April 18, 2009

Getting to know the new blog on the block

{American D9A Microphone,
(gorgeous) photo by dh2 on Flickr}
“Testing one, two, three...testing. Hi everyone, it’s a pleasure to be here, my name is Jessica, let me tell you a little bit about myself and this blog.”

I never quite know what to say when I start a new blog or site, I’m not exactly a household name and I’m naturally shier than a feral kitten, but I like to take the approach that it’s best to hit the ground with both feet running (though according to the good folks over at Mythbusters, this doesn’t actually get you anywhere faster - but it is after all, a figure of speech).

Technically I posted my first entry last night, but I thought I’d take a moment to chat about what led to this blog’s creation. In reality it wasn’t one singular event, but rather a cumulative lifelong adoration of the past. Of the days before my humble 80s birth, when people still counted hats as part of their daily ensemble and the idea of a woman leaving the house without her hair fully styled was almost unthinkable. When record players ruled the musical roost and cars had more steel in them than a small airplane.

My childhood was not idyllic (though really, whose was?), but it was filled with many incredible elements that I believe helped to foster my undying love of the past, from the annual watching of White Christmas to nights spent listing to tapes of classic radio shows (such Jack Benny and Our Miss Brookes) on my cassette Walkman, to an early exposure to kustom kulture that came due to the fact that the parents of my first grade best friend where madly into vintage hot rods.

Introverted and studious, I spent a lot of my youth enveloped in books, loving history and classic literature with a burning passion. Two poodles skirts that had originally been sewn as Halloween costumes (one bright pink with a black record, the other bubble gum and white gingham with a fluffy white poodle) were my favourite clothes to wear at home for several years of my childhood. While watching A League of Our Own (at a real drive-in movie theatre no less!) I became enamoured with the poised, intelligence of Geena Davis’ character and with the fashions on everyone’s hips. To this day the dancing scene at the Suds Bucket club, the Lindy Hop style music blaring as Madonna flies around the dance floor, fills my heart with as much wide-eyed excitement as it did when I was seven.

Though it’s almost cliché to say, I realized very early on that I felt as though I’d been born in the wrong era. As grunge and alternative filled the airwaves I found myself drawn to classic rock, jazz and blues. While classmates ran to the mall for stirrup pants, hair scrunchies and shrunken backpacks, I was blissfully happy to spend my spring and summer weekends scouring yard sales and thrift stores for pleated wool skirts and satiny peach hued slips.

A good chunk of my childhood was spent growing up in a fairly small town, where everyone pretty much dressed and acted alike. Even in high school almost no one veered off the Dawson’s Creek inspired path, save perhaps for a small goth clique and a few Eminem wannabes. We didn’t have a computer when I was growing up (the unfathomable horror, I know ;) ) and so I must admit that I really didn’t know there other people out there who not only loved the music, decor and movies of the mid twentieth century, but who also secretly yearned to dress as though they’d stepped out of a 1940s or 50s photograph every day.

In 2004, at the age of 19, I got my first computer and by about ’06 I’d Googled enough search terms to have discovered that alas I was not alone! Others not only loved what I loved, but took it to new and incredible levels, such as being modern day pin-up models or photographers. Around that time I began to bookmark sites and build up a routinely checked array of pages on everything from vintage fashion and hairstyles to burlesque dancers to check regularly.

Jump ahead to 2009 and I’ve long since stopped feeling self conscious if I go out in red lippy, a pencil skirt and Veronica Lake inspired waves, in fact I’ve embraced my love of, and connection to, the past with vigour. I can’t claim to (at this point in my life) have a house that it kitted out in pure vintage furniture or a wardrobe that’s comprised strictly of fifty year old pieces, but I have learned how to do pin curls, apply a mean swoosh of black eyeliner and where to buy nylons with a seam running up the back. Some days I wear jeans and a tee with bright red lips and smoky eyes hinting at my taste in style, others I go the whole nine yards and, thanks in part to my red locks, end up doing a pretty good job of making Dottie Hinson proud.

As someone who has always been passionate about writing and who also loves to help others who share my own interests, I thought it would be oodles of fun to start a blog devoted to the past, with a focus on the 1930s, 40s and 50s. I haven’t plotted any direct courses for this site, instead I want it to grow organically, as I cover whatever vintage or vintage lifestyle related topics catch my fancy.

On the right-hand side (of this site) I’ve listed a bevy of links that help fuel my passion for the past, and hope that you’ll find them as enjoyable and awe-inspiring as I do. I invite you to follow the feed for Chronically Vintage and to comment on my posts, if you’d like.

