I hadn’t dressed up in a couple days – I’d been working at home and going to the gym and not finding the requisite motivation to put on a girdle and stockings and really feel suited up. Then at the gym today, walking on the treadmill and reading, I suddenly realized one of the reasons why I love vintage.
I’ve been reading the book Team of Rivals, about President Lincoln, and feeling so invested in him, his Cabinet members, and the fate of the Union, and that world feels as real and present to me as my own right now. I realized that most of us are a product of our time and place and we really belong in it. Some of us feel we were born in the wrong place or time period and seek to change it through physical location or daily lifestyle. So many people in this community feel they really should have lived in the 40s or 50s because they identify with that era in a way they just don’t with current times (though many others love certain things about another era but feel solidly a modern woman). Similarly, I know several people who have moved to a foreign country because when they first went there they felt at home for the first time in their lives.
I’m not one of those people. I’m going to risk sounding arrogant here in hopes that I can accurately explain what I’ve been feeling. Certainly I love being American, but I was born in Germany and lived in China and I feel a strong identification with all those places, and many more. I’ve never found one country that feels more home to me than others. There is much I love about our modern age – the progression of equal rights chief among my reasons – but I don’t feel like I necessarily belong to or am bound by it. If I’m not embracing the past, I don’t feel like my full self. If I’m not living an international life full of travel and foreign languages, I feel limited.
Which brings me to vintage. Wearing vintage is an outlet for that desire to identify with history. Every time I get dressed I can feel like I’m somewhere else, in a different time and place. I love history but not only as a passive observer – I want to feel like an active participant. I want to experience it. Suddenly my lack of motivation had dissipated and I couldn’t wait to get home and transform into the gorgeous vintage version of myself.
All I had to do last night was an improv show and then come home and transcribe, but I put on my pink Jackie O dress and jacket, a leopard-print vintage scarf in my hair, and a nice dose of red lipstick and I felt gorgeous.