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Pet Peeves with Vintage?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by MondoFW, May 24, 2018.

  1. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

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    643
    Though I would choose vintage styles and pieces over contemporary, there are some limitations or gripes I have with vintage, and thought that perhaps other Loungers thought the same. Here's your place to vent. Can be about true vintage and/or repro items. Here are some of mine:

    - Garments were cut much differently in the olden days. People experimented with different patterns, fabrics and concepts than they do today. Wearing 1940's/early 50's jackets can suck sometimes because people will try to call me out on my "badly fitting" coat, even though it's just cut fuller and has bolder shoulders. This does not always mean the jacket is badly fitting. A two-tone leisure coat is suddenly an "improper suit"!

    - True vintage pieces can be a pain in the rear to take care of. Most pieces must be dry cleaned or hand-washed, and contemporary definitely has vintage beat in convenience, in this regard. Many true vintage pieces are susceptible to torn seams or other damage. In my experience, true vintage shoes are probably the hardest items to take care of, because it seems like MUCH more can go wrong with them as opposed to a hat or necktie.

    - Vintage sizes are all over the place

    What about y'alls gripes and pet peeves?
     
  2. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    18,353
    Location:
    London, UK
    I prefer accurate repro now, because true vintage, 30s especially, has for the most part reached a point where I can't find my size and if I can it's in poor condition and if it's not I can't afford it.... Plus I can never quite bring myself to wear true vintage with great regularity as otherwise I only end up worrying I'm going to wear it out, then I'm the Man who Destroyed History. Rather something I can buy and not worry about too much, then replace when it wears.

    It's also true that the rarer and more perfect something is, the more likely it is to be mothed.... I wish there was some sort of dip treatment that you could apply once to clothes and they would be moth proof forever. Hell, sometimes I wish I'd gotten into the seventies because manmade doesn't have the same problem!
     
  3. Canadian

    Canadian One of the Regulars

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    171
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Here are my thoughts.

    Buying a garment which requires significant care is a pet peeve. Even if it's say, a cashmere sweater, which has both pedigree and is really very comfortable, they don't find a place in my closet. Same with vintage, which Mondo has indicated. We don't also (see Edward's post above) want to be the guy who destroyed an item which should be a museum piece or a treasure which gets taken out once a year to wear to a special occasion. Vintage items which require so much care that they are a pain in the rear to actually wear, are not something I want in my everyday rotation.

    Moths and tears. An object from the 40s made of wool willl have had about 70+ years to degrade. I always talk about something called "thread fatigue". Basically it's a scientific (my cousin owned a department store) term for saying that over time, things fall apart. It means that objects (especially objects which were treated or stored badly) will not be in great shape over time.

    So yeah, moths and tears can be a problem.

    My principle peeve is those people who get so into vintage that they forget practicality. You go to a swing dance and there are girls in period wear who have their makeup and clothing "just right" and they spend all night adjusting a girdle or preening and never really enjoying the moment. Not really a clothing peeve, just a thing I've noticed at lots of dances and dinners. I suppose we've all been on a date where the girl is constantly adjusting their makeup, same deal, except people who wear vintage sometimes (especially when they only own one period set of clothing) put more emphasis on what to wear and not on what they are.

    C.
     
    MondoFW likes this.
  4. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

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    You two bring up excellent points. It feels awful to be proud of vintage pieces, but when introduced into the daily routine, evokes worry about when or how they'll wear out. I have observed vintage-goers being very self-conscious about the current state of their outfit. The funny thing is, my style of dress is very akin to the careless post-WW2 teenager. But sometimes I think, "Crap, if I do something stupid, I could tear a seam!". Reproduction is pretty much out of the question for me. Quality repro is just so damn expensive, and at the age of 15 I can seldom afford purchasing $70+ trousers, for instance. SJC may receive my business in 15 years, when wearable vintage becomes nonexistent, and I'm desperately scrapping for items I like.

    I think another aspect of wearing vintage that, to be honest, is more destructive than positive, is that when you're accustomed to garments made with top-of-the-line construction and rare detailing, you may never settle for mediocrity. This leads some people to be more picky about their clothing, which I think is seen as a passe habit in our world of cheap and casual fashion. Most won't care whether or not their leather jacket is crapshoot quality or not, as long as it looks decent and presentable.
     
