Can You Be Too Old For Vintage?

Those 40s housewife dresses that I loved now just sort of made me look… like a housewife.

Jun 28, 2012 at 10:30am | Leave a comment

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At a 1940s weekend at Crich Tramway Museum. Believe.

One morning, a while ago, I was getting dressed in my usual attire of the last few years -- a full-blown 40s/50s montage, usually consisting of a calf-length printed granny dress, cardigan and brogues. (My hair was already curled up into a Victory Roll big enough to blot out the sun.)

I looked in the mirror and realised something was hideously dreadfully wrong. I looked frumpy. And dowdy. And old. And just… mental. I tried adding a heel. Frumpy. Losing the cardigan. Old. Arrrrrrrrrrgh! I screamed, clawing at my face and smearing all of my makeup. It was just like "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane."

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Fully immersed in vintage. Whatever Happened to my roots?

I cackled hysterically and cuddled my creepy life-sized doll for comfort. Then I went to work (on a fashion mag). As I chatted to my colleagues about what was “big news” on the “catwalks” and how “the texture mix thing” would make a “really cool” “outfit builder page” (don’t hate me, these are the words you have to use), I could feel them looking at me curiously. I felt clearly for the first time that they were thinking, “What does this frumpy old mentalist know about the modern fashions and the dernier cri?”

It began to dawn on me that my time “being vintage” was possibly up. I had travelled past 30 and reached a point where dressing top-to-toe in an era (or two) was no longer cute or “really individual.” It was (gasp) ageing.

Those 40s housewife dresses that I loved now just sort of made me look… like a housewife. The clumpy vintage shoes (good for lindyhopping!) had somehow started giving me cankles. And my giant Victory Roll-head just made me look like a mentalist.

I was a frumpy, timewarped mentalist! I started noticing other vintage devotees fell into two categories. 1) Wearing bits of lovely vintage and some other things and it all looking quite good. 2) Wearing a fancy dress outfit. There comes a time when you don’t want to be wearing a fancy dress outfit.

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Why are my shorts invisible? Because they ARRRRRR. Etc.

I started experimenting with having a modern haircut again (hello, fringe!) and wearing things I’d forgotten about lik hotpants! And crazy wedges! And handbags that aren’t in the same era as my shoes! (Honestly, I used to worry about these things). It felt lovely. It is lovely.

Grooming is much quicker (those curls take TIME). Shopping has taken on a new, altered dimension, with literally millions of things to choose from.

Anyway, I’m writing this now in a pair of violently patterned “fashion forward” pyjama trousers my boyfriend doesn’t understand which are brand new from a new shop and I feel rather jolly about it. I do still love and wear all of my vintage clothes -- but just not all at once, like a big, ageing uniform of madness. People stare at me less on the bus. I like it.

What does everyone else think -- CAN you be too aged for head-to-toe vintage? Or have I lost my mind again? Also,will violently patterned pyjama trousers still be fashionable in two weeks’ time?