So guess what? Collecting and wearing vintage isn’t all celluloid unicorns and bakelite rainbows. It can also be nasty, dirty, and a real pain in the ass. But I’ll never stop loving vintage, even despite these 12 Ugly Sides of it:
You will break one of the Ten Commandments. You may not kill, but you will most likely worship some false idols. Who hasn’t bowed in front of a rack of glorious bakelite (and maybe taken the lord’s name in vain)?
Some folks instagram photos of arms decked with carved and polished bangles, you tell me #thedailybake isn’t our version of the stations of the cross? And covet thy neighbor? HELLO! How could you not want a 40s Mexican jacket because of Atomic Redhead?
Or pretty much anything that Nicole of Fashion Forestry posts…
You probably never thought in your wildest dreams that you would need a vintage birds in flight sweater in your life, but now it haunts you.
I’m not trying to downplay true addiction. I know jonesing for a vintage score isn’t the same as shooting heroin. But when you find yourself antsy because haven’t been surrounded by antiques in a while, haven’t pawed through racks of old clothes in 5 days.. it kind of feels like you might have a problem. A fun one!
3. PACKED CLOSETS
Oh no! First world problem. But hey, it is kind of a problem when you can’t find that 1940s knit skirt that you NEED to go with your new 40s novelty print blouse. Where the hell is that skirt?!?! And you can include clutter and dust mites in this category, oh, and an irrational fear of moths.
4. THE NEVER-ENDING MENDING PILE
Get used to the sound of precious fabric tearing! There’s pretty much no way around it.
I’m afraid to say that there are dresses that have been sitting in that pile for close to 2 years now.
5. EPIC WASHING FAILS
Oh yes, it will happen to you, just wait. Twice now I’ve sadly shrunk gorgeous 1940s dresses that used to fit me like a glove. You’ll learn to not wash as much as you can and use those sexy underarm guards!
6. EBAY BATTLES
Every once and awhile you will pay way more than what you really wanted to spend for that Edwardian blouse, perfect 1940s top hat tilt, or Hawaiian Shaheen because ebay auctions SUCK YOU IN!
7. “UPCYCLED” FACEPALMS
Occasionally you will see people misuse or mistreat vintage. This will make you physically ill.
8. EMPTY WALLETS
Say goodbye to your hard-earned cash. Yes you can do vintage on a budget, but when you catch that vintage bug and find yourself absolutely needing a genuine 1950s matching playsuit in your life, be prepared to fork over some serious bread. And be careful – once you make your first steep vintage purchase it’s a true slippery slope.
I find myself sometimes rationalizing a large purchase, “I can buy this 1940s hat for $100 because I found one the other day at a thrift store for $4 so it kind of evens out!” Sometimes I think of what I could be spending my money on if I weren’t collecting vintage: Travel, retirement, going out with friends, good food. (Note to self: transfer some money into my IRA!) And yes, sometimes prices are SO obnoxious. $150 for a cotton 50s dress? A house dress some lady made with scraps… who today I bet would be like, “WHAAAAA…? You want to spend a $150 on that piece of garbage?”
(for sale here)
9. FIT OR FAT
One thing you’ll notice about pre-1960s vintage is that there is no spandex in it! In modern clothes you can gain weight, and keep gaining weight, and you’ll be none the wiser. With vintage you’ll know immediately when that 50s shirtwaist dress isn’t fitting around your waist. And there might be nothing sadder than not being able to fit in your most favorite dress of all time. Upside to this downside: you’ll realize you’re getting fat and hopefully take some life-changing measures. Me? Work in progress. Probably why I’ve been more interested in collecting hats and jewelry, they will always fit!
10. THAT THRIFT STORE SMELL… AND HEALTH RISKS?
Ahhh, that good ol’ thrift store stench. You know what it is? Mold. So says, The Doctors! And there’s been many a time where some vintage I ordered online comes shipped to my house with cigarette smoke attached, free of charge! And there are times where garments, no matter how often I try to wash them, have a built-in olfactory archive of all the armpits that have ever been near that fabric.
Yeah, I love me some bakelite, but that’s formaldehyde smell and that’s rubbing on your skin, hence seeping into your bloodstream…. they stopped making it for a reason! Do I still want it? Hell yeah!
11. BED BUGS
Yikes! This is a for real concern for anyone who buys second-hand clothing or furniture. Inspect furniture, and clean thoroughly. As soon as you come home with any vintage clothing from thrift stores, or even vintage online sellers, wash if you can in hot water and dry with high heat. If that’s not possible, get out your iron and steam those garments. Bed bugs will die from high heat, and steamers are what professionals use to get rid of them.
12. STRANGERS COMMENTING ON YOUR APPEARANCE ALL THE TIME
See this post.
What am I missing? What downside of vintage irks you the most?