Yesterday, Skye posted about the different categories of vintage bloggers that usually pop up when reading blogs. There’s the Dabblers, who are usually all about “vintage with a modern twist”, the Retro-Pinups, whose closets are full of Bernie Dexter or Hell Bunny and who usually have tattoos and brightly colored victory-rolled hair, and the Devotees, who dress head-to-toe authentic vintage, down to the hat and gloves. As I read her post, I agreed with all the examples and categories, but we also chatted about how the list certainly isn’t exhaustive.
We came to agree that there really should be a fourth category — the Thrifters. Those of us who enjoy vintage, who were introduced to vintage through thrift shopping, and who wear it often, but who use modern pieces and thrift most of our things out of necessity. Budgetary, location, or otherwise. I think I fall most into this category.
I absolutely love presenting a look that is truly authentic. I love wearing head-to-toe vintage. But, I also love creating a look that mimics a vintage aesthetic without actually having to hold true. I mix modern and vintage out of necessity — I can’t afford boutique vintage, I have kids who are in the messy hands stage, I need breastfeeding-friendly and pregnancy-friendly clothes — and out of a joy for fashion — I love to mix patterns and colors in ways that likely would not have been done in my preferred vintage era, but that still evokes that era in spirit — and I love the thrill of a good thrifted find.
This outfit is very much an example of that fourth category. Everything was bought from a thrift store, garage sale, or sale rack. The skirt, scarf, and brooch are true vintage, while the shoes and cardigan merely evoke a vintage feel. But none of it is from the 40’s or 50’s, which is the era I most identify with sartorially. Herein also lies a larger reason for why I have never become a retro pinup or a vintage devotee, even though I adore both aesthetics: I don’t like feeling trapped into one super-specific persona or era.
If I were to restrict myself to one or the other, I would have been less likely to purchase this glorious skirt, which is a 1980’s concoction of pure heaven, because when I feel like being historically accurate, I am prone to going full-on accurate. Like, I will only wear period-inaccurate shoes because it’s impossible to find 50’s shoes that fit me. And really, if I were retro-pinup I probably would spend less time thrifting and more time on Modcloth.
But I do find myself curating my style more and more towards an aesthetic that is part pinup, part vintage, and part practical mom. I’ll take the victory rolls and the pinup curls along with the vintage garments that evoke the 50’s, and leave anything that needs dry-cleaning… and no easily-smudged red lips for me, thanks. (Although, I do have to try some Colourpop lippies, because Noelle says they are absolutely the best and totally kid-proof.)
This is the first time in all my years of fashion blogging that I have felt myself settling more and more into a particular style, and I really love it. While I will probably still foray into occasional hippie-land, I’m comfortable here in the “she looks 50’s but she’s not” land.
Cardigan, Target | shoes, garage-sale | skirt, brooch, belt, and headscarf, thrifted | earrings, grandma’s.
Are you a vintage-lover? Which category do you find yourself falling into most? Or should there be another one?
On a side note, I found this skirt and had every intention to sell it until I tried it on and got a closer look at the amazing print. It has pears, apricots, cherries, and strawberries on it as well as the flowers, and the colors are just too perfect! There is a skirt of similar colors in my shop now, though, if you love this look and must have it. 😉
I really need to quit trying on the vintage I find to sell. I end up keeping too much.