vintage-shop-2Why vintage? What makes us go out and buy something old and worn rather than something nice and new? Is there a reason why some of love Sixties shifts and others swear by Forties suits? Rose Cooper-Thorn investigates the psychology of vintage.

Why vintage? Is the thrill of the hunt? Rifling through rails and rails of unflattering tat which no one could ever look good in, and then, there it is. That dress which you’ve been searching for all these years. The dress which makes you look how you always imagined you could look. The dress that no one else will be wearing at that important party, the dress to end all dresses.

Or is it the knowledge that the dress has already been worn by a selection of fabulous women who wore it to fabulous places and  had lots of fun in it? The ‘story’ behind a vintage item adds to its appeal. When asked where its from, there is something oddly satisfying about being able to say ‘vintage.’

It showcases your cultural awareness and adds to your individualistic mystique. Sometimes the piece seems to ‘find you’ rather than the other way around, when you try it on and it fits like it was made for you, its oddly reassuring that out there somewhere is, or was, a woman with exactly the same shape as you.

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6 Responses

  1. Lisa Prest

    i like the article – one thing I can safely say though – my mother is NOT in there!

  2. Lilac

    “iconicise” ?

    Good article, would like to see it explored in more depth and with some quotes from people. Great starting point though : )

  3. Jessica

    So often Queens of Vintage and I are one in the same mind, for I pondering this very topic last night myself (in respect to what drives others to also love the same time period that I do).

    I know that for me – a die hard lover of the 40s and 50s – the desire to embrace those particular decades transcends more than just the fashions of those years (which of course, I love with an unyielding passion). I aim to hold onto some of cultural elements that made those mid-century decades what they were.

    I believe in civility and kindness, dressing up when one goes out, having pride in your appearance, the importance of community, the value of family, and the the Gold Rule, all things which too often seem to be lacking from the modern world.

    When I don vintage (or vintage inspired) styles, I hope to carry with me more than just a “look”, but also an embedded respect for the past and those who inhibited it.

  4. Mary Kincaid |

    There are as many individual reasons to wear vintage as there are individual vintage pieces to be worn!

    And while it’s interesting to examine what these reasons might be, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what motivates you to wear vintage.

    What matters is that you are dressing in a way that expresses your authentic self AND doing something good for the planet at the same time.

    Hail to the Vintage Crusaders!

    (And if you care about the footprints your high heels make on the world, then we’d love to have you join us as a Vintage Crusader at

  5. kevie

    I think you have the beginnings of a master’s thesis in here somewhere. As a trained archaeologist who no longer works in the field, I like to think of vintage hunting (furnishings as well as fashion) as urban archaeology.

  6. Diva

    I agree that the reason we wear clothes from a cvertain period has do do with identification. Personally I love the strong women of the 1940s and think they wear glamourous as well as “go-getters”. Think Betty Davies, Joan Crawford, Barbra Stanwyck etc And when I admire the stars of the 1930s they still tend to have that strong quality, women like say Carol, even though they had a softer silhouette. But the 1950s with its flowers andf pastells, how ever beautiful, still is not me… Great article !