Like most who are into vintage, the most common question is: What got you into vintage? I can't count how many times I've been asked this question. I think most people expect there to be some quick answer; some definitive moment where I said "I love vintage!" But, there wasn't. For as long as I can remember, I have been attracted to things of decades past, even before I knew what old, vintage, or antique was. As a young girl, my grandmother used to sing to me songs such as the Chattanooga ChooChoo. I always loved to hear these songs over traditional lullabies. Even at 10 years old, I loved going into antique stores. I would get a charge of energy from all the old things that surrounded me. History was always my favorite and best subject; that is 20th century history - the rest bored me.
I used to go to garage sales with my other grandmother when I'd come to stay with her during the summer. I must have been about 11 when we went to one that an older couple was having. My grandmother said that I could pick one item off the 25 cent table. I picked out this beautiful rhinestone choker. Little did I know at that time that it was from the 1950s. I still have that choker.
When I was 14, I started becoming aware of what vintage was. I still had yet to do any actual vintage shopping, but I remember wanting to wear 1940s styled clothing. I also wanted to learn how to swing dance. But, when I asked my friends to learn with me, they all laughed at me and called me weird (which would be a common theme in my life). Just a couple years later, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy became popular among my "friends." I couldn't go to a party without watching people swing dance. Being the stubborn person that I am, I refused to learn (still don't know how). Later Cherry Poppin Daddies and Royal Crown Revue made hits with this circle, and I just couldn't get away from the popular new swing movement. So, I got into punk.
When I was into punk, I shopped only at thrift stores. But, my deep seeded vintage obsession fought me. I would mostly buy vintage clothing from the 50s and 60s, at the time the 60s being my favorite - the brighter and bolder the better (do you see how conflicted I was?). I still didn't have a grasp of decades.
I also have an anal side to me. I can't do something without being as authentic as I can. One of my most memorable times in high school was in the 11th grade. In my English class, my teacher decided to stage a mock 1960s Vietnam protest. I don't know what this had to do with English, or why we were doing this project. All I remember was what I wore. We had our choice to which side of the protest we would be on. Who would really want to be for the war when it was more fun to dress up as a hippie? And, a hippie I dressed up as. I was the only one who went all out. From my gauzy white cotton top, to my braided leather headband. This was the first time I had dressed up as authentic as I knew how, and I loved it. I would have fit right in the picture below.
By the time I graduated high school, I felt a little more free to pursue things that I loved without as much mocking from other people. This is when I shopped at my first vintage store. When I was 19, I moved into my own apartment. By this time, the vintage obsession over took me. I scoured ebay and vintage decor books. This is how I learned what I know about vintage. Since then, I have pursued only the 1950s. This is the decade that fits me. This is the decade that I get the most energy from. It has now been almost 20 years since those first days of my teenage years. I have never lost that yearning for living in the past.
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