I’ve been thinking about how much I love vintage clothing, and where this love affair started!
I grew up in a family of six kids. Money was tight, but I always had cute, stylish clothes to wear. My parents both grew up on Midwest farms during the Depression so they knew the value of a dollar, frugality and hard work. These lessons were passed on to me, not so much by lecturing but by example.
My mom talks about how a cousin of hers who worked as a nanny for a wealthy family in New York, would send her their stylish castoffs. I smile when I think of my mom, who has always been stylish, wearing ’30s designer chic clothes to school after milking all the cows in the morning! We are talking TINY town on the North Dakota prairie. Those clothes were much appreciated, as there was very little money to be had for clothes during the Depression drought.
My parents got married in 1945 after World War II. They have no pictures of their wedding, but an engagement picture shows both my mom and dad in fabulous 40s suits. My dad was an Army G.I. and my mom had been a teacher in one-room school house and a Defense Plant worker in Detroit. They quickly settled down and started raising a family…four boys, two girls.
My mom was an excellent seamstress and sewed for herself, my sister and I. It is entirely possible to be incredibly chic on very little money. I look at all the old family photos and we all look so great and put together…always in dresses! I remember that every Easter my mom would sew my sister and I matching dresses. Usually in frilly Dotted Swiss fabric with matching hats and gloves!
Being the younger daughter, I often wore my sister’s hand-me-downs. There is 6 years between us though…and quite often, 6 years in fashion time is a little too dated to be current and a little too short to be vintage! I remember getting clothes from various friends, neighbors and relatives. Some great, some not-so-great, such as the brown oxfords that I absolutely refused to wear…I remember throwing a fit and sobbing hysterically when my parents tried to persuade me to wear them (I said they were “boy” shoes!) I can’t remember wearing them so the histrionics must have worked. 😉
I remember searching thrift stores for finds in the ’70s. Of course, back then, pretty recent vintage was ’40s and ’50s! Lots of pinup sweaters, furs and platform shoes were to be had. If only I knew then what I know now…that that stuff would be a goldmine in the 2000’s!
My love and appreciation of vintage has not waned. If anything, it has gotten much stronger over the years as the amount of true vintage clothing is slowly disappearing. It warms my heart to see that more and more people have true appreciation for these lovely works of art.
All the best,