Some thoughts about vintage vs modern style

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Metatron, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Metatron

    Metatron One Too Many

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    Obviously most of us here are somewhat biased towards vintage style. I think it's not so much that good clothes don't exist today, it's that the industry has grown and the variety of designs and materials is much larger, and thus you have to wade through mediocrity to find stuff that is well made and tasteful. When we look at photos of out of work or homeless people from the 'golden' era, they still seem to be quite stylish by today's standards. Is it that the most common items in the stores were a suit, a neutral shirt and a sports coat, and therefore you pretty much couldn't go wrong?

    I think one might be able to draw parallels with other industries, like commercial art and typography, where there was a specific set of tools and a specific aesthetic and you either knew the craft or you didn't, as opposed to now when anyone can conjure up anything digitally and publish it online for all to see, so the whole thing is saturated and you simply assume that the craft has regressed.

    I suppose having a lot to choose from here in the West is great but it can also a be quite visually messy. :eek: Same goes for relationships, weren't many people in arranged marriages quite content because they just never considered an alternative? ;)

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
  2. C-dot

    C-dot Call Me a Cab

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    I'm a little confused: Are you saying that design was superior in the Golden Era because there was little other choice?
     
  3. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    There was a lot of variety available for menswear back in the day. See here for numerous examples.
    Now that I think of it I'd say there was more variety than you see today.

    People didn't get married simply because they didn't consider an alternative. The alternative of staying single and growing old alone probaby doesn't make much sense if you actually think about it. ;)
     
  4. C-dot

    C-dot Call Me a Cab

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    That, and if you were a woman in the latter part of the Golden Era, it was better to get hitched than end up *shudder* an old maid! :eeek:
     
  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    As far as the style vs. choices thing goes, if you throw enough dirt in a glass of water, you end up with mud. The water might still be in there, but good luck separating it out.

    I think the real difference has been the rise of the cult of the individual -- the idea that being an individual means you have to look as outlandish as possible to distinguish yourself from all the other outlandishly-dressed individuals. God forbid you should dress like The Man, or Mrs. The Man, with all their stodgy conformist ways.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
  6. Metatron

    Metatron One Too Many

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    Feraud, I was referring specifically to arranged marriages which were quite common in my homeland of Cyprus up to the sixties. It has been suggested that the fact that they were not saturated by choice and just got on with it, made these marriages quite successful, even if we are most likely to cringe at the thought of it today.

    It's funny that you posted a link to that thread, I was looking through it, bookmarking away earlier today.
    Yes, you make a good point about variety, but I think what I'm getting can be summed up by Lizzie's metaphor of the glass of water. To illustrate my point, in this series of Australian mugshots, http://www.themysteryworld.com/2011/01/australian-history-mugshots-from-1920s.html
    even the scruffiest of convicts look reasonably well dressed, and I assume it's not because they were particularly sartorially savvy, but because there were no purely 'form over function' stuff like very low rise trousers falling off the hips, acid wash jeans or t-shirts with cheesy slogans. In other words, they couldn't be slobs like somebody today can be a slob.

    I suppose there were things like zoot suits which kind of negate my point, but I think that clothes generally did not venture too far in the realm of the 'ironic' and away from the simple principles of fitting you well, keeping you warm etc. prior to the mid sixties.
     
  7. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Not that I am a supporter of arranged marriage at all (because I think when abused it can be a horrific thing) but I've known a few couples who's marriages were arranged who have very successful marriages. Both parties acting on their behalf did a lot of research about what/ who would make a good match and these couples were all given the choice to back out. There was no money exchanged, they were not betrothed as children, and they were allowed to be engaged for a short time period before the marriage. I've always thought a couple of experts looking to find a good fit for a person is at least a good of a shot as finding happiness as meeting somebody randomly in the bar.

    Of course, many arranged marriages aren't arranged with the best interests of the couple in mind, but there's nothing wrong with what essentially works out to be a blind date.
     
  8. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I think what Metatron is saying is, according to our current standards, a guy in the Era couldn't dress poorly, per se, because the only thing available were "decent" clothes.

    Consider this - what people called undershirts then, are basically what we call t-shirts now, with some spacial differences. Pajamas have only changed in material, but the design is more or less the same. Although men's underwear hasn't changed much, women's has changed considerably.

    People in the era had the OPTION to wear as little as we do now, but their decency wouldn't allow it. Tramps could easily have worn undershirts and cut up trousers, but they had dignity. That mindset has changed and, for better or worse, some people aren't interested in looking decent.
     
  9. ThesFlishThngs

    ThesFlishThngs One Too Many

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    Of course, back in the day clothes were not designed to be billboards for manufacturers either. Other than maybe a university sweatshirt (worn only by a university student), one didn't go about with bold emblazoned messages on ones garments. It always strikes me as odd that filmmakers who produce futuristic, post-apocalyptic stories, from "Mad Max" to "The Hunger Games", dress their society of survivors in muted, ages-past inspired garments, when the reality would be a much more chaotic blend of thrift store couture. If they wanted a semblance of realism, they would do well to look to struggling third world countries of today, where the make-do masses tend to wear the cast-offs of wealthy nations - tattered Nike, Adidas, pro and college team casual wear. Not as romantic as form fitted black leather with straps and buckles, or wistful 1930s-esque dresses to be sure.
     
  10. Gingerella72

    Gingerella72 A-List Customer

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    Society as a whole has become much, much more informal over the years, until you get to today where people go out shopping in their pajamas and slippers and no one bats an eye at it because we've become so used to seeing it. That, or their photo lands on peopleofwalmart.com, lol.

    Back then, sloppy would have meant having wrinkled dirty clothes, untucked shirts, a ladies slip showing beneath the hem of the dress. It wasn't so much the articles of clothing worn that meant sloppy, it was how they were presented. It does always surprise me though when I see photos of like, say, men working out in a field...they're still wearing trousers, button down shirt, and a vest most likely. But that's just my modern filter being surprised. It took decades of chipping away at what constitutes "decency" or "well dressed" to get to where we are today.
     

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