Just because I wear vintage…

I was hanging out with Tina the other day, and it never fails that we get some kind of comment from people.  I get it on my own as well, but when I’m with another girl who also dresses vintage I think it just blows people’s minds.  I was inspired to make some graphics combating some of the comments I tend to receive.














I mean, I’ve even had people laugh in my face!  I have to say though that I’m always a bit surprised when I do get weird responses or comments.   I’m lucky enough to live in an area where pretty much anything goes.  What would you add to this list?



  1. Lauren

    This is awesome!! What fun you must have had putting these together. You know, one of the lucky things about living in a town like Austin is no one really bats an eye. Everyone kind of dresses however here!

  2. in the ruin of berlin

    Just because I wear vintage dosn´t mean… I believe in the good (better) old times!

  3. Dakota

    Ahaha, I love these!! Weird comments are so uncomfortable in the moment, but they’re always good for a laugh later 😉 My least favorite is when people ask if I’m “goth” or into some fetish culture. Once when I was on the bus, this creepy dude behind me whispered in my ear “so, are you into Bettie Page?” Ugh, that ruined my week!!

  4. Crystal Lee

    What an amazing selection of your fabulous get ups! I always love your outfit combinations. I think people have a deep need to categorize others, hence the bizarro associations.

  5. garconniere


  6. Mary Van Note

    @Lauren – Austin is a great town. I’m glad I’m back in SF where I hardly get any comments.
    @Dakota – CREEPY! So gross! I’ve had people yell Bettie Page and Dita Von Teese at me too.
    @Crystal Lee – So true, and maybe I’m at fault for doing that myself with people.
    @Garconniere – Thank you!

  7. garconniere

    I would add, “Just because I wear vintage… doesn’t mean I think everyone should/judge you because you don’t.” I cannot believe how rampant of a misconception that is in my world.

    Some others, off the top of my head:

    Just because I wear vintage doesn’t mean I live in the past or fantasize about a regressive sexist, racist society.

    Just because I wear vintage doesn’t mean I want to be objectified.

    AH MARY I cannot get over how good this is!!!

  8. Mary Van Note

    @garconniere – I feel you on those! Gosh, I might have to make up those and add them here.

  9. Draped in Cloudlets

    I just laughed out loud about this – so funny 🙂 It annoys me most though if people ask me if I dressed up for a special occasion as if it was unthinkable to do it just so.

  10. Mary Van Note

    Totally @Draped in Cloudlets I get that too!

  11. Keon

    Just because I wear vintage doesnt mean my closet is haunted.

  12. Billy

    Just because, I’m Black………..it doesn’t mean I’m going to rob or attack you when all I’m doing is saying hello….. 😉

  13. Sara Wood

    OMG YESSSSSSS hahaha. This totally made my day. Or my week. I don’t even think I can think of other beyond yours! (And the above comments about [not] wanting to live back in the day, because nooooo thank you.)

  14. Ginger

    Just because I wear vintage doesn’t mean I sing in a band!
    ….But I do!

  15. Penny Dreadful Vintage


  16. Laura

    Maybe something about dressing vintage and not being a feminist, a lot of people assume just because you like dressing that way, you have old fashion ideas too

  17. Jill

    Beyond brilliant and on point. Hurray!

  18. Elisa

    This is such a great post! I think you nailed about all the ones I’ve had to listen to! You look fabulous in all of the photos 😉

  19. Andi B. Goode

    I’ve got a lot of these in the past! The Mad Men one was particularly bad a few years back. One girl in a shop tried her hardest to convince me to watch it. It got really awkward. And the burlesque or pin up photography one! When you said ‘no…’ and the other person tries to convince you that you should? So weird.
    I can’t think of any others but I agree with @garconniere’s suggestions, too!

  20. Teresa

    This is BRILLIANT! So true and the best vintage post I’ve seen in quite some time.

  21. Allison

    I live in the South and most people here are super casual and wear whatever the standard style is in mainstream stores at the moment. Even if I’m not wearing vintage, but I’m wearing a cute dress or skirt, people ask me why I’m so dressed up. Anything other than jeans is apparently “dressed up.” So when I do dress with a fun theme like vintage, you can imagine how people react.

  22. Blake "Blakesby" Canham-Bennett

    This is excellent. I can’t say I can relate to all of them, but certainly some of them.

  23. Fran

    This totally made my day Mary! I think I’ve weathered most of the above enquiries (mostly with good grace but sometimes i’ve got to admit it makes me feel a little stabby).

  24. Helen

    Gorgeous pics – and so true! 😀


  25. perdita

    Yes! Brilliant! So true.

