The end of disco ruined American culture

I joked on Twitter the other day that a world that allowed disco to die is inherently evil. While “evil” might be a bit of a stretch, I really do believe that American culture (and not just American culture, but that’s the one I know best, being American) has suffered ever since disco’s demise in the early ’80s. Here are a couple things we know about disco:

1) It’s fun

2) It’s diverse.

Studio Portrait of the Village People

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Disco was created by people of all races, genders, and orientations. Women and men alike sang; blacks, whites, and Latinos danced in the same clubs. Women sang freely about their sexual desires. LGBT people not only found clubs they could dance in with each other, but also found mainstream success. I can’t think of a single popular band today as diverse as the Village People – both racially and based on sexual orientation. During the disco era, people really were hopeful that everything was getting better. Then Reagan and wolves of Wall Street came in, shat on everything, and set us back decades.

The “disco sucks” movement was tinged with homophobia and led to an era of rock music dominated by straight white men. Yes, I love KISS and Motley Crue, but get real – rock and roll since the ’80s has been almost exclusively the provenance of straight white men. The “disco sucks” movement told black and LGBT people and women to stop singing, stop dancing, stop having so much goddamned fun.

Ah yes, fun. Disco was all about fun. Clubs with extravagant light displays, musical groups that didn’t take themselves too seriously, costumes ranging from divine to ridiculous, and bold dancing were all mainstays of the ’70s disco movement. But then fun was frowned upon, and ironic detachment and a “too cool” attitude reigned supreme in American culture – and has ever since. Today, disco is derided as tacky and lame. Fashion has reached an all-time low point of creativity and color. Every man I know wears the same outfit, and almost nobody wears prints outside of your basic flannel. The “cool” music among my peers is still mopey indie rock (I guess? Sometimes I don’t know what people actually LIKE because disliking stuff is apparently cooler).

I love Nirvana, and yet I believe their influence has generally been harmful. The glamorization of depression and suicide is dangerous for impressionable teens and 20-somethings. The music you listen to DOES matter. When I was listening to a lot of Nirvana and The Mars Volta in high school, I started to realize that I became less happy, less social. A friend of mine who was extremely depressed in college was advised by her therapist to stop listening to Jeff Buckley. While I think there certainly is a time for sad music that you can identify with when you’re feeling low, there’s also a need for joyous music that helps you feel great. Dancing lifts your spirits. When you’re having a crummy day, put on a song that makes you want to move and 9 out of 10 times, you’ll feel better.

I’m dying to see a return to fun in America. I want to see America dance without derision, to dress differently without being labeled “tacky” or “trashy” (just classist terms invented by yuppies, anyhow). I’m sick of a culture that praises ironic detachment, where everyone’s in a battle for who can care less and the mark of coolness is is being the asshole in all black, sitting in the corner making fun of everyone dancing. Having fun is one of the greatest parts of being alive, and I’m gonna keep doing it – and looking great and dancing to disco ’til I die.

Outfit Post: Summer of ’77 forever 

lately I’ve been very inspired by disco and ’70s summer wear. I traveled for four months this year and absolutely loved it – but I’ve been thrilled to come back to my clothes and makeup. 

  

White tanktop – no idea any more. Wet seal? 

Blue high waist shorts – urban outfitters

Bra – target 

Hair – brushed-out pin curls 

Gold locket – vintage 

Lipstick – cherries in the snow by revlon 

Outfit Post: Sleek Black and White

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Silky button-down (70s) – Jet Rag
Pencil skirt – borrowed from my mom
Necklace – vintage, passed down from my grandmother

Also featuring my brand-new purchase, Coty L’Origan. I plan on doing a post on vintage perfume soon and I’ll tell you more about it then. So far, I’m in love. And I’ve gotten no complaints, which can be almost like a compliment when wearing perfume around my family.

The Liebster Blog Award

The lovely Jip from Old-Fashioned at Heart gave me the Liebster Blog award!

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I am so flattered! Thank you, Jip! You should definitely check out her blog if you haven’t already – she has seriously gorgeous vintage style and she writes in both English and German! I was born in Germany and German was my first language, though I learned English when I was 4 and it is now the language I am more comfortable with. So it was so fun to me to discover a vintage blog in German and English.

