the greatest generation

on

You ever stop for a minute and feel sorry for all the vintage collectors yet to come?

It occurred to me the other day how lucky I am to have a solid collection, because now? In 2017? Dior’s New Look is seventy years old, for Pete’s sake. World War II is almost eighty. We persist in thinking of “midcentury” as “fifty years ago”, but it’s as old as our grandparents. Some of my older pieces are already on life support.

Even in the past couple of years, Etsy results for “forties dress” and “fifties dress” have gone way, way down. Anecdotal evidence, sure, but part and parcel of something undeniably true: midcentury vintage is dying out. Pre-midcentury – let’s not even go there. Most ’20s and ’30s pieces probably belong in museums now, not on human bodies. And it makes me wonder what the vintage scene will become over the next few years. I’m so fortunate to own as much ’40s and ’50s vintage as I do, and I can’t help but feel sorry for girls who are just breaking into the culture. The odds are just short of dismal that they’ll have the pickings we did.

How do you think limited availability will shape vintage style in the coming years? Do you think pinups and midcentury dames will turn to the burgeoning repro industry, or do you think they’ll transition to later eras? Some of both? Most of us vintage lifestylers have a reproduction piece or few, but as for the diehard bunch who swear off fast fashion – I’m curious. Will there be more of a market for homesewn originals? (Fingers crossed! I could always use a few bucks.)

Until then, though – we’ll make do and mend, just like our forebears taught. We’ll treasure the pieces with life in them yet. We’ll toast the trappings of the greatest generation.

Dress: ’40s, gift from Mom

Hat: ’30s, Barge Canal Market

Gloves: Mainly Vintage

Shoes: Old Gold

Everything else: thrifted

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Carla says:

    Oh that dress is darling. I actually had that conversation with a friend last month. She’s getting into vintage, and is having trouble finding some dresses in her size, and is considering learning to sew/commission me so she can also have some pretties.
    But, its a weird cycle, so as there’s a bit of a slow patch, in some months there will be a slight uptick of vintage, then a slow patch again.

    Carla, Tiny Angry Crafts

  2. bagfran says:

    That really is a delightful dress, and I would love to own one just like it. But, unfortunately, I am exactly one of those people you are describing in your post, who has only recently discovered her love of vintage and is struggling to find suitable, affordable, genuine pieces to start her collection! I have one original 1950s dress, and some other vintage odds and ends (mostly brooches), but everything else is repro. When I can find something that I like, and that would also fit me (I’m annoyingly one size larger than the typical vintage skirt or dress for sale on Etsy), it is so often out of my price range. It is a little frustrating, and does make me wish I could sew, which ultimately I think will be my solution – if I can find a sewing class, and don’t turn out to be hopelessly incapable of sewing!

  3. Janey says:

    This dress is just divine! And ya know… I’m not sure what the future of vintage is with regards to what we current vintage lovers have. Part of me feels it will go the way of Victorian fashion, where it becomes an event fashion, and daily fashion for a very minor group of people.

    xoxo
    -Janey

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