Historical "Vintage" Fashion?

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by ~Kate~, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. ~Kate~

    ~Kate~ New in Town

    Ontario, Canada
    I have wondered about this for a while but haven't been able to come across any answers so hopefully someone here might have some insight. Does anyone know if there were groups of women in the past who intentionally wore "vintage" fashion in the way we do? Like Victorians wearing Regency styles, or something similar. I'm rather curious about when women started trying to recreate the style of the past in an everyday sense (not just for costume parties or because they were too poor to afford newer clothing). I've heard of Teddy girls wearing Edwardian clothes, although they seemed to put their own spin on it rather then faithfully reproducing the styles of the past. There are also a lot of historical influences in fashion over the years (1970's does 1930's for example). But when did the habit of dressing "vintage" really begin? Is it a more modern thing (and by modern I mean in the last 50 years or so) or are there any historical examples of the same phenomenon?
    HatLoverGirl likes this.
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There were occasional reports of local "eccentrics" doing this -- I've mentioned elsewhere that a woman who lived in my town in the 1930s habitually dressed and lived in the style of the 1870s. She had been quite young when her beloved father died, and the story was that she basically "froze in time" when he passed on. She inherited quite a load of cash from her father, and could afford to live and act as she pleased -- even though the neighborhood kids all believed she was some kind of witch.

    When she died, her money and her home became the foundation for our local art museum, and the house is maintained by that museum just as she left it.

    As far as younger women dressing in Victorian or Edwardian fashions as a routine thing, I don't think you'll find any cases of it as a daily event outside of "Gay Nineties" theme parties at high schools or on college campuses during the 1890s nostalgia craze of the mid-1930s. This would be akin to holding a "Seventies Dance" at a modern high school, with any family attic likely to yield appropriate costumes. These clothes were considered comical by the average young women of the 1930s in the same way that kids today look at the outlandish getups of the '70s.

    I think the main reason such things never caught on was that Victorian doodads were simply not practical for the kind of active lives young women led in the 1930s. You can dress in 1930s clothes today and they're still reasonably practical for a latter-day daily routine -- many of us here have being doing this for many years without issues -- but it would be very difficult to do so in 1890s clothes without seriously compromising your usual range of activities.

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