The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | Outfit

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.comThe Etymology of a Vintage Blogger |

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.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger |

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.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.comThe Etymology of a Vintage Blogger |

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.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | www.eccentricowl.comThe Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger |

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.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger |

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.)

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger | The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger |

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.

The Etymology of a Vintage Blogger |

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.

Happy Wednesday!


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  • Mona

    I think this look is very cute! The skirt is lovely, and does have a 50’s feel to it, even if it’s 80’s.
    I would probably say I’m in the “dabblers” group. I like to wear vintage inspired, but I’m not much for true vintage (it’s so expensive). And like you I don’t want to be stuck in one specific style, or era. I like to dabble with vintage 😉
    Much love,

    • Eccentric Owl

      True vintage IS expensive. It’s my dream to one day buy one of the dresses on my loved list from Etsy, but they’re pretty pricey and I feel it would have to be a very special occasion to warrant the purchase!

      Dabbling is the best place to be, in my opinion! <3

  • nmettille

    Oh this is a very good addition to the list because there is definitely an ecclectic and collected look to committed thrifters. I’d fall some wear in between a thrifter and a dabbler. I’m in love with vintage of all eras but, I participate in modern trends if I enjoy them. I can’t afford the beautiful vintage boutique items so, I thrift or make my own.

    And that SKIRT! I can’t believe such a beauty exists! You have the best luck. That is a dream skirt.

    • Eccentric Owl

      Me, too. I love vintage of all eras, but mostly make my own and thrift stuff! And I like the versatility that gives us — we aren’t as limited to wearing only one certain kind of garment or silhouette!

  • Karissa Tucker

    love it! I, too, thrift out of necessity and got into vintage that way. Someone at church this past weekend asked me “what era is that?” and I did a lot of stammering. I can never settle on one. 🙂

    • Eccentric Owl

      Haha, I can never settle on one, either! Usually if people ask what era I am, I just give an overall era I’m going for. Several people at the store said I looked like I was from the 60’s the other day, and I just went with it even though I was really in a 50’s silhouette.

  • SaraLily

    It’s hard to categorize anyone! Sure, us retro-loving gals are heavily influenced by vintage/retro wear but we all are so unique and put our own spin on it. I’d like to think I’m a retro gal with a modern twist. I love the style, the full skirts, the pinup-esque silhouettes on occasion but I dislike makeup and will never get too involved with my hair. Does that make me any LESS of a retro pinup girl? Not at all!

    I do like the categories she used, she explains the differences very well and love the examples she uses (off to discover new bloggers to follow!).

    • Eccentric Owl

      That is so true! I don’t feel like I have found a blog similar to mine (in loving the 40’s/50’s aesthetic while having to be practical as a breastfeeding mama, or a pregnant woman) but there are a lot of people who could also fall into my “category.” I think they’re just all very wide, diverse categories!

  • Lyndsey M

    I agree with you so entirely much in this whole post!!! You nailed it right on the head. I happen to think the thrifters are a TON more creative, if you ask me. I feel like the rest are a bit stuffy and very unrealistic. I don’t think it really matters about the authenticity of whether a piece is truly vintage or not, just the way it’s styled.. but all that is definitely my opinion! My main problem with finding vintage is I am limited to only vintage accessories. The sizes are just wayyyy too small for such a big gal like me! I gave up my dream of wearing authentic vintage years ago and for my whole life I have worn what fits me, not what I have necessarily considered “my style”. The industry is *finally* learning that bigger women do infact exist and desire to wear non-black clothing, so I’m slowly getting there! ;P

    You look beautiful in your wannabe-vintage ensemble, ESPECIALLY with that peach skirt. OH my stars, it is southern heaven over here. AAAANNND I HAVE TO KNOW HOW YOU TIED YOUR SCARF LIKE THAT. Show me your ways!

    • Eccentric Owl

      I think it all depends on what people want out of their style! Some find true joy in wearing period-authentic clothing, which I TOTALLY get, because it’s really thrilling to me to find authentic 1950’s garments (even if they won’t fit me), and it’s super fun to dress like that. It might not be as realistic through all stages of life, but it’s fun when you can! And I agree that Thrifters get to be a lot more creative; it’s a more open field, because you don’t have to worry as much about the period-look of a garment, and you mix things in ways that people who fall into more specific categories might not. I find most joy in wearing things that are colorful and creative while still evoking a vaguely 40’s or 50’s era, but I am not super focused on ACTUALLY wearing 40’s or 50’s era stuff.

      But, I have to say I really admire people who ARE complete devotees — they are so beautiful to look at!

      Isn’t it amazing? And Noelle said she just found one on Etsy that is the exact same, so she will possibly be skirt twins with me! AH. I love it. I might put it up for swapping.

      Oh, it’s super easy! It’s the style that starts 4 minutes into this video, I just tied the ends in a bow instead of tucking them under:

  • Emily

    I identify with everything you said SO much! I am always drawn toward styles that evoke a vintage feel, but I am just NOT period-specific and really don’t like pigeon-holing myself into a particular look or era. I go through moods/phases where I’m drawn to certain things, but it’s so fluid. I could never do head-to-toe … anything, really! At least not consistently for any period of time. But there are common threads that I come back to again and again.

    Side note: I absolutely LOVE this look! I’m with Lyndsey and I want to know your scarf-tying secrets 🙂 Mine always look all bunchy and weird and not elegant when I try to get more volume like you have here. And I don’t blame you for keeping that skirt – the colors are just SO lovely!