|Title: is dressing 'vintage' stifling my individuality?
Posted: Wednesday, 27 March 2013 @ 23:28
I'm pretty sure that most people who read my blog do not slavishly follow trends - heaven forbid! I imagine they don't even keep up with much in the way of modern fashion. I'm guessing, if you're reading this, you probably belong to some kind of alternative culture in one way or another and probably disdain mainstream style as lacking in individuality and creativity. And I totally agree with that. Wearing the 'must have' dress from Primark just because you've seen it on a celebrity doesn't make you stylish. You're not putting any thought into that. You're not expressing anything of yourself - except perhaps that you're lacking in creativity or, at the very least, afraid to share your creative side with the world.
But recently I've begun to question the very idea of 'style tribes' (which is a terrible and quite appropriative term by the by but moving on). There is one to suit pretty much everybody - whether you're an Essex girl, a raver, a hipster or a vintage girl - they're all there. But is any of this actually any better than copying an outfit because you saw it in Look magazine? Each little group has its own look - and yes, we could argue that within the vintage community there are many types of looks and there totally are but that isn't the point I'm making here - and follows the rules of that pretty closely. When I get too caught up in the vintage world, I find myself questioning whether my hair looks 1943 enough to go with my dress or whether this shade of blush would have been appropriate for day time wear. Whether or not I like it, whether it expresses what I want to express, it all seems to go out of the window.
Sometimes when I'm shopping, I'll see a really cute dress but I'll think to myself 'oh, it's not very vintage looking, I can't get that, it won't go with my style'. The thing is, if I like it, what does it matter whether it fits into a 1940s aesthetic? I love seeking inspiration from 1940s fashion magazines but I have decided that slavishly copying them isn't for me. Of course there are many wonderful guys and gals who do and it works for them and that is their hobby - recreating the fabulous looks of the past. But for me, clothes have to express something more than just 'I like the 1940s'. To be honest, my tastes are more wide and more varied than that. I love Pre-Raphaelites and sometimes I want to grow my hair really long and who cares whether it's too long to put in victory rolls? I love the 1960s and ye-ye girls and Francoise Hardy and I want to wear thick eyeliner and sing in French. I love medieval history and I want to pretend I'm Elizabeth of York or Anne Neville in velvet gowns. I don't want to be tied down to one style. I want to wear all of these things, all at once if I want. I'm not going to stop looking at vintage clothing for inspiration. I'm not going to stop wearing it. I'm going to keep pin-curling my hair and wearing red lipstick because I love it and it suits me. But I'm not going to let it define me.
Also, my apologies for the stylistic awkwardness going on over here at my blog, I'm messing around with the layout and my coding is shockingly poor!