Monday, November 22, 2010

What is vintage these days?

Is is it vintage? source BBC
These days defining what makes something vintage is an interpretational thing. With its original meaning relating to the age of wine, vintage can be applied to a multitude of things but for the sake of this blog I am focusing on clothes and the period associated with it. Some of you may have seen the interview I did with Karlee from the blog Gatsby and Me. I asked her the very question of what she defines as vintage and her response was:

“I think people confuse the terms "vintage" and "retro". For me, Vintage is around 50 years back from the present - 60's clothes are my "cut off." I don't agree with 80's and 90's op shop finds being sold in chain stores like Sportsgirl as 'vintage" for $80! Retro to me means 70's-90's.”

At the site Fashion Era explains the definition of many collectors of vintage clothing:

“So you may be shocked to learn that many collectors of used quality clothing define items as 70's vintage or 80's vintage. A vintage purist will tell you that anything within the past 15 years should be referred to as contemporary. I have to agree.”

However her personal opinion differs:

“In my opinion this is anything from 1920 onward to 1960. Personally I do not think that in selling on websites you should use the word vintage for anything later than the sixties decade. It can of course be used in conversation to mean an ageing interesting garment, but when selling, sticking to a realistic date to mean vintage is important and shows you really understand the concept.”

I sought the perspective of my mother for this topic only for her to respond with:

“Any clothes not from the digital age.”

Which could either be interpreted as the late 70s or the 90s.

From this assignment I have learnt that what people see as vintage changes from person to person. I find that a good thing because I myself am I one for people having different views on such a thing. My own definition would be from the art deco era to the psychedelic prints age in the sixties. Retro for me is the late 60s to 90s and also contemporary things that are inspired by the past I see as retro (such as full skirts, etc.)
What is your own personal view of what is vintage?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The A-Z of Vintage part 4: S-Z

A big thank you to Retro Jet Girl for helping me with some tricky letters! Muchly appreciated :)
Also I couldn't think of anything for X. That is all.

S is for Stocking one of the key foundations in an outfit during the 20th century. Initially made with silk or rayon and in 1940 the introduction of nylon saw stockings being made from the said material. During the war when resources were used for the war stockings were scarce. Women tried different means to give the appearance of stockings like painting a line at the back their leg to give the illusion of a stocking seam.

T is for Teddy Boys a sub culture and fashion style in the 1950s worn predominately by teenage boys. The look was inspired by the Edwardian period and they brought attention to the teenage fashion market. The sub culture first started in Britain following the war where boys would save up to buy tailored suits. Today Teddy Boys is associated with the other sub culture of Rockabilly.

U is for Undergarments. If you were to wake up in 1950 and have to get dressed for the day you'd the have to start with foundation, undergarments. You'd have to wear high waisted knickers, pointy shaped bra (possibly longline), a girdle, stockings, slip and crinoline. Through out the 20th century underwear went through some major changes. In the earlier part of the century women were still expected to wear the corset but by the 1920s differences in materials made it less restrictive. In the 40s women camisoles and drawers were sewn out of old parachutes and in the 50s advancements in fabrics introduced colours to undergarments.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The A-Z of Vintage part 3: M-R

Time for the second last A-Z of vintage!

M is for Make Do and Mend the ethos during the rationing of the second World War. During that time there were restrictions on fabric, trims and other provisions meaning that women had to make their clothes to go the distance. Instead of getting a new dress women might've made a collar or worn a scarf to change how it looks and also there was an emphasis on repairing instead of disposing. My grandma said she used to draw a line on the back of her leg and powder them to give the look of stockings because they were rare.

N is for Nylon the synthetic fabric first developed in 1935 and revolutionised our clothes. In 1939 nylon stockings were shown at a fair creating excitement and changed the production of hosiery due to its popularity. During the war it was an alternative to natural fibres such as silk. In the 50s the blend of cotton and nylon created 'wash and wear' clothes, garments that dried quickly and didn't need ironing. Its popularity is still evident today. Thanks nylon!

O is for Orlon a bulky synthetic fibre popular in the 1950s. Its uses were for sweaters but the fibre was later developed to fit more needs, I recall seeing it on an ad for hosiery. Despite its promising past the fibre did not have the staying power of nylon and was completely discontinued by 1990.

