Peasant blouses, prairie skirts, gingham dresses, denim overalls, crocheted bolero, laces, calico, loafers, oxford shoes, and everything f-l-o-r-a-l. These are just some of the elements under the vintage umbrella and staple pieces in any vintage wardrobe. As much as it is in art and photography, a retrieval of the past in fashion is currently garnering much favor as the growing wave of vintage-wearing women slip into the garb and gem of the yesteryear.
Technically, the clothing which was produced before the 1920’s is referred to as antique clothing while clothing from the 1920’s to 20 years before the present day is considered vintage. Why 1920’s? Among other reasons, it is said that it was the time when women finally got their full suffrage. Generally, however, vintage simply means “old”. Similar to the term “retro” (short for retrospective), and not to be confused with grunge (over-sized sweaters and flannel shirts), vintage clothing is a generic term for new or second hand garments originating from a previous era, or as it is today, designs and elements that nostalgically echo the good old days.
Vintage fashion has truly made a comeback. Today, hunting for vintage finds in rummage sales, thrift pre-loved shops, and online fashion boutiques has become an enjoyable thrill. In Forbes online magazine, it is said that in an age when newer is better in most industries, it is baffling that many people are choosing to wear blatantly outdated apparel. From Etsy to eBay to the fast-growing vintage retailer, Nastygal, it’s easy to see that fashion isn’t like technology, transportation and pharmaceuticals in that newer isn’t necessarily more desirable. According to The Guardian online newspaper, vintage clothes are considered more “ethical” that “if we think of a hierarchy of ethical ways of dressing, vintage should be near the top. It is the antithesis of throwaway fashion, being rare, covetable and tradable.”
An example of vintage clothing is Gunne Sax. Originally, Gunne Sax is a clothing label which specialized in young women’s formal wear in the 1960s. But the term “Gunne Sax” has often been associated with its 1970s prairie, Victorian and Edwardian styled designs which drew on many elements popular in late-19th and early-20th century fashion such as lace, gingham, calico, renaissance- and medieval-inspired designs, with empire waistlines, middle plackets, corset-like laced bodices and puffed sleeves.
However, not all vintage-looking apparels are purely vintage; some are just vintage-inspired. Mori-inspired fashion has become quite a trend these days. Belonging to a Japanese subculture, Mori girls (森ガール) tend to be more appreciative of the little things that others overlook in the daily busy life. According to the Mori Girl blog, “mori” means “forest” in Japanese, and mori girls look like “fairytale forest wanderers” in their loose dresses, vintage prints and quaint accessories. One of the few online sellers of quality Mori-inspired apparels (very nice and pretty) in the Philippines is the Berry Drop Shop.
While not everyone appreciates vintage fashion, it is fast penetrating the vogue arena. Today, vintage clothing doesn’t only refer to pre-worn threads but has even become a new fashion style on its own.
As a whole, vintage style sends an aura of simplicity yet remains classy and fashionable. Most of all, however, it evokes modesty. Nowadays, many immodest trends with clothes exhibit too much of everything, especially in women. But the challenge to dress respectfully toward God and fellow man is as old as human history. And since vintage fashion preserves the same conservative standards in dressing up as it is way back then, it is an ideal alternative to the current expensive signature clothing lines that are often too skimpy or too flashy.
In our present society where fashion dictates bare and scantily clad models to be the popular silhouette, it’s delighting to know that we have a choice to wear modest yet lovely and tasteful garments by going back to good old vintage.
References: Vertical Thought Magazine, Wikipedia.com, theguardian.com, forbes.com
Photos: Google Images, Pinterest, Flashes of Style, Violet Folklore Vintage, Shabby Apple, and the Cherry Blossom Girl