 30's I admire. But you can stuff all that war, poverty and domesticity. x

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  31. I'm interested that a lot of you say you don't do this to stand out,
    because surely you ladies get approached in the street too, have your picture taken etc etc. As much as it is a pain sometimes I am sure that if we didn't like it at all we would stop dressing the way we do.

    Thank you for all your lovely, long and well thought out comments.

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  32. You're spot on!

    Sometimes people can assume that because you dress in the style of a certain era or are interested in the culture of past decades that you want to be living in the past, which is way off for a lot of people into vintage, as you've shown.
    x

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  33. I have to say I actually WOULD like to live in the past, and I'm trying my best. My parents were born in 1944 and 1945 in Switzerland and in the UK; I am 24 but I was raised with the attitudes of my peers GRANDparents instead of parents...and European attitudes at that.
    My mother is a seamstress and her family were the bakers in her town, my father was an accountant and was raised by a single mother on social assistant. Neither were rich, both ALWAYS saved money and used it well. They came to Canada in 1970 with nothing. Move from a 1 bdrm apartment to a townhouse to a house in the span of 7 years or so. The last 33 years were spent in a house which was custom built is now paid off. It has a huge garden about half the size of the backyard, which fed our family for most of winter. My mom reuses EVERYTHING and always has. She fixed our clothes or made us clothes. She made our diapers.
    Yes we had "modern conveniences", but we ALWAYS acknowledge them as exactly that. A CONVENIENCE. Not a necessity. And THAT distinction is huge in my opinion.
    As for rights and what not, our world is far from perfect as well. I think I would have preferred a world where my "role" was laid out for me a little easier. Just as many people 'utopianize' the past, many people take its problems and blow them out of proportion as though out world now is perfect. Forgetting often that the main difference between the two worlds is not society itself, but the presence or absence of MEDIA.

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  34. I came here via Fleur's twitter. I have been thinking about similar a post for a long time -I know exactly what you mean!

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  35. Oh, I'm not utopianising the present at all. I personally hate the world, the overcrowded life I live in London, the aggression on the streets etc. I'm massively dissatisfied but I suspect that is more personality trait than anything... But I do think that there is an excess of nostalgia around. Perhaps its these lean times (comparitively) that are making people hark back to the original make do and mend era with rose tinted glasses.

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  36. Part of the reason we came to Guernsey is it's much slower paced and people are very friendly, you actually know your neighbours and most people are incredibly polite and the whole place is like stepping back in time with all the mod cons.

    I do think people lack and miss that sense of community that has eroded due to the way our communities have evolved. Obviously this is my take on why
    folks like "vintage" after all we are our own little community, even online, having never met in some cases. Hope that makes sense, prolly not as am typing as I think xx

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  37. Very good post! It drives me nuts when people say this, cos lets face it even in recession, most of our society can eat & heat their homes. My mum told me about times before the NHS, I would not like to have experienced that.

    I love modern technology, I love that we can talk to people all over the world with similar interests. I love that I can buy clothes & homewares that I love from the other side of the world if I choose.

    I've been 'into' vintage for so long now if I tell you it would reveal my advantaged age he he but I got into it via the music side of things, I loved the music, the fashion, the homewares, I didn't think of it as a standing out kind of thing but of course it does attract attention.

    I wouldn't swap my 40 something life now for a 40 something life then, I'd probably be a granny by now, whaaaaaa!!

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  38. Very interesting post!
    I personally started dressing vintage because I have always loved how pretty and girly everything is. The clothing is suiting to all body types and being a very curvy girl I need clothes that suit and todays clothing just doesnt do that for me.
    Also, for me I'm very into my arts and design and the design of everything from cars to kitchen appliances strikes me.
    What I also love about the 40's/50's era is that women even though they had their 'place' were still very strong willed/minded and without them the men couldnt function.
    I am a modern housewife who works part time, I do all the cooking and cleaning and generally look after my husband as a women from yester year would but I would not be without my modern conveniences.
    Soceity for me seems to have gone downhill over the years with violence, teen pregnancies etc
    and I think that sometimes I do daydream about the romantics of living in that world but it would never be as I imagine.

    This post is amazing that someone has finally said it!

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  39. Came over from Fleur's Facebook post. I love the hair and dress styles of times gone by. I like that women wore more dresses and that men wore more suits and dress shirts. That's it.
    I like the ideas of simplicity also but my gosh, could not survive without all my pretty blogs I follow :).

    Seriously though, good points for us all to ponder.

