There are many modern day Dandies and Vintage Lifestyle enthusiasts out there these days. The popularity of Dandyism, the revival of the 1920 style, and the remake of “The Great Gatsby” with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2013 have all influenced this resurgence. The revival has also influenced how people dress and what they do for fun, such as going to swing dances and vintage costume events, all in an effort to capture that bygone era. We’ve noticed though that often while many enthusiasts perfect their outfits to the extreme detail, their homes, offices, and apartments lack an enthusiasm that would match their wardrobes. How can you profess to live a “vintage lifestyle” if all your furniture, brick-a-brack, dishware, and home furnishings are all modern? Even at some events we have seen a lapse in effort when it comes to décor and refreshments.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with living comfortably and let’s face it as much as I love the past I would never give up my new mattress, or my energy efficient appliances. That being said though I wouldn’t give up my massive 1830’s Greek revival in the White Mountains of New Hampshire either. For all of its “inconvenient” shortcomings in modern technology and lay out (a lack of central heating and a half mile trek from the kitchen to the dining room) I know I could never dream of the quality my house has in one built in the last fifty years. It has character and so do the things inside it, I feel more connected to the past in it. We believe in bringing the past into our everyday lives. It takes some time surely, but if you’re patient you can find, for considerably less money than buying new, vintage and antique pieces to furnish your life with. It can be hard to have everything match perfectly when you’re collecting things made over 100 years ago, but the hunt is so much more rewarding. And anyway after you’ve thrown away the third particle board table that you fell though trying to put your shoe on maybe it’s time for a change?
Let’s face it, you just can’t match the quality of material and construction you find in older pieces and the market is flooded with things from the second half of the 19th century through the early 20th. Quarter sawn oak bureaus and mahogany veneered dining tables, rosewood and settees with mother of pearl inlay. Part of it comes down to environmental limitations today. We don’t have access to the old growth oaks that allowed for quarter sawn, rosewood is now a protected species, and the mahogany trade in recent years has had to seek out new sources in Africa because of deforestation in South America. Many pieces from this era end up in landfills or rot indefinitely in peoples basements because they’ve fallen out of mainstream style trends. By bringing these things into your life you’re not only complementing a vintage wardrobe and creating an epic backdrop for selfies you’re also standing against the throw away culture we live in.
Today we live in a disposable world where everything from our homes to our clothes, electronics, and furniture are meant and designed to be temporary. Manufactures realized that making things that last isn’t profitable and as convenient as going to IKEA is. Ultimately the majority of the things bought there are destined for a landfill. Decorating a modern house or apartment with antiques or vintage items brings character, unbeatable quality and like the cloths from these bygone eras they connect us with the past.
Like history, fashion repeats itself over time. You can see this by walking through any big clothing store and seeing what's on display. I can't tell you how many times I've seen 'fashion' items on display that are almost exact copies of historic military garments. It's crazy! But also cool in its own right. Why, because you can style your own fashion without giving in to big brand prices and logos. Why buy their rendering of a 'fashion military jacket' when you can just go out and buy an actual old US Army M-65 jacket for a fraction of the cost? Through this example you can see how easy it can be to create your own fashion/style through the use of vintage clothing, but still be in keeping with current fashion trends.
Accessories: One of the best tips to creating your own style is to use accessories to make your outfit stand out from the crowd. We do this all the time when we dress up for work or to go out on the town. Adding a vintage bow tie, a bandana, a costume jewelry pin, or anything else like that to your outfit will help make it your own.
Hats: While not as common these days in everyday fashion, you can class up your outfit with a vintage fedora or for a slightly less formal look, a tweed flat cap.
If you don't want to be too bold, a great idea is to replace today's modern ties with a vintage tie. The skinny tie of the 1950s and 60s is very much in fashion these days. A sleek vintage tie is the epitome of The 'Mad Men' look.
Hopefully those couple of tips will get you on your way to creating your own vintage look or at least help you customize your modern wardrobe with vintage accessories. How do you like to use vintage clothing/accessories in your outfits? Share your ideas with us in the comments below.