July 31, 2011

Do we, as vintage fans, have a collective name?

Day 212 of Vintage 365


Titles can be subjective, and names, as permanent or temporary as you please (how many of us today go by the nicknames our classmates bestowed on us in grade school?). Yet there's no denying that monikers are important, integral parts of life.

The name I'm thinking about this morning though, is not the one on your birth certificate, the cutesy word your sweetheart placed upon you, or even your job title, no what I've been pondering for quite a while now, is what do we as lovers of all things vintage call ourselves?

Within the sphere of vintage lovers one finds a large scoop of people. Some of us prefer old school home decor to fashion, and deck our houses not our wardrobes out in the gems of yesteryears. Others are all about the clothing, and rarely (if ever) are seen in dudes that weren't culled from the closets of those who came before us.

Some seek out old school books, art, collectibles (Pyrex or Bakelite, anyone?), ephemera, cars, even houses. Many gravitate towards certain decades (say, the 1940s) or even years (1945), others have their eyes light up at the mere mention of anything vintage and flock to surround themselves with all of it.

We are indeed an order of vintage lovers, within which you will find many a family, further broken down into genii and species. No two vintage fans are exactly alike (though we often share many similarities and interests), yet our differences are frequently much smaller than the substantial number of things we have in common.

Society loves labels and has come up with many for a vast array of people. From hispster to hippies, preppies to posers, teenyboppers to Trekkies, it seems that our culture likes to be able to quickly place members into neat little categories. Yet humans are not specimens in a lab and often times we end up belonging to multiple groups or feeling that none of them at all is suited to describing who we are.

Generally speaking, when people have enquired (as to what, as a fan of the mid-twentieth century, I call myself), I've used the term "vintage lover". Indeed, this is a fitting, if somewhat vague title that quickly lets others know I have a passion for the past. However, I'm sometimes left wondering if it's really the best possible term out there.

But, what then, if not "vintage lover" is one in our circle to call themselves? I don't fall into the rockabilly or psychobilly camp, and while I love jazz and swing music, I'm not an actual musician, so define myself by the music I listen to or play, just doesn't feel right.

A term I coined (though others may too have come up with it) here on CV a couple years ago for those who love classic clothing is "vintageista", an amalgamation of vintage and fashionista. This is a darling name, and one I rather like, but some may see it as only covering the style side of being a vintage fan.

{For those who enjoy wearing - or simply admiring - clothes (like the stunning winter ensemble on the September 1948 cover of Vogue magazine, which comes by way of Fashion Covers Magazines on Flickr) from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, the title "vintageista" can be fitting, but does it work for those who primarily area of interest in the past lies elsewhere?)


I like to think of myself as a collector, preserver and connoisseur of history, one who jams their dresser drawers and closet shelves with clothing that very well could have come from my grandmother's wardrobe sixty years ago. I go weak in the knees for mid-century architecture and interior design; I would walk to the ends of the earth to preserve old photographs. I've rarely met a vintage book, magazine or movie I didn't affectionately like.

Days gone by enthral me, make me want to know them intimately, to ensure they're not lost like a fading shadow into the abyss of history. I feel a kinship and oneness with the years of the first half of the last century that is as natural as any relationship I've ever formed with a human being. I live the decades I wasn’t there to see in person vicariously through filling my world with vintage elements, as I know many of you do as well.

And so the question resurfaces, just what exactly do we call ourselves? This group of diverse individuals who are smitten with all things yesteryear; what title - if, indeed, we need one at all - do we place upon ourselves?

Vintage lover, vintageista, vintage aficionado, or something entirely different. What term do feel best describes you, and what sort of name do you think members of our wonderful community should place upon themselves?

For the time being, I think I'll stick with vintage lover, because - let's face it - that is after all precisely what I am, but I remain entirely open to new monikers and would love to know what you've dubbed yourself, my fellow vintage ……?


  1. ......definately another "Vintage Lover"..sometimes collector or hoarder but normally a vintage lover!! And perfectly happy to label myself as one...no shame in my junk collections here!!

  2. I follow your sentiments! The broadest title I can think of is vintage lover. Because indeed that is what we do, right? We love our vintage. I am more at home in thrift shops than malls and department stores. My eye always finds the vintage or simply vintag-ey.

    I went to the thrift store recently to buy tennis equipment for my little boys. Before I knew it I had a cart filled with vintage baseball bats and tennis racquets. I had to put them back. Reluctantly!

    Great blog. New follower. fellow-vintage lover and blogger.