The A-Z of Vintage part 2: G-L

Time for the second installment! I have been busy writing all of the assignment up so it's guaranteed there will be a post tomorrow.  I had some tricky letters so I have got some actresses to fill the gaps however if anyone has anything better I'll edit it ASAP (plus the help would appreciated greatly).

G is for Girdle the mid 20th century's answer to the corset and an early version of modern shape wear like Spanx or Nancy Gansz. Its popularity can be seen from the 1920s to the 1960s. In the 1920s women who wanted to achieve the popular tubular look but wanted freedom to move (especially during dancing) the girdle was used and well during the fifties after the New Look (previously discussed) to create the hourglass wasp waist.. It didn't use restricting boning like corsets rather more elasticised fabrics to shape and smooth. Because stockings were an everyday essential back then girdles had suspenders and some even had brassieres incorporated to create a corselette or merry widow.

H is for Hats, one of my grandmother's four everday essentials, the others being shoes with a heel, stocking and gloves, during the forties and fifties. Each decade has its own signature style whether it be the cloche from the 1920s or the pillbox of 1960s. The short hairstyles of the 20s saw the hats mimic the styles, hats of the thirties went back to wide brims and high crown while the rationing of the 1940s saw less trims and smaller hats, scarves were used as alternative being tied into turbans and other variants. The 1950s, being the decade of glamour and opulence after the war, introduced more floral embellishments to hats as well as the pillbox, however with changing hairstyles the hat started its demise. The last decade of the 20th century when the hat was prominent was the 60s. The hats were bright and colourful like the clothes with various styles. The pillbox was a popular hat favoured by Jackie Kennedy.

I is for Ingrid Bergman the Swedish born actress who was one of the leading actresses of the 1940s. She starred in the cinema classic Casablanca alongside Humphrey Bogart. She was apart of the Golden Age of Hollywood lasting from the end of silent films in the 1920s till the 1950s. Fun fact, people used to think my grandmother looked like Ingrid.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The A-Z of Vintage part 1: A-F

Hello everyone! Here's my second assessment piece I have completed for the project. Since this is a 'guide to vintage' I will be presenting you with the A-Z of Vintage. Part one! I will be posting it in four installments over the next few days because it's quite lengthy to write and post all at once.

A is for Atomic prints, amazing fabrics from the 50s/60s that featured interesting shapes in mostly pastels. They have that whole 1960s futuristic thing going on that I personally love.

B is for Bakelite the most famous early plastic synonymous with the Art Deco period and was used into the forties. It is made from carbolic acid and formaldehyde to form a sort of resin. Some examples of Bakelite products are jewellery, radios and telephones. It's other name is polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride. Try saying that five times.
C is for Crinoline an undergarment that makes skirts really pouffy. It was originally made of rigid fabric that looked like a cage and was worn in the 1800s to get the extreme skirt silhouette. The 20th century crinoline was made of tulle or some sort of netted fabric and was popularised in the 1950s because they were worn under all the full skirts.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Interview with Karlee of Gatsby and Me

Hello! Today I will be presenting you with an interview with Karlee from the wonderful blog Gatsby and Me. (More after the jump).

1. When did you first become interested in vintage?
I started wearing 50's style shirt dresses in Year 9, when I was about 14 for two reasons - 1) They were cheap from the Op Shop near school and 2) No one else was really doing it. Wearing Op Shop clothes in the mid 90's was not very popular!

2. What is your definition of vintage?
I think people confuse the terms "vintage" and "retro". For me, Vintage is around 50 years back from the present - 60's clothes are my "cut off." I don't agree with 80's and 90's op shop finds being sold in chain stores like Sportsgirl as 'vintage" for $80! Retro to me means 70's-90's.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Me reading avidly
Hello there, I'm Ruby!
I have started this blog because I had the privilege to do a school project on anything that fancied me, so I chose the topic of 'vintage'.
My fascination of vintage stems from my parents who have raised me with a knowledge of the 20th century and have encouraged me to pursue what I love. I have dressed in vintage clothes since I was nine because of the beauty of the clothes and because of having a desire to be different. I am now 14 and my passion still hasn't changed.
On this blog I will essentially give a guide to vintage and what does it mean today, hence the name.
Thanks for reading thus so far and I can't wait to start!