    My only moment was the one about judging people who don’t. If you look at some forums or earwig at fairs, there are some pretty nasty comments and it embarrasses me as a vintage wearer … It embarrasses me even more when the rest of us get tarred with the same brush. I’ve even got comments for my 60s 70s clothing because it doesn’t look different enough.

  26. Jessica Cangiano

    I swear, I’m giving you a standing ovation over here, dear Mary! This post is so spot on (and relates so well to a post I recently wrote regarding some of the more eyebrow raising things that strangers have said to me over the years) and is an important reminder that stereotypes exist for those in the vintage sphere as much as they do in any other. Really, really well said, done, and put together – I’d be willing to bet a great many heads were nodding like mad (as mine was) as they read this excellent post.

    ♥ Jessica

  27. Fleur

    Love this! I agree with every one except in London, I probably *do* know that other vintage girl 😉

  28. Harlow

    This is amazing and sums up my life perfectly, while I don’t wear authentic vintage, wearing vintage reproduction everyday means I get these comments all the time. Thank you for making this 🙂

  29. Coco

    Thanks for this post! Where I live (Liège-Belgium), it seems that everybody wears the same kind of clothes and when somebody does not “fit in” this trend, comments fly. Two weeks ago, I was in a party at my village and a woman who was celebrating her last night as a bachelorette (and so disguised, she was a 80s fluo bee) told me (to make fun of me): “when are you getting married? Isn’t it your bachelorette party too?”. And then the same night, I got several: “why are you dressed like that? It’s not a costume party”. Very funny ah ah *ironic*. In fact I don’t care because I don’t want to be in the norm; I like vintage clothes and if you don’t, I don’t mind. However I do correspond to some of the stereotypes you describe: I watched Mad Men season 1-4 and I like rockabilly! ^^

  30. Sarah

    Love this!

  31. Reagan Foy

    Just because I wear vintage doesn’t mean I’m having a theme day. I always get “Oh, what’s your theme today?”(from people who know I wear vintage on a normal bases). It so annoys me! I don’t pick a theme for the day…I’m no different from anyone else when I go to my closet to put something on, its just that most the stuff in my closet comes from a thrift/vintage store whereas other peoples clothes come from a department store. Great post…I try not to get too upset about the comments people make because I’ve also had so many people tell me that I put a smile on their face with my wardrobe and that they look forward to seeing what I wear. I have little girls who get so excited to see me and whose moms tell me they love that I inspire their daughters to wear something different from the latest trends(which is usually highly inappropriate for young girls). I just get tired of the random/weird comments and I wish people would think a little before opening their mouths! Glad to know I’m not the only one who gets frustrated.

  32. Jessica Ellen

    Oh Mary!!!! You have honestly made my day, my week, my life! The one that really grates on me the most is the “are you going somewhere?” implying a special occasion. Everyone dresses alike where I live so I get that I stand out in my vintage attire but it still depresses me that it’s such a shock to people when someone dresses a little differently. I’m not really sure why it annoys me so much but it’s soooooooo great to know that it bugs other vintage wearers just as much! Thank you!!! =P =) xx

  33. Kerry - cutie k

    I get all those questions ALOT !!
    I have tons of tattoos and people always say..
    “Are you trying to be a pin up ?” Noooooo lol.
    Arghhh but these made me smile alot xx

  34. Desiree

    But…I wear vintage and watch Mad Men, love rockabilly and do attend costume parties that require me to pull out vintage cocktail dresses, etc. But I get what you’re saying, absolutely. It’s not about attention or roller derby; it’s about wearing what fits you and makes you feel fabulous. Just, you know, people should stop making snap judgments.

  35. Mary Van Note

    @Desiree Yep, I watch Mad Men too. And I listen to a rockabilly station on Pandora now and again : )

  36. Chris

    Why would you be surprised or even offended when people ask you these questions? It’s a natural response to your attire. Wouldn’t it be stranger if people didn’t react at all?

  37. Mary Van Note

    Not at all, Chris. I’d love it if I got no reaction. I’m not wearing what I wear for anybody’s “reaction”. I’m not surprised nor do I get offended by these reactions, I’m just tired of hearing them. If there was more diversity of fashion in society this wouldn’t be happening. I’d love to see more people wearing different things.

  38. Christina

    Just because I wear vintage, it doesn’t mean I… Do pin-up photos , watch Kat Von D, like rat rods, or go to “Hot August nights”.

  39. Classy Lassy

    I’m a pin up! Ugh!

  40. Honor

    An utterly wonderful list. Thank you.

    My additions would be: just because I wear vintage does not mean I am an antiques expert, and just because I wear vintage does not mean I need to ‘get a life’.

