Monday, June 29, 2009

"Vintage" can be "nasty"

If you read fashion and/or celebrity "news" magazines, then you know that Hollywood ladies (or more appropriately, the stylists who dress them) love vintage dresses.

Renee Zellweger (with a crazy smile) in a vintage Jean Desse gown, Julia Roberts in vintage Valentino and Reese Witherspoon in vintage Dior.

Following the Oscar's, Grammy's, Emmy's, etc., you rarely see negative words written about how a starlet looked in a vintage dress. In fact, the wearer will most likely end up on a "best dressed" list.

During red carpet events, paparazzi shout, "Who are you wearing?" The way I see it, when the actress smugly states, "It's vintage," this is her nice way of saying, "Don't even think you can get your hands on this very dress for your prom, quinceaƱera, wedding or super sweet sixteen."

Vintage has various meanings. For example: defines vintage as "old-fashioned or obsolete." Merriam Webster defines vintage as "of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality." Generally speaking, clothing which was produced before the 1920s is referred to as antique clothing and clothing from the 1920s to 1980 is considered vintage.

Good to know. But I don't like to get caught up in semantics. (For examples of how this statement is ironic, please see my post from last week or last month.)

I use the word "vintage" to describe something I bought more than two seasons prior. Given my no shopping streak, these days, when someone asks me, "where did you get that _____ [article of clothing]?" I often find myself replying, "It's vintage," while using air quotes. It's my way of saying, it doesn't matter where I got it, you won't be able to find it in a store (emphasis on "store," because I believe that if you really set your mind to it, you can find anything on the internet). I think the air quotes add that whisper of acknowledgment and let's the listener know that I realize it is not technically vintage.

In that vein, I'm not the only one who adopts words into their personal vernacular and twists the meaning to suit themselves. For example, I was
in the store wearing these shoes and a woman said to me, "Those shoes are nasty." Huh? (she didn't use air quotes) "Honey, where did you get those shoes? Those shoes are nasty." Oh, I get it -- "nasty" is the new "phat" or her interpretation of my "fabulous."

There's an analogy that will never make the SATs:

Fabulous : Admire

(A) hairy : hate
(B) purple : browse
(C) cold : hungry
(D) nasty : like

Today I wore "nasty" snakeskin shoes, so-called "vintage," green chiffon layered blouse and black skirt. I wore an actual vintage black bead necklace that belonged to my grandmother. So no matter how you interpret it, you won't be able to find this outfit in stores, but The Style Within can help you create your own "vintage" (air quotes) or real vintage look using what you have.


I have received several requests from readers, asking me to provide more information about what I'm wearing. From here on out, I will do better about letting you know. Thanks for reading, and you can always email me with any questions.

Blouse: Bandolino (Macy's)
Skirt: Banana Republic
Shoes: Nine West (Marshalls)
Bracelet: Cookie Lee
Necklace: Vintage (really)

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