I should tell you up front that I have a lot of medical problems (re: chronic illnesses) and as such am not always able to make it onto the computer or to post each day with religious devotion, but I will do my best to post often!

"I’d like to thank everyone for giving me the chance to share about my love of vintage. I can’t wait to fill this blog full of awesome, beautiful and wonderfully fun posts - and to get to know my readers, thank you!”


  1. Wow, you were born the year that I met my husband to be! I probably seem pretty old to you, but I often feel, as wildly impossible as it may seem, that I am still in my early twenties - and in my mind and actions, and same enduring love of the 40s and 50s, I am.

    I also love Geena Davis in A League of Our Own; she reminds me of my very own older sister in actions and looks – always beautiful and intelligent.

    I tried to post this comment here yesterday, but I was not sure if it posted (The computer seemed to have a glitch at the time.), so I am reposting it today.

    I truly love reading your blog. What makes me really happy is that I have several years of it to enjoy whenever I want to take my coffee breaks.

    :) Hope

    1. Hi dear Hope, how delightful that 1984 was an awesome year for both of us! I adore the fact that you and your husband have been together for so long. Tony (my hubby) and I will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary next month, and I truly look forward to the day when there's a "20" in front of that number, too.

      Your comment from yesterday must not have gone through, as it was waiting in the approval cue. Sometimes I run into glitches like that when trying to comment, too - oh, that and sometimes the cat loves to jump on the keyboard just as I'm trying to submit a comment and I loose the whole thing because she hits the back button! :P

      I'm very touched to you may spend time reading through more of my back posts. There's been highs and lows along the way for sure in my life throughout the course of Chronically Vintage's, but no matter, what I kept at 'er and have no plans of putting on the breaks anytime soon.

      Many thanks & hugs going straight out to you,
      ♥ Jessica

    2. Jessica,

      How exciting for you, celebrating your 8th anniversary next month!

      I remember being so happy and satisfied reaching our 5th anniversary. People did not seem to take our happiness seriously being married under 5 years. They would always say things like, "Just you wait until the honeymoon is over", as if they wanted to see me miserable.

      My very best wishes to you and your husband for a wonderful up and coming year to your marriage.


    3. Oh my, how terribly unkind of people! There were a few naysayers when Tony and I got married too (especially since I was, by modern standards quite young - just twenty - at the time), but overall those people who mattered most to us were (and have been ever since) very supportive, which I think was certainly a great boon for a young couple just starting out.

      Thank you very much for your beautiful anniversary wishes, dear friend.

      ♥ Jessica

  2. Okay. It's settled. I officially love your blog. There is sooo much good content, sooo much good writing and, best of all, a focus on things we share passion for.

    I, too, love the past and its overlooked glories. Having 2-3 decades on you, I saw first-hand many of the fashions and cultural objects you show from the 1950s and 1960s, albeit on my parents' generation. I adored how women dressed back then and the seriousness they took in public appearance. People dressed up to travel on planes, people dressed up to go out to dinner. And the styles were delightful.

    This has become my favorite new blog. :)

    1. That's wonderfully nice of you to say, thank you very much - and many thanks, too, for digging so far back into the archives of my posts, it's always deeply touching to know when readers do so.

      You've made my day (and believe me, it really needed making) with your touchingly sweet comment, thank you again.

      ♥ Jessica

  3. Hello! Just started following you, but I was wondering, could you post some wedding photos? :) I'm sure your dress was lovely, and I kind of want to see it....

    1. Hi Gillian, thank you very much for following Chronically Vintage and for reaching so far back in time for the post that you commented on first. It's wonderfully always touching when someone does such.

      I actually had an incredibly informal, super small civil ceremony for my wedding and didn't wear a wedding dress. In hindsight, I wish I had all the same though. My husband and I often talk about having a vow renewal ceremony one day (perhaps for our 12th or 15th wedding anniversary), and when we do, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be wearing a vintage wedding dress for it!

      In the meantime, if you're looking for vintage wedding dress inspiration, you may enjoy this post: http://www.chronicallyvintage.com/2012/07/twenty-1940s-and-50s-real-world-wedding.html

      I've also got several vintage wedding related posts in the works for spring 2014, so be sure to stay tuned in for those.

      Many thanks again - it's terrific to "meet" you!
      ♥ Jessica

  4. Im starting now to read your blog!!!! your life seems like my life!! i think i'll love this blog!!!!!! :) Bye sara

    1. Hi Sara, thank you very much for your lovely comment and for opting to start all the way back at the beginning of my blog. With more than one thousand posts now published over the past nearly five years, I'm sure you'll have lots to see and enjoy here as you read through it! :)

      Hugs & happy Friday wishes,
      ♥ Jessica