Thursday, September 18, 2014

༺ Why I *don’t* Wear Vintage Every Day ༻

When I talked about “Wearing Vintage ~ Real world vs Blog land" and "Why I Wear Vintage" I really liked being able to explain some of my thinking behind the style choices I make.

So the part of the conversation that comes next ~ as I am sure you have already guessed from the title of the post ~ why I don’t wear vintage every day. Or more specifically, why I only dress in vintage style when leaving the house for outings.

*gaspshockhorror* right?

Here’s the thing though, dressing vintage from head to toe every day is something I thought I would do, and wanted to do from the very first time I fell for the vintage dress style.

I adored the purist look ~ the chic 1940’s street wear with polished attire from hat to gloves, to matching purses, shoes and belts, to fully fashioned stockings. I admired the cupcake styles of the 1950’s circle skirts pouffed up with layers and layers of tulle under cute, kitsch novelty prints, paired with elegant peals and a perfect coiffure.

I wanted to do that. I wanted to be that glamorous woman who looked like she just stepped out from a time machine or photograph every day.

The Running of The Leaves 1940's vintage outfit post | Lavender & Twill

So I eagerly started creating and curating my own collection of vintage pieces ~ focusing on 1950’s day dresses to start with, and any 1940’s pieces that I could find within my budget.

I yearned after stacks of bakelight bangles, sighed over fabulous forties frocks and drooled over feminine day dresses. And isn’t that half the fun?  Taking your time to build your wardrobe, finding your perfect pieces, hunting them down, and the thrill when you find it ~ the one ~ yay! yay! yay!

But as time goes on with my slowly growing collection, I’ve found I have also had a few lifestyle clashes with my preferred style of dress.

Off On An Adventure 1950's summer style post | Lavender & Twill 
Up there in terms of big life events ~ well, two precious blessings of joy have made their way into our family, and I am now a mother of two busy little people, with a third one on the way.

Babies are hard on vintage and that’s the truth.

I have to crawl on the floor, resign myself to snotty noses wiped my shoulder, change nappies, clean up all sorts of messes ~ not to mention cleaning the house. I wish I could throw a dainty apron over a pretty frock and be as glamorous flitting around inside the house as I feel when I do go out.

But bleach everyone! Bleach! How can I even dare to have that near vintage fabric? My one and only of that dress. 

No worries you say? Buy reproduction? 

*sigh* I wish! It’s as expensive to buy quality reproduction that will last as it is to buy original vintage, and that elevates those pieces to “Can’t wear it if there’s any chance of wreaking it!” along with my vintage items. 

Sew my own?

I do, but again… The items that I make are few and far in between ~ maybe two to three pieces a year is all I can manage. So yes, they immediately fall into the ‘precious’ category as well.

And… All The Bleach!! 

As a result, I find vintage clothing really hard to incorporate into my at-home-day-to-day wardrobe. I do try and dress vintage whenever I am out for errands, or social events.  It doesn’t always happen, but I think I do manage to succeed about ninety-eight percent of the time. But it’s a different story when I don’t have anywhere to go, or anyone outside of my family to see.

Case and point - Rilakkuma cape with fuzzy bunny pyjama pants | Lavender & Twill

My vintage wardrobe simply isn’t big enough to cope with all the demands of life, and I don’t have the ability to round it out far enough to cover the necessary ‘at home’ wear. 

So around the house I tend to opt for cute lounge wear that I find on sale instead ~ like a scalloped mint sweater, or a loose t-shirt with a kawaii panda bear face on it. I wear ordinary jeans {because hello, love my Freddies as I do; too expensive to wear everyday!} and sometimes even pyjama pants…  Well, a pregnant lady with all day nausea isn’t exactly glamorous, and neither is her outfit apparently!

Then there’s all the hobbies ~ horse riding which requires very specific attire, and snowboarding is the same deal to keep you dry and warm on the lifts and when you hit the snow {in a bad way  (> . <)’ }….

Got A Ticket For The Long Way Home 1950's vintage outfit post | Lavender & Twill

So why is this something I am sharing? 

I guess it’s because I’m coming to terms with the fact that no, I’m not a “Purist” vintage dresser ~ I could aspire to be that, but I don’t think I’ll ever get that far, plus I really can’t see myself wearing vintage under garments. Just no… 

I’m not even an “Every Day” vintage dresser with pin curls in my hair, but that is something I do still want to keep working towards.

I find myself reluctant to admit that’s going to take a while, and might not even be possible for me at the current moment of life I am in.

But I don’t like feeling like I am slacking from my commitment to the style of my dress and wardrobe by sullying it with mundane, pedestrian, ‘Mom’ clothing.

Then I ask myself, why do I care? Who’s judging me? 

I’m wearing these clothes because my lifestyle at this point often dictates and demands{!} comfortable, hard wearing, easy washing, mundane, pedestrian, Mom clothing!

Then I perceive that I am actually passing judgment on myself….