Here are the rules of the award:

1. Link and follow the blogger who awarded you
2. Blog about the award
3. Give the award to 5 other bloggers – preferably bloggers with less than 200 followers
4. Answer the 11 questions I asked you and create 11 questions to your 5 awarded bloggers

 

1. How did you discover vintage clothing ?
Wie hast du Vintage entdeckt ?
I discovered vintage clothing initially through 70s clothes – my mom loves the 70s and sometimes we’d go to vintage stores and I’d buy a cool shirt. But I only discovered  the “vintage lifestyle” a few months ago by seeing a clip at work (I transcribe reality television). I immediately thought these vintage women were the coolest and I couldn’t believe it never occurred to me before that you could actually wear vintage clothes all the time.
2. If you could only take one vintage item you own to an abandoned island, what would it be ?
Wenn du nur ein Ding (was vintage ist) nach einem Insel mitnehmen könntest, was würde es dann sein ?
I hate when people give practical, realistic answers to desert island questions so I will say my gray 1950s suit. I love it and I think I would look smart in it and that would help me feel better even if I was all alone.
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3. Is there a lot of vintage in the city where you live ?
Gibt es viel vintage wo du wohnst ?
I live in LA, so there’s a lot of everything, including vintage. Unfortunately a lot of the vintage stores here cater towards the hippie/hipster look – lots of 70s and 80s, pretty much no 40s or earlier, not very much 50s and 60s. Most vintage stores have designer vintage clothes, cowboy boots, and some new clothes mixed in with the vintage. I prefer Etsy!
4. Did you discover new hobbies or interests after you discovered vintage ?
Hast du neue Hobby’s oder Interessen entdeckt nachdem du Vintage entdeckt hast ?
Yes, although I’m not far enough along in either of them to say that they’re my hobbies yet – more like aspirational hobbies. I’m asking for basic knitting supplies for Christmas because I would really like to learn how to knit. I’m already signed up for a knitting meetup in January. I also want to learn to swingdance. I’ve always loved dancing and I found some swingdance classes that I’m going to take in January. I’ve already roped a friend into going with me so I’ll definitely go!
5. For how long have you been wearing  vintage ?
Wie lange trägst du schon Vintage Kleidung ?
I’ve been wearing the odd vintage item since I was a kid, and some 70s clothes since high school (and often second-hand – I’ve rarely bought new clothes), but I only started really trying to revamp my wardrobe to be fully vintage in September.
6. Are you sometimes afraid ripping seams in old clothing or broken soles of shoes becaus of their age ?
Hast du manchmal Angst das durch das Tragen Vintage Kleidung kaputt geht ? Denke an aufgerissene Nähte bei Kleider oder an Sohlen bei Schuhe.
I am totally afraid of that, especially since I don’t know how to sew (I can sew on a button or mend a small tear, but I wouldn’t want to sew anything that would actually show since I’d be afraid of doing a bad job). I’m actually mostly afraid of staining clothes, because I’m not always the most prim and proper person.
7. Have you ever worn seamed stockings in winter (despite the temperature) because you thought they were more vintage/prettier than thights ?
Hast du schon Mal im Winter Nylons getragen weil du die schöner fand als Strumpfhosen, obwohl es kalt war ?
I haven’t, but I know I will. First of all, winter doesn’t get that cold here (thank God). But I’m already getting a bit fed up with tights and I’m planning on buying a girdle after the holidays and going the way of stockings.
8. Do you also adapt vintage to your daily life ?
Verarbeitest du im Alltag noch mehr vintage als nur die Kleidung ?
I have definitely noticed that I am incorporating vintage into my daily life. When you wear vintage clothes, some things are just necessary – washing clothes in a more careful manner, wearing an apron. I’ve also wanted to be cleaner in general because it feels weird to be immaculately dressed with a messy room. I also just don’t have a lot of interest in modern things anymore when I know that there’s a fun vintage alternative out there, so I know I’ll be buying vintage home goods from now on, as well.
9. Who is your vintage fashion icon and why ?
Wer is deinen Vorbild wenn es um Vintage Mode geht und weshalb ?
I recently wrote about Rita Hayworth, who I love for her classic and fun style with some androgynous and utilitarian touches. I’ve also always loved Ava Gardner for being crazy sexy and Farrah Fawcett for her fun, athletic clothes. I think it’s clear that I love big hair. Oh and Ingrid Bergman and Dorothy Dandrige. OK, I’m done.
10.Do you have any pets?
Hast du Haustiere ?
I don’t! I’m not really responsible enough. I love cats, though. And my friend has a chinchilla and ever since I saw it I’ve been obsessed with it.
11. Why did you start blogging ?
Wann hast du angefangen zu Bloggen ?
I just realized that the English question asked why, but the German question asked when. So I’ll answer both. I honestly started blogging because my therapist said I needed a hobby since usually all I do is work and feel guilty if I’m not working. I also wanted to have motivation to dress up and feel beautiful since I went a couple years without feeling very pretty. I started blogging on a “health and lifestyle” blog three years ago but gave that up a year ago and started a comedy blog on Tumblr (which I still have – erikaheidewald.tumblr.com) but I’ve only been vintage blogging for about a month.
My 5 bloggers I choose:
Natalie at Natalie1Day
1) Can you do a craft? e.g. sewing, knitting, etc? If so, how did you learn?
2) What vintage item are you currently on the lookout to buy?
3) What item of clothing do you wear that modern people might consider weird? Like a girdle, a corset, a bonnet? I don’t know. Why am I trying to answer your question for you?
4) How do you most often style your hair?
5) How do your family and friends feel about you dressing vintage? Do they ever tease you?
6) Let’s say you could live in the past for one year. Which year would it be?
7) Do you have a favorite makeup technique? What is it?
8) What type of vintage store/item/event do you wish you had in your city?
9) Do you wear vintage or modern shoes? Where do you get them?
10) What modern fashion trend do you especially dislike?
11) Are there any fashion trends from your favorite era that you don’t like?
Come on, don’t pretend this is not fun. It is fun.

