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What draws you to the vintage eras?

Discussion in 'The Powder Room' started by angeljenny, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. angeljenny

    angeljenny A-List Customer

    I was wondering what it was about the older eras (40s, 50s, etc) that interests people. It is fascinating that it is such a long standing interest, not just a fleeting fad or something that follows modern trends as when retro was "in" style.

    Is it the fashion and beauty?

    Or is it the whole package with the traditional life and old fashioned roles in society?
  2. My Mom tells me I always have been. She says even when I could just barely walk and talk that I loved hats and ties and sweaters, and suits. She says when I was little, they thought it was just a little kid sort-of thing that would pass as I got older, and was likely influenced by my closeness with my Great-Grandpa. However, it never seems to have went away.

    I like the styles, I like the old-fashioned mentality, and the manners, and chivalry, which are very lacking in today's world.
  3. I'm interested in music, movies, fashion, architecture and social history.
    I'd argue that the old fashioned roles (I'm assuming you mean gender roles) weren't set in stone. Both my Grandmothers worked all their lives and I know for a fact that my Grandfathers participated in the household chores & child rearing. The 30's & 40's were also a time of diverse political views. It wasn't the conservative fantasy land that some people like to think it was.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  4. lareine

    lareine A-List Customer

    I am attracted to the idea that things were made well and lasted well and were mended rather than thrown away, and people were self-sufficient as much as possible. Growing/raising my own food and living off the modern grid as much as possible is very appealing, especially after we had to live with no electricity, water, sewerage, or shops for quite a long time after the earthquake in February and those things are still not something that can be taken for granted here. I also think the fashions were far more flattering to women than a lot of what is being worn today, and people cared about things like not looking or acting like a slob (e.g. wearing pyjamas in public at 4pm when out doing the grocery shopping).

    I'm not very interested in other aspects except as a stepping stone to the wonderful choices we have now. I like having the right to choose my own life and my own goals, which would not have been possible if it wasn't for the people who went before me.
  5. Precisely. One of my aunts was a longshoreman. There aren't too many Modern Women around the shipyards even today, but she did it in 1942, and stuck with it for years.

    Me, I'm a 20th Century person, simple as that. And what I've seen of the 21st so far fills me with no optimism whatever. Twenty-second century people will have eyes the size of cantaloupes, enormous thumbs, and no brains at all.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  6. It's the whole package that draws me to it. I live it everyday and the only thing different is the fact that I use a computer and when I walk out of my house, the people and the cars don't look right.

    I know it wasn't a "Frank Capra" movie back then, especially knowing the stories of my family, but it was still better in the fact that most people cared about what they looked like and had manners.

    Like Lizzie said....... I'm a 20th century person.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  7. I think I've seen more than a few out there that already look like that. :p
  8. Mass produced objects that allowed beauty to come into middle and working class homes. The idea that everyday things could be beautiful and stylish and tough.

    It's one of the reasons I collect oven glass- something you could cook right in, shove in the ice box, or serve on the table. And it was tough and cheap, but beautiful and functional.
  9. That's the thing. I was born into a world of black-and-white television, AM radio, manual typewriters, rotary telephones, full-service gas stations, returnable bottles, parking meters, downtown shopping, neighborhood schools, and locally-owned banks -- and I *liked* it that way. Nobody asked me if I wanted a change, nobody ran anything by me, I didn't get any kind of a vote. They just went ahead and balled everything up, but that doesn't mean I have to go along with it.
  10. Amen.

    I sure wished they would have asked though. I'd love to be able to walk out of my house and not feel like I'm on some strange planet.
  11. For me it's the Fashion, Movies, Music, and the various dances of the 30's & 40's Era :D
  12. .
    All of the clothes, some of the music, the architecture, the graphic designs, the cars, the planes and the trains. Oh, and the spirit shown in such films as "The Grapes of Wrath", "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", and "It's a Wonderful Life". That just about covers it.
  13. LinaSofia

    LinaSofia A-List Customer

    I think this is such an interesting question... And I suspect it's quite individual, possibly depending on whether you're into recreating an authentic vintage lifestyle or incorporating vintage style into a modern lifestyle/attitude or adapting an aesthetic to a modern context, like the rockabilly style. Like Rue and Lizzie have mentioned, there's an element of longing for the manners and values of the 'good old days', but I know that other people are less concerned with that aspect and have 'graduated' into vintage from other subcultures like grunge or punk etc and see it as a way to be 'alternative' in a more sophisticated, adult, way.