    Short Balding Guy likes this.
  5. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Location:
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    I'm very glad of the smoking ban in the UK, as it ended the habit a lot of people, particularly girls, had of coming to vintage nights and sitting with a lit cigarette stinking the place up for the 'look', when they didn't even actually smoke...
     
  6. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    Nobody should settle for mediocrity, at any rate. Then, the idea of good and mediocre changes from person to person but if your clothes are timeless and well fitting to your body frame, everybody is going to look positively at you, no matter how bad and cheap is their wardrobe.

    Being picky about clothes (especially about fit) is one of the thing that I have learned by handling vintage items. I learned how things are supposed to fit and what compliments best my body figure. In some sense this has also gotten me to the point I don't wear many true vintage items anymore - they always have some detail off to my eye. For instance, I have had several 30s and 40s suits, and a thing I have realised to not like is the extremely wide, straight cut of late 30s trousers. Much better with the slightly tapered versions but still too baggy to drape correctly on my frame without being wisely tailored adequately. I have had some bold look jackets, with the same conclusions - you need a darn good bespoke tailor to make that flowing excess cloth drape nicely around you (I think we discussed that elsewhere).

    If I had not tried vintage, I would probably be wearing very ill fitting clothes, probably even more dated than how vintage looks.

    Gradually I realised that I had gotten into vintage more because of classy, timeless fit and proportions rather than flashy or distinctive look! And it appeared to me that a suit doesn't need to come from Golden era to be smart, classy and timeless, but it is sufficient that it incorporates those key features that made the Golden era look such classy. In short, it is all about moderate proportions and avoiding excesses.
     
    Short Balding Guy likes this.
  7. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Garments certainly were not cut differently, so if you have an ill fitting jacket it is because it was poorly made in the first place. Almost all materials have nap. Nap is a type of fabric that has texture to it and some kind of pile. Fabrics consider to be with nap would be velvet, velour, corduroy, suede, rich wool, heavy cotton and some linens. If your fabric has nap, youre going to want to be careful in laying out your pattern pieces so that the grain line is all going in one consistent direction. Cut wrongly across the grain and the garment will never look smart, new or not.

    I agree with you entirely about reproducing new from original designs. No worries about tobacco saturated fabric, spill stains or anything unmentionable. However there is a moth proof device on the market, it's a zipper bag, and it's moth proof.

    If there is one peeve I have, not that it bothers me that much, it's when someone wears a pastiche of something thinking perhaps that it looks original. Wear what you like, not my problem, but a pastiche outfit does have the appearance of Coco the Clown.
     
  8. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

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    643
    I'm afraid i don't understand. A suit from the 1930s will have a much different silhouette than a suit now. You own a zoot suit, you know it's wildly different than garments worn today.
     
  9. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    I don't know if GHT meant exactly this but that's my interpretation: suits are still tailored with the same system (if we exclude canvassing versus fusing, but with today's fusing technology it really makes little difference) but if you find a garment of your size to be ill-fitting it is because it has been poorly executed (i.e. think about slim fit jackets with huge armholes: they are the emblematic paradox of fashion modern tailoring).
     
  10. MondoFW

    MondoFW Practically Family

    Messages:
    643
    This goes without saying, big armholes are a sign of faulty construction. I mean no disrespect to GHT, but it seemed like he was lecturing me on how people were right on how my jackets fit badly, even though what I meant was that some of them looked more like:[​IMG]

    Than what you'd see today:

    [​IMG]

    With the passing of time, styles change. Both examples are fine (albeit I find less comfort in the latter example), but people today are usually accustomed to the slimmer silhouette. When they see me wearing more of the former, they're put off, believing that I just bought an eccentric off-the-rack poorly fitted piece from a modern retailer. Of course the fundamentals of the suit have stayed relatively constant over time!
     
  11. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Location:
    London, UK
    The most effective thing I've found were the old style moth balls; no longer available, unfortunately, and the modern equivalents don't work as well (nor smell as pleasant. I like the whiff of naphthalene in the morning).