Outfit Post: Lady In Red & My New Vintage Hairbrush!

The pilot for Today Is History is shooting next weekend and I needed to buy a brightly-colored dress – my director requested yellow or cranberry. I went to Jet Rag, the only LA vintage store where I have ever actually found things I like – LA vintage stores seem very catered towards a hippie/hipster aesthetic with a lot of non-vintage clothes mixed in. And really high prices. I tried on a bunch of dresses and here’s the winner:

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I think it’s hilarious how miserable I look in that picture. That’s in their dressing room! I wore the dress the next day to make sure I wouldn’t hate it:

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It’s a pink/red 1970s shirtwaist dress with two pockets on the chest and button-up 3/4 sleeves.

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I look weird in this picture but I wanted to show you the length.

All in all my verdict is – it’s not necessarily what I would think of as “my style,” as it’s a bit more modern-looking than I prefer, but it was $22, it fits the bill for the show, and I like that it’s very easy to wear. I think it’s a perfect dress for a day when you don’t really have the energy to get all dolled up or wear anything constricting. I also love the length – it is SO hard to find a modern dress that length, everything is above-the-knee (which is generally too short in my opinion) or a maxi dress to the floor. And this dress swishes around so nicely that it makes you feel pretty and I think would be awesome to dance in.

It also matches my new hairbrush and comb:

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They’re deadstock from the 60s – I bought them on Etsy and she has two sets left! And best of all they only cost $5 with $2 shipping.

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I needed a new brush anyways and I just can’t buy something modern when I have the option of buying something vintage. It’s so much more fun.

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It has cute instructions on how to brush your hair 100 times a day. Which I have probably been doing just because I want to use my new hairbrush. Do you try and buy vintage items besides clothing? What about the stuff that you use every day, like my hairbrush?

Outfit Post: I Bought Pants!

The miraculous has happened. That’s right, I bought a pair of pants.

 

They have flowers on the butt. OH yeah.

 

I bought them off Etsy – the measurements said they would fit me and I can’t believe they actually do. And they only cost about $30. Amazing. Pants shopping is such a nightmare for me – I bet you can see why just by looking at these pictures. It’s the disease well-known as J. Lo Butt but unlike her, I don’t have millions of dollars to spend on custom-made jeans.

It sounds strange but I feel like these jeans make no apologies. They don’t cover your curves or change your shape. This is just what I look like. A pear shape if there ever was one.