    I've personally always been fascinated by old things, especially photos, and used to stare at old family photos and wonder about what life was like then. I think it's one of my biggest fascinations, looking at photos and films of ordinary people back then! But I don't think for a minute that I'm recreating that lifestyle... I very much live in 2011 and I'm not that disheartened about it either, except it would be nice if there was a bit of a revival of good manners. But I also like the 'anarcho-dandyism' of the people behind The Chap, I think that's a cool re-interpretation of the meaning and power of being well-dressed...

    For me though, it's really hard to put my finger on exactly why I love vintage so much and dress this way... the look and feel of it is just totally exciting to me! I'm never as excited as when I look in vintage/antique/jumble/charity shops and rummage around for that amazing bargain find! The hunt and the joy of finding something rare and a bargain, that's partly what it's about for me, so not particularly 'make do and mend' on that front!! :D
  14. The sound of the amplifiers, microphones and analog recording techniques is probably where it started for me.
    Now I have a 51 year old car, some 60's music equipment. Even my glasses are from the 50's and so forth..

    A lot of heart and soul seemingly went into things that were made for sale back in nineteendiggidydoo. It didn't look/feel/sound steril, dull and disposable.

    And you didn't have to be 'well off' to drive an elegant vehicle or have decently made clothes.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011
  15. sal

    sal One of the Regulars

    could'nt agree more. The people were more individual back then. I am a 40's 50's kind of person. The average person actually cared about his fellow human being. People were polite and well mannered
    I wish we could go back if only for that.....
  16. I love the mechanicalness of it all. Everything was clunky and loved with a purpose.

    I remember when LED watches came out in the mid-to-late '70s. I bought one, not because it was the latest thing, but because it was so different. A blank reddish face. Push the button, and the time appeared digitally. I can tell you that it didn't take very long for me to realize how ridiculous it was to need two hands to look at a wristwatch. LCDs would come later.

    I loved typewriters. My mom had a big clunky old Underwood (I think). I loved looking at it, all the mechanicals inside of it. I loved pounding the keys and watching the arms come up and strike the paper. I enjoyed watching the ribbons rotate as I typed.

    I didn't realize it until years later, when I started researching old telephones, but I had gotten a jones for an old, and I mean old, rotary phone. We had a 500 series when I was a kid, but that was nothing compared to the previous 300 (?) series of the 30s/40s/50s, and I bought an original, working Stromberg/Carlton.

    I have always had mechanical watches, and many years ago I got a hold of a couple of 125 year old Elgins. I love holding them up to my ear and listening to them tick.

    I enjoy watching old movies where men always wore suits and hats, no matter where they were. If they were in public, they were suited up.

    I like that cars didn't have any electronics and you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to fix them yourself. Parts weren't just throw away and replace.

    Life in many ways was more complicated but also simpler at the same time.
  17. Amy Jeanne

    Amy Jeanne Call Me a Cab

    This is me. I actually like finding evidence to the contrary of the whole "everything was so wonderful and like the movies then." Like today on my Facebook I had "Mugshot Monday" with all women criminals from the 1890s tot he 1960s.

    To reapeat this, I love the fashion, music, movies, architecture, popular culture, seedy underbelly, technology, art deco, art moderne, the aesthetics, and the sociology. I like comparing everything to today and don't think one is better than the other.
  18. Mojito

    Mojito One Too Many

    I love history in general and always have. Most of my writing has been about the Edwardian period, but I have a personal love of the design aesthetic of the 1920s...colours, textures, forms...it enthralls me. Couple that with a very interesting period in social history, some fantastic music, film, art and literature, and intriguing personalities, and I'm lost! Like Amy Jeanne, Lolly and others, I love delving into some of the odd and not-so-savoury aspects or more quirky elements to it as well. It excites me and it delights me!
  19. bombshell_librarian

    bombshell_librarian New in Town

    Ibid et. al. to what everyone else has said. I like things that are classy and well-made, especially the clothing. I'm a small gal who often cannot wear (or, more to the point, will not wear) a lot of the newer styles, simply because I have trouble finding what I like in my size. I also cannot dress like a teenager, because I'm 40. I have classic taste and I hate Top 40. Swing music and rockabilly are just the stuff I like. I love history, I love to read, and I love my grandparents' can-do work ethic.
  20. I'm a history geek in general and the era I tend to dress in is the very tail end of the period that interests me, really. I know I romanticise the past to at least a small degree but I'm content with that. For me, history is escapism. I'm just not interested in modernity and I'm not sure why. It takes an awful lot of effort for me to sit down in front of a modern film set in modern times, for instance.

    That said, I'm married to a sci-fi geek who loves everything set in the future. I guess it's the same for him, escapism from the here and now. It just means we tend to clash in tastes! But he loves how I dress, even if he does occasionally have to curtail my spending habits ;)

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