Let’s be real here ~ I am judging myself for not reaching the standard I want to achieve with my attire and for not being “true” to my style on a daily basis. I’m obsessed with making sure I don’t “let myself go” and give into the Mom jeans look.

Way to add pressure I totally do NOT need right now.

Blue Lolita 1950's vintage outfit post | Lavender & Twill

So what’s a vintage loving perfectionist like myself going to do when ideals and reality are at a cross purpose?

Here’s my plan of action ~

I am going to assess my vintage wardrobe.  What do I wear the most? What do I enjoy sewing? What silhouettes am I drawn to, which ones work best on my body? {Not always the same thing!} What’s my style? I classify it as girly-retro-china-doll, but what does that actually look like in terms of color palette, fabric textures and cut of the cloth?

Next I’m going to ask myself the same questions about my at-home wardrobe ~ and see how that lines up with what I’ve already got and what I tend to purchase. 

I figure that even if I can’t wear vintage all the time, at the very least I can still wear clothes that I am happy to put on and that don’t make me feel bad for not dressing in vintage that day.

It’s about accepting where my life is at and learning to live with it. It’s silly to be miserable over what I put on my body if I’m having a cleaning day, or mess-centric baby day, or a “I’m-stuck-on-the-couch-sick” day, rather than an “I’m-going-to-be-fabulous-in-this-dress” day! 

Maybe one day I’ll wear vintage every day, but for now, that’s a while away… And I can be happy with that.



༺ ♡ ༻

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  1. Candid, excellent post, dear Bonita. There's this communal mindset that we should apologize/feel bad if - gasp, horror of horrors - we don't wear vintage 24/7/365. That's crazy! Vintage isn't a uniform, it's a wardrobe of choice that is supposed to bring us fulfillment and joy, and if that means not wearing it sometimes, for whatever reason, because doing so in such instances might have the opposite effect (bleach on a genuine 50s frock, for example, and the heartache that would entail), than so be it! There are no written-in-stone-rules that we must abide by with how we dress (thankfully!) and one's love of/passion for vintage is not determined solely on how they dress by any stretch of the imagination. Always be true to your own sartorial heart and wear vintage, or not, any ol' time you want.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Isn't there just? I don't know why that is so, but it somehow makes you feel like you are less of a vintage enthusiast, or less of a vintage blogger if you are not 100% in your favourite style, or style of choice every single day.

      Thank you for your encouragement though, it feels good to finally 'fess up and not be judged for your own choices. ❤

  2. I too started out thinking that I wanted to look like I stepped out of an old photograph everyday but that's just not practical for me either. At my job, I have to wear pants a lot. And I teach chemistry lab so no precious Freddies there for me either! And I have three birds at home who love to sit on me and investigate my clothes and occasionally leave behind a little pile on my shoulder. For me, it felt like I was having a bit of an identity crisis for a while but I'm on my way to figuring out the new me who still loves vintage but doesn't have to dress up every day.

    1. I can totally identify with the identity crisis aspect for sure Stephanie! I think that's what prompted me to write this post.

      I wanted to figure out a way to be a vintage enthusiast who loves the style, but just can't work out a way to wear vintage every day.

      It does feel sort of strange to call myself a "vintage gal" when I *don't* wear vintage every day, but I know I am that at heart, so I guess it is ok to still classify myself that way! ❤

  3. I don't really ever wear *actual* vintage, but I do tend towards a kind of vintage feel. I don't have kids, so this may not work for you, but my housework uniform usually consists of cheap high waisted jeans, a t-shirt, a flannel shirt tied at the waist and a head scarf. I feel cuter then when I'm wearing my giant gym pants and a baggy top, but I'm not fussed if I spill something on myself! Like, you said though, there's a time and a place for comfy maybe not as pretty clothes! Your photos look lovely, and there's no shame in not looking perfect every day. I don't think there are many people who do!

    1. I totally agree with you Lisa about the need for clothes that make you feel cute when you are at home as well ~ and I love the sound of your 'uniform'. I haven't really been able to find cheap high-waisted jeans, or trust me, I'd be all over that in heart beat!

      However, sticking with colours I love, more retro feeling modern pieces, and of course ~ cute clothes makes me feel pretty good about my 'at home' wear.

      And yup, perfect every day is probably fairly impossible without a team of people to make that happen! Not something I'm going to have any time soon... ;D

  4. Great post. I personally don't have a problem with "dressing up" in vintage for special occasions and photos, and dressing differently at other times.

    I'm personally just a dabbler in vintage dressing at the moment, and I know I won't be an every day vintage wearer or even close to a 'purist'. What I want to achieve is feeling cute and like I am making an effort, but I also want to find a way to make that work without *actually* making much effort! I'm leaning towards casual looks with some vintage features, and looking to head scarves and hats as a way to feel dressed up while actually *saving* me the time of doing my hair. I'm also starting to love cropped jeans/capri pants as a cute jeans variation that add some interest (plus I found a super-comfy maternity pair that make me love life right now!)

    1. Mm, and I think that be comfortable in how and what you wear is so important and cute features is a great way to go about doing that! :D



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