I love vintage styles. But I don’t wear vintage clothes. And not just because it is hard to find professional-looking clothes in my size range. It’s because true vintage feels costume-like to me. Some women, like my sister, Jill, love that aspect, but it isn’t for me.
Instead, I go for “vintage inspired.” In fact, I am wearing a skirt right now that was inspired by a McCall’s pattern from the 1950s. It reads as a basic pencil skirt but there are no side seams. When I finally got my hands on a copy of the infamous Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing, I discovered that it, too, featured a skirt without side seams. I’d say I felt a bit smug about it, but our mid-century mentors wouldn’t approve of that type of behavior.
By focusing on vintage inspired, I am able to get to the essence of why I love vintage designs without feeling like I’m in a production of Grease. I’m also able to avoid some of the undesirable attention that some vintage bloggers, like Solanah, have had to contend with from strangers.
People that I know tell me all of the time that they admire my taste in clothing, that I’m glamorous, and they love my classic, feminine, style, that I always look “put together” and professional. They tell me that I remind them of Jackie or Audrey or Grace. I appreciate those compliments because that is the image that I’m trying to convey: a timeless glamour.
So, don’t lament if you can’t find vintage clothing in your size or budget. Instead, focus on the essence of vintage style.