Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Vintage Snobbery......

I've always loved old things, be it houses, furniture, films,books or clothes. As a teenager I read countless historical novels and even when buying our first home, new builds did not do it for me. Apart from the fact that on our budget we got three times more space for our money, I just loved that the properties we viewed had character, a story to tell.
Our first home was decorated with a nod to the Victorian era of its construction, with dark wallpaper and the compulsory aspidistra. A piano in the dining room was decorated with pictures of our ancestors and, well, I have to admit it was all a bit gloomy!
In fact it wasn't until about 10 years ago that my tastes started to change and the beautiful distressed greys and creams of French interiors took my fancy. Much of my home today still reflects that style, comfy distressed but lighter and fresher looking.

Only my kitchen and sewing room show that in my heart I'm really a vintage girl. Fascinated by the social history of the 1940s and 1950s. I love to watch films and series based on the era and Housewife 49, Goodnight Mr Tom and the more recent Home Fires are among my favourites.
We've started to attend one or two festivals over the last few years and have been amazed at the enthusiasm and good nature of those who attend. Complete strangers have come up to us to comment on our 'costumes' and taken pictures, so I have felt that we must be doing something right!

However that isn't always the case. A couple of years ago before we really got into researching our look, we attended a local War Weekend. We went to the dance on the Saturday night, which was well attended and great fun and then we went on the Sunday to visit all the stalls and displays.
The morning started with a service, which was very moving, immediately followed by a fashion show. Something I was really looking forward to.
There were about 20 people in the line up the first of which was an elderly gentleman who had obviously based his look on one of the principle characters in WW11.
The compère smiled sweetly and asked this 'gentleman' to tell the audience how he had got into dressing up!
Well if looks could have killed, that compère would be no more. Pulling himself up, the man in question returned...
'We don't dress up, we are re-enactors! Every piece of our clothing and accessories is original and authentic. People who come to these events and dress up, in what they think is the style of the period let these events down. We have been used as extras in films and television and producers know that if they employ us we are the genuine article'
To be frank my reaction was to be dumbfounded! Surely without we common folk who just 'dress up' most of the vintage events in the country would not survive. Ok if sticking religiously to authentic clothes etc. is what you want to do, then great, and of course you are saving these things for another generation to enjoy.
For the rest of us, dressing up helps us be part of the whole scene. We do our research and where possible buy one or two original pieces, but what about the make do and mend ethos of the era. Surely we are being authentic by researching styles and altering more modern garments to the styles of the day. Clothes that may otherwise end up in landfill.

So I'm glad that I took no notice of said gentleman, and continued to 'do it my way', 'cos we have had some amazing outings and met some lovely people through the whole vintage scene.
As you can see from these pictures of our recent trip to Goodwood, we even enjoyed the racing and a bit of celeb spotting!
So I'm off now to prepare things for our next Vintage Fair as part of Bea's Vintage Extravaganza at Grantham College on Saturday 3rd October. If you are local it would be lovely to see you there, whether you dress up or not!

Jenny xx