Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Value of Vintage

I’m trying hard to understand the appeal of vintage clothing. Is the idea that the styles “back then” were better or is the point to make a statement that you are daring to buck the current fashion trends?

I had dinner with a friend last night and her daughter Carolyn, who had just taken a job at a vintage clothing store on Capitol Hill. She is totally enamored with the merchandise in the store. She has picked out things she just has to have and things she thinks would look good on her mother. Even with a 20% discount, she could easily spend every penny she makes at $10 an hour.

As we ate our Mexican food and drank Coronas, I wished my daughter was having dinner with me. I miss her so much some times. I remember when she searched the attic for even one article of vintage clothing, bemoaning the fact that I didn’t keep my hippy clothes from the days of my youth. Who ever knew that those bell bottom pants and flower child shirts would be prized possessions some day?

Maybe I’ll stop in and check out Carolyn’s shop in my effort to understand this fascination with clothes from a bygone era. Maybe one of those cute little vintage sundresses (with a price tag 5 times its original price) will remind me of something my mother wore or even I wore. Fashion has always tended to mystify me!


Blogger Kristin said...

I'm not particularly fashionable. I've never been one for vintage but I suppose there's something to be said for wearing something nobody else has.

3:44 PM  
Blogger EJ Takes Life said...

Especially in DC, where it's so easy to fall into the "knee length skirt, Ann Taylor twinset" trap, I like the idea of wearing clothes that come with a story. I bought my favorite leather blazer at a vintage store in Michigan and the clerk told me it was probably over 40 years old. Who knows who else might have worn it and what adventures they had?

3:59 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

My mother was a fashionable young woman with a dress maker. I borrowed her classic clothing all through high school. There's a vintage shop near here and I love looking through the dresses - unfortunately, women must have been much smaller then because I harldy ever find anything my size. I wonder if there's a source for vintage sewing patterns?

PLEASE don't bring back fashions and colors from the 70s however...

4:28 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I think that's it: a desire NOT to be just like everyone else. Actually I think that's commendable!

EJ -- Clothes with a story sound much better than "made in China by some 12-year-old girl" as many of the Ann Taylor types must be. Just as I used to repair broken toasters so as not to throw them out, I like the idea of recycling clothes that are still fun and wearable. You and Carolyn have piqued my curiosity. I'm going to have a look at this store and maybe some others in search of something off the beaten path, which is starting not to have much scenery.

Pauline -- Of course there are patterns. I think it might be fun to make something like this. Maybe I've stumbled across a new way to use my time!

4:54 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

omg - pattern heaven! I may have to give up blogging for sewing!

6:24 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I think it's a romantic sentimental journey to the past, with string emotional attachments that makes it fascinating..."The Way We Were" type of thing...and yes, that does connotate "better", I think.

I love Victorian and the WarTime styles!

8:29 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Now for me It HAS to be a vintage Halston or Christian Dior (In my acid-induced hallucinogenic DREAMS, maybe).

Besides, who can even fit into those 18" waists anymore?

9:33 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

BTW- checked out the Vogue Couturier pattern line- FABULOUS!!The 1940's stuff is very Audrey Hepburn. One major flaw- the size 14 pattern was a 32" bust and a 35" waist- I don't FREAKIN' think so! Who the hell were these waifs anyway?

9:37 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

I know, I know the '40's wasn't Hepburn, but really, look at the clothes- those dresses work!

9:38 PM  
Blogger - Manda said...

There's actually a whole movement dedicated to vintage style clothing and accessories. Check out http://www.hydrogen2foxygen.com for clothing that's never been worn before, but has that vintage flair.

9:18 AM  

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