  41. Helga

    Excellent post!
    I have nothing to add, but have had the costume party one more times than I’ve had hot dinners. People like to think they’re so witty and original…dimwits!
    When I was a Goth the comments were way more insulting, I must say. The ones I get now are just pathetic. Except when I get great comments, (or chatted up by elderly gents) which is actually more often!
    You look divoon in everyoutfit……..

  42. Leah Loverich

    Just because I wear vintage doesn’t mean… I have tattoos. I always get asked to show my tattoos, but I have none! Wonderful post!! 🙂

  43. Mish

    OMG you just made a sad day just that bit brighter!
    I live in a sub-tropical area with high humidity & the main employment is retail or hospitality; so 90% wear jeans in winter & very tiny shorts in summer – so I stick out!
    I’ve had the special occasion comment more times than I care to remember but most people just stare!
    I think I need to either borrow or recreate these photos with the sayings, so I can use them the next time some idiot stares at me!

  44. Mary Van Note

    Thanks @Mish I say call them out and make them uncomfortable for staring. Sometimes just saying hello and making them aware that you’re a human helps!

  45. Adelaide

    Oh my goodness, the pants in the ‘costume party’ one. WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?? They are amazing.

  46. Bailee

    Just because I wear vintage it doesn’t mean I’m deaf and blind! I can see you nudging your friends, staring at me, giggling…I can hear “did you see that girl?” “…blue hair…” “…behind you…” If you want to talk about me, be polite enough to do it quietly. I am not growing tentacles out of my face, I’m not sure why I am that shocking to people anyways.

  47. Miss Fairchild

    This is so fantastic.

    I got into an argument with my younger brother who was insistent I couldn’t be a feminist and dress vintage.

    I also live in a “bogan” area (I think the closest american word would be trailer trash or possibly redneck….?) and am constantly getting drunk guys telling me I would be sexier if I dressed less like a nana. I always ask “what makes you think I dress for your approval? or to be “sexy”?

    This really, really made my day.

  48. Retro Girl

    Great post! I’d like to add, “Just because I wear vintage it doesn’t mean I’m a bitch.” I’ve had people think I was stuck up because I was wearing vintage or even just dressed up in modern stuff.

  49. Mary Van Note

    @Adelaide The pants are American Apparel riding pants. The zipper on mine broke, I need to get them fixed before fall. : P

  50. Miss Rebecca

    I got told to get rid of my iphone the other day as I was not authentically dressed!

  51. wardrobe experience

    hahaha, great post! there is nothing to add!
    … i’m quite surprised that i hear much more comments about my style in a huge and open city like berlin about wearing vintage as i did before, living in a much smaller town. the comments aren’t less nice … 😉

  52. Lizzie

    What is really amazing to me is that a stranger would think they have the right to comment on how a person is dressed. Compliments, yes, that I can see, but to make comments that are clearly meant to cause discomfort to another is beyond tacky.

  53. Little Red

    Great post! The big one for me is the “just because I wear vintage doesn’t mean I want to live in the past.” Especially when dating! Guys make all kinds of assumptions about me because of how I dress.

    P.S. I’ve linked to and referred to your post in one on my blog.

  54. Mary Van Notes » Archive » The 12 Ugly Sides of Vintage


  55. Amanda

    Just because I wear vintage doesn’t mean “you can talk negatively about what I’m wearing like I’m not standing RIGHT here.”

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  57. kelly

    Just because I wear vintage doesnt mean I have an overwhelming desire to bake you cupcakes. x

  58. Holly Colon

    Completely agree! Minus the “wanting to live in the past” part – if I could live back in the 1940s I would do so gladly! LOL.


  59. sewnostalgic

    Haha this is so true. I have been wearing vintage but from 1the 19 teens through the early 1930s for almost 30 years now(since I was a wee teenager). I mostly get the whole “granny” comments as that style lends itself less to looking rockabilly/burlesque and more towards I guess what people associate with their great grandmothers but that was the YOUNG fashion for its day. I cant get enough of tea dresses from world war I and the kimono style dresses that were popular in the pre-flapper era(early 1920s) and the depression era house dresses. Oh well I even have gotten senior discounts even though I am 15-20 years younger just because of the way I dress hahaha.

  60. Brooksie

    Just because I wear vintage does not mean I am conservative.

  61. Bombshell Dresses

    Just because I wear vintage it doesn’t mean that I’m seeking attention but yes it makes me standout. I’m being myself because everyone else is already taken.

  62. pearl

    I feel exactly how you feel in all aspects!!! I ALWAYS get these types of comments too. What annoys me the most is when people ask me if I’m rockabilly/greaser. I feel like there is a big difference between rockabilly girls & vintage girls. I keep it classy vintage & I do not look like a rockabilly girl. Although we both are inspired by the same era, rockabilly is whole different culture.

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