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I Don’t Do Vintage Clothing {Gasp!}

I love vintage styles.  But I don’t wear vintage clothes.  And not just because it is hard to find professional-looking clothes in my size range.  It’s because true vintage feels costume-like to me.  Some women, like my sister, Jill, love that aspect, but it isn’t for me.

Instead, I go for “vintage inspired.”  In fact, I am wearing a skirt right now that was inspired by a McCall’s pattern from the 1950s.  It reads as a basic pencil skirt but there are no side seams.  When I finally got my hands on a copy of the infamous Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing, I discovered that it, too, featured a skirt without side seams.  I’d say I felt a bit smug about it, but our mid-century mentors wouldn’t approve of that type of behavior.

By focusing on vintage inspired, I am able to get to the essence of why I love vintage designs without feeling like I’m in a production of Grease. I’m also able to avoid some of the undesirable attention that some vintage bloggers, like Solanah, have had to contend with from strangers.

People that I know tell me all of the time that they admire my taste in clothing, that I’m glamorous, and they love my classic, feminine, style,  that I always look “put together” and professional.  They tell me that I remind them of Jackie or Audrey or Grace.  I appreciate those compliments because that is the image that I’m trying to convey: a timeless glamour.

So, don’t lament if you can’t find vintage clothing in your size or budget.  Instead, focus on the essence of vintage style.

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  1. I’m definitely more of one to wear vintage inspired style than actual vintage–I do really like the “vintage meets modern” twist that you can sometimes find, plus the greater availability of clothes that will actually fit me!

  2. I am the same way, love vintage and retro styles in clothes, but can’t and wont wear antying from a vintage or thrift store. I know there is way to find new clothes and still get the retro look. Found you from #SITSSharefest. Great blog!

  3. I used to love vintage way back when it was hard to find casual skirts and dresses. Now that fashion has swayed toward more feminine options I find it less necessary to look for real vintage items. Also I’m bigger now and vintage clothes just aren’t that big.

    Glad you’re enjoying your smug-full skirt! Ha ha…


  4. I love the look of vintage but completely get what you mean by ‘feeling costumey’. I do love the vintage vogue patterns and would some day love to actually make some of the dresses in those patterns with some modern updates. I think part of the trick to avoiding a costume look is to not go head to toe vintage. pick one piece of vintage and work it into your wardrobe. For me this usually involves a piece of jewelry.

  5. I too am for vintage inspired clothing and clothing made from vintage patterns, actual vintage clothing feels like a daytime Halloween costume to me, I question the stability of the threads and fabric, a mishap could be disastrous. Vintage accessories I use judiciously, but actual vintage clothing just isn’t for me. There’s something of an ick factor too, which I feel bad saying because I’ve been a full time antiques and vintage dealer for nearly two decades. I love the look on others, I can’t quite get there mentally for my day to day wear.

  6. I used to wear lots of vintage and I also struggled with it. One issue i have is just the amount of time spent trying to find the right thing in your size. The tiny waists…
    I am also sensitive to energy and find that used clothing just brings my energy down and feels cluttered, even when I cleanse it.
    Lastly, ive gained a tiny bit of weight… And Im starting to realize that I dont love how my body shape looks in classic clothes. My shape is an intense upside down triangle, broad shouldered and very busty with slim legs and tiny feet….in order to balance my figure i have to wear things like flared jeans, or loose drapey tops. Heels look silly unless they are a chunky platform. Bohemian style looks great on me! My hair and face also do not do vintage well… I have a naturally more 60s-70s boho look, with thinner lips, a square jaw, big eyes, and long flat hair that will never hold a curl or too much volume. Boho and flower child look seems to suit me naturally while lipstick makes me look odd, most of the usual curled retro hair styles look silly, and my shape doesnt work with classic tailored shapes – they are tight in the wrong places and i look frumpy. I struggled with this for so long and it always saddened me- i even bought Dita Von Teese’s book to follow her tutorials… but eventually just had to embrace my inner hippie/bohemian/tomboy and go for that kind of retro look, even Jane Birkin kind of look.
    Im so curious if anyone else is like that?
    I have friends who look so good in red lipstick, pearls and 50’s style dresses! But alas it is not for me i think…

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