White crochet snood: Handmade gift from a dear online friend
1940s/50s floral print house dress: Bought from a vintage seller on Facebook
1950s Italian mosaic brooch: Yard sale find
Red cardigan: Gap
Caramel hued skinny belt: eBay
Yellow rose stretch bracelet: Thrifted (from Value Village)
1950s corduroy bucket purse: etsy seller Rue 23 Vintage Clothing
Brown leather wedge sandals: Yard sale find
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
♥ ♥ ♥
By putting who we are out on the internet in any kind of capacity, we are opening ourselves up to uninvited scrutiny, criticism, and sometimes even rudeness (or worse, full on harassment). Sadly, there are no shortage of unkind, snarky, uncouth people in this world, and the fact that they can so often operate under the cover of anonymity online, doesn't help matters one iota either (unfortunately some people, when they think they their words can't be traced back to them, spew forth the nastiest statements imaginable and don't give a fig if they hurt someone in the process).
I've always felt exceptionally blessed to be a part of the online vintage community, where, by and large, kindness, sweetness and tons of positive folks (and their comments) abound. I also feel fortunate that, whether online or off, most of the comments I've received over the years about my vintage wardrobe and lifestyle have been wholly positive - some have even been so lovely and meaningful that they moved me to tears.
Most, if not all, of us who blog and/or wear vintage however, will run into unkind comments sometimes. I don't mean eyebrow raising, but ultimately harmless, comments of the type I discussed in this post a few months ago, I mean flat out vicious, misinformed, petty, or otherwise astronomically unmannerly comments that linger with you for a long time after they come your way (which, I cannot help but think, is often the perverse intended purpose behind them in the first place).
While I happily welcome blog comments from those with differing opinions, don't mind criticism if it's delivered with tact and friendliness, and don't of course expect everyone who finds my site to love it or me, I have zero tolerance when it comes to flat out mean, insulting, proactive (aka, the kinds of things internet trolls are tremendously fond of), or otherwise inappropriate comments, and do not let them through my screening process.
Occasionally though, a comment comes along that teeters on what I consider to be the edge of the two worlds. It's almost always delivered anonymously, and it usually unsettles me a great deal. So far this year I've received two such comments (far less, I know, than some of my fellow vintage bloggers receive, so I'm not getting hung up on the number at all and truly feel for those who have to fend off negative comments on a far more frequent basis), one of which landed on the post from last month about my first ever blogger meet-up.
Delivered by, huge surprise here, an anonymous poster, it read, "Enjoy your blog but have to be brutal and say you really don't manage to pull of a 1940s authentic look."
I know, believe me, I know what kind of strongly worded reply a comment like this stirs in your soul when you read it, but I've long learned when to pick my battles and when to take the high road, and I was more than happy to opt for the the lofty path with my reply.
"No need to worry about brutality, it's all good. For starters, I'm a die hard fan of the 40s and 50s alike, and dress frequently in pieces and styles from each, whether worn together or separately. This day, my outfit had a strong 50s spin to it.
I adore and love to celebrate the past with my wardrobe. Some days I go for a wholly period look, others I put my own spin on vintage attire. Some people prefer to always look exceptionally period appropriate 24/7, and that's awesome. Plenty of us vintage loving folks however, like to create looks that lean heavily on the past, but with our our unique, inspiring, beautiful spins on them.
Life is not a costume contest or akin to doing the costuming for a big budget movie - nor should anyone's vintage wardrobe feel that way, unless they want it to. Everyone puts their own stamp on vintage fashion, myself wholeheartedly included. My passion for the 40s and 50s is boundless and my desire to wear looks from, or that are inspired directly by these decades is limitless, too. If I don't look like page 283 of the Fall-Winter 1943 Sears catalog every day, that's as a-okay with me, as much as if I did. I dress in the way that makes me most happy in the moment, celebrating the past every step of the way, and in doing so am authentic to my own soul."
I could have cited example after example of highly authentic period specific outfits that I've worn over the years (complete with snaps) that dispel that statement in a flash, discussed how my health factors heavily into my wardrobe choices (a topic discussed at length in this post), how wearing a wig due to hair loss limits my hairstyling options, or how I've always been far too eclectic a person to stick to just a small number of looks or garments from a certain era day in and day out, but I don't have to justify my wardrobe choices to this unknown stranger, or for that matter, to anyone on the face of the planet - and neither do you.
I'm not sharing this person's comment with all of you here today as a way of singling them out in a negative way. Not at all. Their words were a catalyst for a blog post, as a good many blog comments I've received over the years have been. As harsh as what they said might sound, it is, in a rather round about way, a compliment of sorts, because it drives home the fact that I have a unique, highly personalized take on wearing vintage that sometimes goes full on period appropriate, but at other times is a variation on the past that brings me great joy to sport.
One of the things, as I touched on in my reply, that I adore so very much about the vintage fashion community is that many of us put our own unique, fabulously creative stamp on the way that we wear yesteryear styles. We take strong inspiration from the past, combine it with various other loves, our mood, our favourite colours and fabrics, and myriad other things to create a sartorial voice all our own. This is brilliant and beautiful, empowering and endlessly encouraging.
The photos above, for example, show an outfit that is heavily influenced by the 40s, but I didn't set out to look exactly like I stepped out out of a period photo. I just tossed together an ensemble for a day of bopping around Penticton and Osoyoos with my darling husband that included a fairly new to me vintage house dress (that really, really needs to have some of its - I kid you not - eight inch hem let down; it's considerably shorter than I like my hemlines to be, but that day was quite toasty so, it worked in the moment), a 1940s style snood that a dear online friend made for me, a vintage appropriate cardigan, and a selection of complimentary accessories.
This outfit is extremely typical of my personal style. You've seen dozens like it over the years and will continue to see plenty more akin to it in the future. Each will likely be a bit different - combine new and old pieces in my wardrobe, fit and celebrate the seasons, be filled with garments and accessories that I truly love (many with great stories behind them), and which work my current circumstances and lifestyle.
I don't dress to please anyone but myself, nor do I care what people think of my style. It took me a long time to reach a point in my life where such was the case, but once I did, it was like hitting a state of fashion nirvana. Free from other peoples' judgment and opinions, I could embrace my style in a whole new way and rock whatever I wanted to sport just about 24/7 (yes, there are those few rare days where circumstances dictate I dress in a certain way that isn't perhaps my first choice, but thankfully they are exceedingly few and far between).
My vintage style is me, and I am my vintage style. We're intertwined, lifelong friends and we answer to no one, nor do we have to explain our choices, motivations, or fashion fueled desires, unless we want to. I am unendingly happy with the way I dress and how I bring my passion for the past to life with my wardrobe choices.
I am, as I told that random commenter, authentic to my soul (just as many of you are to yours as well), and that's all that matters. Sometime that, sadly, I suspect many people who cower behind online invisibility and forget the importance of Thumper's rule, will never fully understand.