I’m not really a vintage blogger.
When I started this blog I ran a vintage and second-hand clothing eBay shop. I posted little collages of clothes I had for sale, jazzed up with a few modern accessories, and sometimes of modern clothes given a retro look. I had the strapline “Vintage Clothing & Retro Style” which is probably still dotted around on old abandoned outfit sharing profiles and defunct social media sites.
My first ever header.
Then it evolved, and as it evolved, so did “vintage” I found my vintage bargains for my outfit posts in charity shops and on eBay and I posted outfit photos and hair tutorials. I might not have dressed totally authentically vintage, but I set my hair every day and had an authentic midi cut. Then, while the rest of the world was discovering “vintage”, covering it in bunting printed with cupcakes, learning to knit, sew and crochet and pushing up the prices in Charity Shops to the point where my anger at being faced with a £10 second hand Primark dress made me begin to abandon them, I discovered running, and roller derby. When you spend at least 4 days a week getting all sweaty and then having an hour to get ready to go out suddenly that authentic midi cut becomes a pain, and elaborate hair sets an occasional occurrence (I actually do still set my hair in a very simple way most times I wash it, because I’m far too lazy to blow dry it!)
So now I have a bob, I have a gym wardrobe almost as big as my regular wardrobe. I wear a lot of vintage inspired High Street, because those hours trawling the charity shops aren’t as productive as they used to be and cost just as much. I run, sometimes I lift small weights (I’d lift big ones but there aren’t any in my house and I can’t afford the gym), I roller skate and I wear a mouth guard and a helmet and I hit people, then I go home and I drink protein shakes and cocktails and I order Chinese food, which I occasionally eat off of vintage plates.
Photo courtesy of Near the Coast
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pin curls and finger waves, victory rolls, stockings and red lipstick, but I’m increasingly finding that the rest of the world assumes things about you when they hear the word Vintage.
So today. I decided it was time for a confession.
I’m not vintage at all, and here’s why.
Well, I can whip out a hotel sewing kit and sew on a button, or badly stitch a seam, but I can’t even take up a hem without wundaweb. I won’t be knocking up a circle skirt in an afternoon because I have nothing to wear tonight, I’ll be popping into Primark, hating everything, and then digging my trustworthy black dress out of the bottom of the washing basket and spraying it with Febreeze so no one can tell.
I have the hugest respect for people who can sew. You are amazing, but please don’t offer to teach me. I turned 35 this year and have spent about 25 of those years convincing myself I will learn to sew. I am too impatient. I made a pair of shorts at school when I was 12, I measured everything perfectly, but forgot you had to allow a means to get in and out of them or extra allowance for actually moving, so while everyone else spent all summer in their lovely shorts, I had a pair of hot pants the exact same size as my body with no way in or out of them. I had to pay for that fabric too.
At all. I worked in a wool shop when I was 15 and they tried to teach me with no joy. A few years back I got a video and some knitting needles and some wool that have never made it out of the packaging.
Yes, I am jealous of all of you ladies with handmade, perfectly fitted authentic 1930s jumpers. No, I don’t want you to teach me how to knit. I have accepted that I just don’t have the patience for this crafty malarkey.
I’m fairly sure I could. I mean how hard can mixing stuff and following a recipe be? I don’t though.
Mr Chick occasionally bakes. I think it looks messy, you get dough on your hands when you have to knead things and flour all over the kitchen that you have to tidy up. I know several very talented local bakers who will sell me cakes if I want them, and at a pinch there’s Sainsburys. Personally I think it tastes BETTER when I haven’t had to spend 4 hours washing up the equipment and scraping dough out of crevices.
I used to, well, me and Mr Chick used to throw each other round to music when we were drunk, for one song before we got too knackered and had to sit down. Then we discovered vintage people don’t dance like that so much and they want to teach you steps and know what sort of dancing you do. So we stopped.
It looks TOTALLY cool when other people do it. Me, I find it cuts into my drinking time too much and I merely politely shake my head when people offer me their hand for a dance. I’ll occasionally throw out a quick Charleston step when no one’s looking though and sometimes I end up in the sort of nightclub where your feet stick to the floor and have to be dragged off the dance floor for my own safety if Christina Aguilera comes on.
Except apparently sometimes I do….
Why is it that whenever people throw “vintage” parties they want me to eat cupcakes? I’d honestly genuinely prefer a pork pie if it’s all the same with you?
At Naomi’s book launch a few years ago there were pork pies disguised as cupcakes, that’s my kind of party.
I think I was born in the perfect era. One where I get to play around with the looks of all the decades that have come before, largely without judgement. One where I can pull out the glamour one day, and then go to the supermarket in my Roller Derby kit the next without anyone caring.
I live in an era where the washing takes an hour in a machine, and the washing powder comes in little capsules, an era where I can earn my own money, keep my name when I get married and talk about politics without being told not to worry my pretty little head about it. I like this era. I have an app on my phone that tells me where the nearest pub is and another that tells me what the weather will be like. IT’S THE FUTURE! The 50s sucked, the 30s and 40s probably sucked even more, especially when all your loved ones were being called up to certain death in a field in the middle of Europe. I might occasionally harbour the odd fantasy, normally part way through an episode of Poirot or Jeeves & Wooster, that I might have quite fancied being a rich upper class woman in the late 20s and early 30s. Mostly, though, I’m happy right here.
I think there are 2 pieces of floral fabric in my house. One of them is a large modern print floral on my bedroom curtains. The other is a slightly twee floral on top of a vintage blanket box that you can never see as it is covered in clothes. I own a few very “girly” frocks, but I really have to be in the mood for them. Puffed sleeves, bows, ribbon belts and flounces, unless in serious moderation, make me feel like I’m wearing a 5 year olds party frock, and I’m not a 5 year old, I’m a grown up who can change a plug (probably, I might have to look it up first).
Seriously. I’ve loved books my whole life, but I welcome the arrival of the kindle as it means I can carry hundreds of them around with me at all times.
Email and texting? Awesome, I need never have an actual conversation using my voice again unless I really actually want to. I hate phone calls, writing letters is a pain and you have to take them to the post box. It might be lovely to receive a letter, but once you have it you don’t want to throw it away as it is special, and thus your house is full of bits of paper that you will never again read and your relatives will send to the local charity shop when you are dead where they will either be thrown away, or sold to other soppy vintage people who will cut them up and make them into art, or post photos of your private correspondence on the internet, or whatever its future successor will be called.
My TV? It’s right in the middle of my living room where it belongs. No, not taking up an entire wall with it’s immense 60″ stylings, only stupid people do that unless they live in a mansion, but it is where I can see it. Not hidden in a box or behind a curtain that will flap around and mean I can’t see the latest episode of SHIELD properly.
There it is look, I didn’t even tidy up before I took the photo!
So there you have it, my confession.
I might swig my fizzy wine from vintage coupes, wear gloves and carry a parasol and fan on sunny days, but I’m afraid my dress probably came from Warehouse and I found my way using Google Maps.
Should I be hanging up the word “vintage” from my vocabulary? What vintage cliches do you not fit into?