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  40. Oh and I say agreed! with the multiple comments on liking vintage style dresses as they fit the figure of a woman with some curve so well. I own requisite jeans and uggs and sweats but I detest self when I wear them.

    When I wear dresses I always get so many compliments as most women in my world wear jeans or pants. I in no way want to stand out as am a knocking on 40's door housewife, part time worker, mom.I never was skate or punk or goth. I'm so average. I admire the dresses of the by gone era style and wish they more readily found as they are pretty and omfortable....sigh. Plus I wish I grew up knowing how to pin curl.

    A fun post! Ta Ta!

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  41. Are there really people out there who believe life was rosier before emancipation and central heating? Blimey.

    Out of interest tho ...

    I followed a blogger *jitterbug* (I think she's stopped posting now) who was actively trying to live a 1940's lifestyle as an experiment - It makes for fascinating reading!
    http://destination1940.blogspot.com/

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  42. I agree completely. My grandmother had to escape from Nazis in her nicest dress and high heels in the 40s, if it was me I would probably have fallen down a ravine and died but she made it to England! I, on the other hand, escaped to London on a plane where they served me coffee and I got to watch Tom and Jerry for two hours. 2010 > 1940 in a lot of ways.

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  43. Whoa nellys this comment is anon 'cause I don't wish to sign up to a google account. Re these serious comments..humans have always been sentimental about the past, always will be to! Forget the pop psychology and judgment. Just wear the clothes, listen to the music and dance your own dance. Live and let live as 'they' say.

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  45. I tend to agree with you. Interesting post.

    I love aspects of the past, but embrace the freedom and liberation (not yet fully realised!) of the present day. There are values of the past I approve of, and many I do not. I would not like to live the the 1930s for example, not just because of the material hardship, but societal norms and laws.

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  46. I too often wonder with humor at what vintage lovers like myself would actually DO if we were to be transported back in time. For me the attraction to vintage is one part aesthetic and one part uniqueness-factor. As a visually-oriented person I do sometimes wish I could live in a more aesthetically beautiful world because contemporary design and architecture annoy me dreadfully. It's a pet peeve that I'm constantly reminded of, which is depressing.

    Yet, what would I DO back then? All of my knowledge would be common place in an era when sewing, knitting, proper clothes care, are common knowledge. Everything I love to collect, all of those one-of-a-kind things would be mass-produced commodities easily available for purchase. There would be no individuality in collecting those things anymore.

    Funny enough, in my case at least, in 1938 my step-grandmother was no worse off than I am now. Better, even, but I know that that is a rare case indeed. She was also 18 and in college, being supported by her parents. She went on to become a professional housewife like many women, but one with a college education.

    The past may have been more beautiful, but perhaps that's not the most important thing in life. I like equal rights, my education, the internet for all of the information it has exposed me to, the freedom to dress differently, birth control, and so much more.

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  47. As to "doing vintage to look different" - it's not my main motivation, to be honest. I just *like* it. I've "dressed vintage" since I was 16. I liked how people used to dress, preferring it to the modern world, and so one day decided I'd just dress like that, and not care what anyone think.

    Bearing in mind I was at school at the time, and got abuse of people constantly - bearing in mind at one point a bunch of boys waited for me at the gates and pelted me with stones.... I didn't particularly enjoy sticking out, but I knew that the only way for me to be happy with myself was to dress in a manner which pleased me.

    I actually hate it when people stop me in the street to comment on how I look. I don't mind friends or work colleagues doing so, but I don't like my internal monologue being interupted! and when people say, "Wow, I love your hair!" I find it very hard to say, "Really? Yours looks shit!" But then I'm an arsehole.

    I just like what I like. Saying that though, once things I like start to become popular, my tastes subtly change - but it's not a conscious revulsion - it's not "OMG I just saw something I like in Top Shop! CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE can't look the same as everyone else!" Maybe it's subconscious? Maybe I'm just waffling.... Ten years ago I lived in ballet pumps (Audrey Hepburn-style!) and they were nigh on impossible to buy - now of course they're everywhere and I don't wear them anymore!

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  48. This is almost like a copy of my thoughts, I've actually been writing on a similar blog post for a while now! Thank you for this one!

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  49. "..because surely you ladies get approached in the street too, have your picture taken etc etc. As much as it is a pain sometimes I am sure that if we didn't like it at all we would stop dressing the way we do."

