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Why vintage?

My mother's basement
There was a, I dunno, call it “intensity” in our early years, when everything was novel and needs and desires were more urgent. That’s at the heart of the nostalgic impulse, I gotta think. We like the reminders of our world as it was (or we imagined it was) when it was new to us.
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I'll Lock Up
Central Texas
I suppose for me, it is having a few things that another person crafted - something that has a personal connection, something another person built those many years ago. And I'm quite sure, at the time, those people were making something to be used and they had little notion that what they were building would be coveted by complete strangers many decades later. A personal connection is a big part of the allure of "vintage" to me.

I've never quite grasped the concept of purchasing cool old stuff just to have it sit in your house, too scared to touch it. Maybe if you're intending to produce a collector's book/website/whatever. My mother always said to me - don't buy it if you're not going to use it.

Romanticism. Not romantic glorification.

A connection to a gone time.


I'll Lock Up
New Forest
1935 Auburn Bottail Speedster.jpg

1935 Auburn Bottail Speedster. 1935 is significant in that 100 years later, from 2035, the sale of new liquid petroleum gas, petrol and diesel cars, as well as hybrid vehicles, will be banned across the UK.


New in Town
From a psychological standpoint, there can be many reasons one might want to wear a certain kind of fashion. But whenever we decide to deliberately dress a certain way, we usually do this because we want to project a certain image of ourselves to the world.

That image projects what the wearer feels they themselves are lacking and are therefore craving, whether consciously, but more often, subconsciously; Status, Intelligence, Competence, Stability, Control, Power, Maturity, Reliability. These are some things that can be associated with classic fashion.

Vintage and classic clothing is associated with simpler and slower times, as well as certain values, which are often romanticized when viewed through the lens of nostalgia. When people are feeling they lack these things, or want others to view them in this light, dressing in this manner is an outward projection of what they desire to be on the inside and to project this to others.

This can cause you to separate yourself from others, which can easily develop into snobbery and elitism, where the wearer considers themselves above others because of their status, values, believes or possessions. This always stems from deep-rooted fears.

- To attract attention
Dressing in this manner today is unusual, and attracts attention. The wearer might want to attract attention, make themselves seem more interesting, and set themselves apart from others. This usually goes hand in hand with the first point.

- Association
We might dress a certain way because we wish to be associated with a specific movement or group. You may also want to be associated with a certain individual (celebrities, family members, heroes…). This often relates to point 1, but also comes back to a sense of belonging, which is itself rooted in survival. It is a basic behavior almost all humans display. It serves to secure one’s own survival by being part and integrating into a larger group. The ability to form connections and be accepted also made it more likely to find partners and reproduce. Being accepted meant to survive.

- Comfort & Security
We might dress a certain way because it comforts us or provides us with a sense of security. We might feel that the values and image projected by certain clothing are something we would like for ourselves and are in some way lacking. This and point 1 are actually one and the same, simply viewed from different angles.

- Habit
Habits are connected to security. We form habits because we associate them with security and safety. Something new and unpredictable might be dangerous, or might cause us to be rejected, so it’s best to stick with what we already know works. This was essential for survival in the old days. It is less relevant today, as survival has become a lot easier and is beginning to no longer be the primary focus of many people, but this mentality still remains with us.

We might also hold onto habits, and even old things, because they remind us of times, people or places that we remember fondly. The association of those habits with fond memories can provide comfort through a sense of security, which we might find lacking in our current life.

All this is not to say that a genuine and innocent passion or interest, without any fear motivated factors, is not possible. These are just some possible psychological causes I can come up with.

It is absolutely possible to do or wear something because of a genuine desire to express oneself in this manner. But in that case, you would feel no need. That is to say, you would not make these things part of your identity. You could do or wear whatever and be happy, it would simply be an innocent preference.

If you want to know what reasons you have for dressing in a classic or vintage manner, ask yourself: If you were to dress in something totally different in public, like cargo shorts, or low-rise baggy jeans, or a backwards cap; would you still feel like yourself? Would you feel like your dignity and identity remain untouched? Would you care what others might think? What would that make you feel like, and why?

P.S. I know the OP was asking specifically about old things, not just classic or vintage fashion. But I felt it was relevant to the Forum and decided to approach it from that angle. Then it turned into this. The reasons for being attracted to old things likely overlap with those for being attracted to vintage or classic fashion, so I believe it still sheds some light on the original question. I hope you find it interesting regardless.

There are actually some metaphysical reasons I can come up with that might explain why people feel attracted to old things. But I don’t believe this is the right platform for this.
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My mother's basement
Well, I suppose that’s been long enough ago to be “vintage.” (It, too, overlaps with the “You know you’re getting old when …” thread.)
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