 

When it got chillier I wore my new orange sweater that you’ve seen before!

 

It goes pretty perfectly with the flowers.

I also did a lot of work yesterday:

 

The sexiest accessory of all, headphones. I transcribe reality television and believe me it’s a real ROLLERCOASTER OF FUN. And fulfillment. So fun and fulfilling.

So anyhow, I hope you’re proud of me for buying pants. I need more pairs but this is a start!

Vintage 70’s jeans: Etsy $30

Vintage 70s’ button-down: Jet Rag (LA vintage store) $12

Vintage 60’s sweater: Jet Rag $18

Bracelet: Gift from my mom! I think from Kohl’s.

Shoes: Converse

P.S. I got the money for these jeans by selling these ones on Ebay for $33:

 

Size 27 True Religion jeans. Way too small for me now. It’s hard to accept that my body has changed and my style is changing. It’s not easy to let go of. But at least I like my new jeans?

I Need More Clothes

You guys jealous of my closet?

Okay, it’s a little sparse. I counted my clothes today:

Sweaters/cardigans/thin sweater-like things (I have several of these, apparently)/anything you can wear as a jacket that’s not a coat : 13

Pants: 3 (good job, Erika!) (this includes a pair of jeggings. Gross)

Short-sleeve shirts: 16

Long-sleeve shirts/button-downs: 17

Dresses: 7 (4 vintage, 3 non)

Skirts: 1

Suits: 1

Try not to seethe with jealousy! Especially when I tell you that I’ve owned a lot of those shirts since high school, and many of them are Star Wars or Transformers themed! And with two exceptions all my long-sleeve shirts are Merona (Target brand) undershirts. Not that I want to shit on Star Wars, Transformers, or Target. They’ve all steered me well. But I hate all my pants. Fuck my pants.

So I really need to freshen up my wardrobe since my recent realization that I’m not in high school anymore and I don’t have to dress like a boy. It’s okay if I stand out or look like I am trying to look nice. It’s okay to want to look nice. I also have to accept the body I have. A big reason I have so few clothes that fit me is for years and years I have only bought clothes when I was skinny, then felt horribly guilty when I gained weight not only about gaining weight, but also about wasting money on buying clothes I couldn’t fit into anymore. So I’d wait it out and try and lose weight. And sometimes it worked, but never for long. But all that said, I’m going to get this body back, right?

Ehh… I still have some clothes from when I was that size that I can’t bear to get rid of. But that’s not me right now.

That’s me!

That’s me.

That’s me.

Instead of feeling like my body is not my body, I need to accept that it’s always my body. Skinny me was me, and this is me now. And me now needs clothes. And if my weight changes later, I will sell these clothes and buy new ones, because clothes are supposed to fit your body and not the other way around. And I’ve learned that I love vintage clothes, they make me feel good, so I want to wear vintage as much as I can.

Right now I’m in dire need of:

  • Pants. Yeah, the goddamn pants thing.
  • Shoes. I only own heels and tennis shoes but I walk a lot and since I’ve started dressing nicer I need a nice-looking shoe that I can walk long distances in. I’d love a flat, cute Mary Jane or T-strap but I cannot for the life of me find one.
  • Underwear. I hate all my underwear because they’re all low-rise bullshit that look terrible with a higher waistline on your clothes. And thongs? In this decade? No, thank you.

And then things I’d like to have but are not an emergency:

  • A 40s dress. I love the 40s but 50s and 60s clothes are much easier to find and cheaper, so I don’t own anything 40s. Two of my dresses are 50s, one is 60s, and one is 70s. I mean if we’re getting wishlisty, more than one forties dress? A thirties dress? Reach for the stars, right?
  • Gloves. Elbow-length gloves. Orange or yellow elbow-length gloves.
  • More shoes? I probably need black and brown. Maybe navy.
  • I love the turtleneck/maxi skirt look of the 70s. So I want those.
  • A circle skirt would be nice. More skirts in general, really.
  • Some nice blouses.
  • Clothes good for cold weather – I can be a real pansy in the cold.

Eventually I’d like to be able to phase out the clothes I own that I don’t like so well and really have a wardrobe of vintage clothes I love that I can wear every day and feel pretty and confident every day. I mean we’re shooting for the moon, right?