    Picture taken? In the street? Never. I must be doing it wrong. Odd looks sometimes - but never an "excuse me.. can I take a picture of you". They would get a swift eye brow raise, followed by a "jog on".Unless they were a sweet old man and I reminded him of his youth. I wouldn't go up to a punk , goth or other "ooh they look different" catagory and ask for a picture. I have been asked "how do you get your hair like that" a couple of times whilst queing for something or t'other, but not for a long while. Maybe its the constant "jog on" personna I have?

    At an event - like V@G - yes. I had my pic taken by a whole heap of people I had never seen before or since. But it seemed that anyone who wasent dressed as Austin Powers was getting the same treatment, so I took it on the chin.

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  50. I wrestle with this quandary every single day. Do I actually want to live in the past or do I choose the past as a style so that I can 'stand out' nowadays.

    I can't say I've come to any conclusion, but as I'm more of a Sixties/Seventies girl, the contrast is slightly less marked and I think I probably *would* rather like living back then. Not least because I would ensure I was wearing chiffon and crepe in amongst a sea of polyester ;)

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  51. Hmmm...For me, dressing in vintage, mainly 40's style cloting, is inspired by war brides and women left behind. I started really getting into vintage when my boyfriend was deployed and i could only find comfort in reading and watching things about women and families missing their loved ones during WW2. I didnt have a lot of support from friends, i live away from my family and the ADF gave me nothing. So its really about escapisim for me.
    Ive always been a history nerd and i love costume design and textiles. I dont know if id like to live in the past. I think the idea of the past is what were attracted to. Im sure that soldiers wives felt much worse than i did and will in the future, and im sure that they had much less support than I, but its the percieved community and commradery that inspires me.

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  52. Without anything of intelligence to say:

    hear hear!

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  53. This is such a great post! I fell for vintage for the exact reason that you mentioned. When I was a teenager, I had bright blue hair, wild and crazy clothes and that was fun for me. I've always loved off-beat fashion. When I was 23, I discovered lolita fashions and really loved it but being 23, I would have looked like a lunatic skipping around in ruffles and pink not to mention, I found out that I was expecting my first baby. A pregnant lolita? No thank you!! Then, I found modern girls wearing vintage. It was unique but still elegant and classy enough for a grown-up mom. I wasn't born in the wrong era. I was born in an era that allowed me the freedom to express myself however I like and that is a beautiful thing!

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  54. I kove to hear story of everyday life from my grandma, but if I really think abot it...well, I would never survive that era :-) !!!

    B.

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  55. I think we have a lot of great things today that weren't available then, obviously. But also, there were some things good that we don't have today--great dance halls and night clubs, for example. And you didn't have to have lots of money to get in.

    Life back then was hell for some and nice for others, depending on were you were from, etc., but that is not really too different from today. My grandmother was more or less a housewife but was not oppressed or loaded down with housework; she was permitted to have a job of her own, as well, so I suppose not all husbands were chauvinistic; my grandfather certainly did not expect her to be a 'servant', as I think many people mistake about that era.

    You've made a very good point overall, however. I'm just saying that if we could have a little bit of the wonderful from back then mixed in with the good from today, that would be faaaaabulous. :D

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  56. I love your blog, and I appreciate that your approaching it as a fashion statement. But being neither naive nor shortsighted , I believe some of us have very valid feelings, and do feel as if we were born in the wrong era, or maybe we have lived before.

    I must clarify the I am perfectly happy with my life, the modern conveniences I enjoy, modern health care, etc, but I do have to question, have I lived before. I was brought up not to believe in reincarnation, and I am not sure that I do, but it could be the reason why I feel so comfortable looking so out-of-sorts to others.

    To me its not a fashion statement, I am not deliberately trying to look different from others. Frankly I really don’t care what other people think about the way I look, I dress to please me, and I have my mom to thank for that!

    Whether it’s a fashion statement or a way of life, I think we can coexist together without being negative towards one another, life is too short! Or is it! LOL

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  57. I found your blog from Fluers Facebook, really interesting points here. My hubby & I have debated this point several times in the past. I inherited my love of Vintage from my Grandmother who taught me all she knew including jolly good manners. I don't think I would like to return to the 1940's but like others, wouldn' mind nipping back for a quick shopping trip.
    For me it is the very essence of Romance. My Grandparents were so deeply in love, they wrote almost daily in the WW11 and my Grandfather was an intelligence agent who looked so dashing. The clothes, the music, the styles are just so elegant.
    As my Grandmother says " You could tell who was Arthur or Martha from behind".
    I do love my modern comforts & freedoms but can't help thinking that the modern woman has taken them just a tad too far and that current surge in everything Vintage might not be a bad thing, including Parenting & Housekeeping skills ( but that's another post altogether)
    For now I am content to read lovely Blogs, eek out pretty Vintage finds for my home and persuade my Husband to get up and dance to Benny Goodman.

