You may remember a few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about how uninspired I was by the glossy fashion magazines available on the newstands of late. In response, Lauren of A Typical Atypical got together with Emma and Fi to set up Basse Mode, a low fashion magazine project featuring real fashion for real people. They asked for contributors to write on their own blogs in support of the project, the first topic being “what fashion means to me”. I’ve been planning a post for some time about what vintage means to me, and as the two are closely linked, thought this might be an appropriate opportunity to develop the theme.
Firstly, a disclaimer. I draw a very distinct line between fashion and style. For me, fashion is about art, about playing with shape and colour and texture to create a thing of beauty. Fashion is about escapism. Style, on the other hand, is about choosing inspiring elements of fashion – be it the latest catwalk collection or a vintage cut, and incorporating it into your look as a means of expressing your own personal tastes and aesthetic ideals. Style might take a fashionable shape and make it street appropriate, borrow an unexpected textural combination and take it into the office. Style is about your reaction to fashion – it’s about expression.
When it comes to style I love the vintage look. The fashions of yesteryear, from my perspective, are often more elegant, more wearable and more womanly than those of today. They’re less utility – unless utility was necessary, for example, as worn by the canaries and the land girls of WW2 – more thoughtful dressing. Vintage styles required attention to detail, to accessories and even to underpinnings – they required people to take care over their appearance.
I’m not a vintage purist, I don’t live in a specific era, rather I take inspiration from a variety of eras and use them to shape my daily look. Neither do I choose to go all in for one in particular era – if I’m taking forties inspiration, for example, I’ll mix it in with some modern pieces. What matters to me is the act of acknowledging that vintage appeal, of harking back to the shapes and values of days gone by.
I think the crux of the appeal of vintage to me is in part aesthetic, but even more value-based. I’m an old-fashioned kinda gal in many ways – I have been called old-souled on numerous occasions and hold many traditional values dear. The way we dress will always be linked to the way we wish to be perceived, will always be about how we want to portray ourselves and what our clothes say about our personalities. Adding a touch of vintage to the mix is my way of saying that I’m a little bit old-fashioned. It’s about sharing my principles and baring my old-souled ideals to the world. My style, as it turns out, is central to my whole being.
Because when all is said and done, style is about so much more than fashion. Take a look around this little “style” blog of mine and digest what you see. Your first thought may be that it’s less a style blog than a personal blog, as there are so many apparently off-topic posts. But look again. You’ll see rants about bad manners and poor ethics. You’ll see inspiration posts and wishlists encompassing fashion pieces and film stills. You’ll see emotional out-pourings about my relationship with my body, and my relationships with other people. You’ll see a well-hidden heart-felt challenge to the universe to meet my unrealistic expectations.
Every Single One of these posts is about who I am. My style is a physical expression of this whole – of traditional values (good manners, clean ethics), my personal take on beauty, my day-to-day relationships, my hopes, my dreams.
High fashion is about art, but low fashion is about people. Real people. Real people, screaming at the world in their own inimitable style.