I’ve written before about how I’d first gotten into dressing vintage, particularly 40’s and 50’s inspired, but I want to let you know about all the positive things it’s brought about for me:
I’ve mentioned before how I grew up in a small town where everyone pretty much knew each other, so it was always very tough for me to have the confidence to live how I wanted to. I remember being teased in elementary school for loving The Beatles, since apparently they were outdated and uncool. But of course a few years later they came back in style, and those same nay-sayers were quick to jump on the bandwagon. But this fear of drawing attention to myself and being ridiculed followed me, and I chose to conform in my dressing. But ever since I fully embraced dressing vintage-inspired, I’ve never felt more like myself. I had already moved away from home a few years before my first purchase from Modcloth, and during that time I had started to wear more dresses and skirts, engaging with my more feminine side. Although that made me feel good, there was always something missing. It’s hard to explain how strong and complete I felt when I was finally able to dress how I pleased. I’ve felt more calm and secure in myself as a result.
2) I’ve never felt more beautiful
I’ve always had issues with how modern-day clothes looked on me, drawing too much attention to my wide hips and big bust. As a result, I often felt like the problem was with me and the way my body was shaped. No matter how much I tried, I could never really make those clothes work for me in a way that made me feel fully confident with my shape. When I started dressing vintage-inspired, I noticed how much better the clothes looked on my frame, highlighting my tiny waist. For the first time I not only have been able to accept my body for what it is, but I’ve actually been able to appreciate it. My hips have now become one of my favourite characteristics of my body (except when they accidentally knock things over when I’m walking). I’ve come to realize that they problem is not with my body, but wearing clothes I didn’t feel comfortable in.
3) I’m constantly engaging my creative side
I’ve always loved reading and writing, but as I’ve gotten much busier with school, I’ve found it difficult to find time to curl up with a good book. But since dressing pinup, I’ve had to actively keep those creative juices flowing everyday through pulling together pieces from my wardrobe and pairing it with accessories, hairstyles, and makeup. I continually finding new ways to wear certain pieces and create outfits that conform to that classic 50’s aesthetic. It never feels like a chore, and it’s such an easy way to ensure I’m truly doing what makes me happy. Every single person I’ve met or talked to who also dresses vintage-inspired have been just as expressive in their creativity.
4) Standing out – but in a good way!
A common fear for most people getting into dressing vintage-inspired is that they will standout too much. It’s almost funny for me to be writing this as a benefit, since most of the time I don’t like to draw attention to myself in public settings. However, sometimes being able to express certain parts of your personality in such an obvious and upfront way definitely can have a positive effect or outcome. Consider this in the setting of a job interview or a conversation with a friendly stranger. Committing to such a bold aesthetic might make you stick in that person’s mind a little better than someone who doesn’t. This leads me to…
5) Unknowingly helping others with body and/or confidence issues
Sometimes we may want to express ourselves in a certain way but not necessarily have the confidence to do so. And as you know, this was a major issue for me up until I started to fully embrace my retro lifestyle. But sometimes all we really need is a little nudge in the right direction, even if it wasn’t done on purpose. We live in a society where conformity is encouraged and differences are quashed; but when we see others willing to go against the mold, it can also encourage us to do so. I absolutely adore Miss Victory Violet, and was further encouraged by her instagram posts to be wear my petticoats under my dresses in public. Before I only felt comfortable wearing them in formal settings, but loved the silhouette they’d give and wanted to expand them to my everyday wear. Miss Victory Violet was just dressing as she pleased and probably didn’t realize what a big impact she had on quashing that particular fear, but through seeing her confidently rock her style, she encouraged me to embrace my own. Therefore, women seeing other women whom they identify with in some way, being bold and dressing vintage-inspired, could also encourage embolden those women to do the same. And this brings me to…
6) Being involved in such an inspirational and welcoming community
By far one of the best benefits to leading a vintage-inspired life is being able to connect with others who do as well. In general, the community has been a positive force in my life, often providing me with support and inspiration in my style endeavours. Women supporting other women has been something that has really resonated with me, especially since at first glance you’d think dressing vintage-inspo is merely aesthetically-based. I’ve met some truly wonderful people in real life and on the web who openly embrace this concept and actively encourage me to continue doing what I love, and inspiring me with their own creativity. Instead of stereotypical jealousy that we women are supposed to feel towards one another, I feel a sense of camaraderie and friendship. In particular, I met my friend @krttheatrecat through instagram a few months ago, and we’ve connected over our mutual love for retro-inspired clothes and feline cuddling. Instead of breaking me down, she encourages me and keeps me inspired through her own clothing choices and her insight into my style. And this is the type of thing I’ve really noticed in the vintage-inspired community, women meeting other women and joining forces, like @ameliajetson and @modernjunecleaver. But the healthy support goes even further, with some women even being at the forefront of the industry, like Laura Byrnes and Micheline Pitt of Pinup Girl Clothing. Laura Byrnes created the company through hard-work and determination, displaying traits more often associated with men. In fact, she is even referred to as ‘the overlord’ by her employees and fans, a nickname you wouldn’t generally attribute to a woman. Laura and Micheline have become great friends and creative partners, something that society often tells us isn’t possible for women to do.
7) I can still express other aspects of my personality and mood through the way I dress
Fortunately, even though I often stick to dressing more 40’s and 50’s – inspired, I still have a lot of options available to me. I think when people think of dressing retro, what often comes to mind is the image of a 1950’s housewife. Although I often love adorning pieces that could be associated with that image, sometimes I want to highlight other parts of my personality. Luckily, there are a whole range of styles out there, from rockabilly, to gothic, to disney-princesses. If I’m not feeling like looking too sweet and demure one day, I might opt for a cheetah-print top or a black leather pencil skirt. You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I also love gothic literature, and sometimes have fun expressing that side of myself. But I also have a great love for polka dots, and @krrtheatre cat has a penchant for clothes and accessories with cat prints, but neither of us has to sacrifice these aspects of ourselves just because we commit ourselves to a vintage-inspired lifestyle. Thus, there is a lot more versatility in dressing vintage-inspired that one might originally think. And finally…
8) I can dress demurely AND sexy at the same time
Instead of foregoing one for the other, there are elements of the 50’s silhouette which can showcase my curves without revealing what would be considered too much in an office-setting. This means I can still wear tight wiggle skirts, but they fall mid-calf, so I don’t need to be afraid of it rising up too much. I also can still highlight certain parts of my feminine figure, like my big hips and tiny waist, without sacrificing my personal style or feeling like I’m exposing too much. This was always something I found very difficult to balance when I dressed in modern clothes, often finding that I had to choose one way over the other. But that’s the interesting thing I’ve noticed since I’ve begun dressing completely vintage-inspired; a lot of these binaries of ‘one or the other’ have been challenged, revealing that we can finally confidently express our multi-faceted personalities through our style.