    I try to be open minded towards anyone wearing an outfit even if it's a little fancy dress or not quite right (like folks who turn up at Goodwood for the day in black tie or evening dresses) because we all have to start somewhere and everyone learns; also, not everyone can afford to get it 'right' from the off.... but there's a world of difference between that and the stick-on moustache brigade who are really just laughing at it and making a joke of it. I truly loathe those fancy-dress 'Teddy Boy' outfits that are like a Showaddy Waddy costume made from cheap nylon and don't even hang correctly, not least because they're always worn by the sort of people who think the be all and end all of the Ted thing was some novelty pop act that were big for ten minutes in 1978.... I sometimes rather hope they encounter some real teds and have to explain why they are insulting their subculture to such an extent! ;)
     
  12. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
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    What's happened here is forum ambiguity. I took "Garments were cut much differently in the olden days" to mean a tailor lays out his fabric, positions the paper pattern on top, then cuts around the pattern to create a panel for the garment that he is making. I suspect that you meant the cut to be finished look.

    You read my mind.
     
    Edward likes this.
  13. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    Probably this is due to you being young (and there is nothing wrong with that!) but the look that you say to be usual today in the reality it is not so seen as a staple around business world. Also, you have to remember that the slimmer silhouette is a recent trend and, like every trend, it will pass away. Before the masses were fed up with skinny clothing, everything was absolutely baggy and shapeless. In the early 2000s - hear, hear - I always complained because my trousers were balooning around my legs (my grandfather called them "trombones").
    Suits fitting like the first picture you posted were not common in these days - but only because everything was way baggier! Nevertheless, good fitting with more ease was the norm for people who wanted to dress well; and it is the same today. Only some poor lad who lets his wife to dress him wears those kind of body-wrapping devices all the day at work. And usually after a while they switch to more comfortable clothes.

    I see your point about people starting at you if you wear straight cut trousers with 11'' hems nowadays (not that it is a look I recommend). But it is just a trend (which hopefully it is already fading away). Fifteen years ago nobody would have noticed.
     
    Short Balding Guy likes this.
  14. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
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    I just recently purchased a box of 'moth flakes.' It certainly smells like the moth balls of old, and is supposed to do the same job.

    I am also able to get a 'moth bar' in its own little plastic hanger. Also smells like moth balls of old.

    I always have a few jam jars saved nearby so I put some moth flakes in enough jars to put one in each clothing closet. Put the tops on and punched some holes.
     
    Edward likes this.
  15. avedwards

    avedwards Call Me a Cab

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    Location:
    London and Midlands, UK
    Vintage suits and tailored clothes are nearly always made of extremely heavy cloth and have a very heavy construction, such as excessively (to me) padded shoulders or heavy canvassing. British suits more so than American ones but even those tend to be heavier than modern suits. I find it uncomfortable to wear such heavy tailored clothes for long periods of time, so in the last few years I have opted for having my own suits made to measure with vintage inspired cuts and details.
     
  16. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Location:
    miami, fl
    The number one problem for me with buying vintage articles online is the smell that often comes with them. It's a peculiar odor that smells a whole lot like death, as though the original owner had passed on wearing the thing and hadn't been found for some time. Luckily, the articles I've gotten have been shirts and sweaters, and all were washable. I've found that some Woolite and a cup or two of white vinegar usually pretty much solves the problem, but on two occasions even that didn't work.
     
  17. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I agree with you that the heavy interlinings can cause some discomfort over time. I had a very heavy suit with strong canvassing and I found that sometimes my back tended to be pulled down. I believe that with such heavy canvassing perfection of fit is essential to avoid that the material rests in the wrong positions.

    Like you I have reverted to made to measure with vintage inspired subtle details and great attention to fit. I have been lucky to find a decent professional that can do the job very well. But I can't abide the modern kind of suiting, the extremely fine and lightweight fabric that wrinkles crazily and drapes poorly on the body. I have to supply my own fabric to the tailor as his own selection consists of wool and silk cloth with non-exisant body, some paper thin super 180s and some absurdly priced cloth from Zegna (which however is not bad weight). Good modern suiting does exist, but you have to look for it carefully as everybody thinks that the lighter the cloth, the higher the quality.
     
  18. avedwards

    avedwards Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,425
    Location:
    London and Midlands, UK
    I usually go for cloth that’s between 11 and 14oz, without any super numbers. That’s considerably lighter than most vintage suits but durable enough for day to day wear and able to hold its shape. Most tailors in the UK stock plenty of English made wools in varying weight, so finding good quality fabric isn’t a problem here.
     

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