    Fran
    http://teensntwincesses.blogspot.com/

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  58. Having been born in 1954 I could be said to be vintage myself! I hated the lack of colour at the time, no stuff in the shops, no real colour in homes (which were mostly cold and damp). Loads of childhood illnesses to get through prior to vaccines, children had to sit still and behave (good and bad aspects to this) and were frequently beaten "for their own good". Snobbiness abounded, we were looked down on as working class and poor, any girl who "got into trouble" usually because she didn't know much about the "birds and the bees" anyway, was thrown out by her family and lived a shabby, secretive life as an outcast, the child bearing the scars for life. Mothers, unless very working class (and then it was slightly shameful not to afford to stay at home) were on a strict rota of washing on Monday, ironing on Tuesdays, the windows cleaned another day, the bedrooms, etc. What a dull life, it bored my mother to tears (literally, I saw it many a time). No one really discussed anything that troubled them, even between husbands and wives or close friends.

    But yes, there were better things too. Christian values still hung on from the Victorian age so(even if you didn't go to church as such) helping people and putting others first was still the norm. Less emphasis on having stuff and therefore less waste and things really were valued and special when you got them, you loved them and wore them until they wore out. All women knew what fabric was what from the feel, and could tell if was a good quality, if a garment was well made or not and if it fitted properly. Most would have sewn to some degree or another. Most women could again cook and saw it as a basic element of life to know how to feed a family cheaply without waste again.

    I would never have got into uni as a working class child of the 50s, I had to wait until my thirties for this, going onto postgrad study in textiles even later! Actually I am slightly out of step with friends my own age as I love vintage. I love the recycling aspect, slightly quirky aspect and it being more original than buying from M and S, etc. Please note I still have a competition open until tomorrow to win a vintage 60s length of cloth on my blog - theremnantbox.blogspot.com. which I've just started. Its about my using a collection of remnants inherited from auntie last year and also ongoing advice and articles for my students and anyone else. Also if you have any questions about making up anything, I can sew clothes, etc, etc. Love this site though, fantastic stuff!

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  59. Having been born in 1954 I could be said to be vintage myself! I hated the lack of colour at the time, no stuff in the shops, no real colour in homes (which were mostly cold and damp). Loads of childhood illnesses to get through prior to vaccines, children had to sit still and behave (good and bad aspects to this) and were frequently beaten "for their own good". Snobbiness abounded, we were looked down on as working class and poor, any girl who "got into trouble" usually because she didn't know much about the "birds and the bees" anyway, was thrown out by her family and lived a shabby, secretive life as an outcast, the child bearing the scars for life. Mothers, unless very working class (and then it was slightly shameful not to afford to stay at home) were on a strict rota of washing on Monday, ironing on Tuesdays, the windows cleaned another day, the bedrooms, etc. What a dull life, it bored my mother to tears (literally, I saw it many a time). No one really discussed anything that troubled them, even between husbands and wives or close friends.

    But yes, there were better things too. Christian values still hung on from the Victorian age so(even if you didn't go to church as such) helping people and putting others first was still the norm. Less emphasis on having stuff and therefore less waste and things really were valued and special when you got them, you loved them and wore them until they wore out. All women knew what fabric was what from the feel, and could tell if was a good quality, if a garment was well made or not and if it fitted properly. Most would have sewn to some degree or another. Most women could again cook and saw it as a basic element of life to know how to feed a family cheaply without waste again.

    Actually I am slightly out of step with friends my own age as I love vintage. I love the recycling aspect, slightly quirky aspect and it being more original than buying from M and S, etc. Please note I still have a competition open until tomorrow to win a vintage 60s length of cloth on my blog - theremnantbox.blogspot.com. which I've just started. Its about my using a collection of remnants inherited from auntie last year and also ongoing advice and articles for my students and anyone else. Also if you have any questions about making up anything, I can sew clothes, etc, etc. Love this site though, fantastic stuff!

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  60. This was really interesting! I tend to think that most people who think they were born in the wrong era don't know enough about history. I was born in 1973 and even in my time there have been distinct improvements in healthcare, civil rights, social mobility through education etc.

    I am too old and fat for modern fashions, but really, the 50s? Where the be-all and end-all were synthetic fibres and convenience foods and not telling anyone that you could hear your neighbour beating his children? Not for me.

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  61. Good points, but I would still LOVE it.

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