Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Another Vintage Blog?

I know what you're thinking.  "Another vintage blog?  Really?  Don't the ladies in Portland have that kind of covered?"  You're right, they kind of do, and that's part of what's kept me from starting one for so long.  I wasn't really sure I had anything unique to offer the world of vintage blogging that wasn't already provided elsewhere.  There are a million reasons to start a blog, but I think the biggest one has to be filling a perceived void, right?  Well, I've been thinking about it, and I came up with a few reasons I'd like to blog.

Reason One:
I'm kinda broke.  Vintage costs money: it takes money to find and procure, money to maintain, and added in is that twinge of, "If I don't get this now, I will never have it, because this is most likely the only one there is!"  I'm not quite making a living at my job right now, though, so I need to own up to the fact that, for the moment, I just can't shop.  So I'm turning my interests deeper, rather than wider: I'd like to use this blog to learn more about clothing, hairstyles, lifestyle, and maybe even better, to figure out exactly what the pieces I now own can do for me.  Make do and mend, right?

Reason Two:
I'm kinda questioning my industry.  I've been working for years towards the Picket Fence of my field, which it turns out, is really more a Holy Grail.  I work in the theater, and jobs in my area of it are extremely hard to come by.  Blame it on the economy, blame it on lack of need, blame it on whatever, but in the meantime I'm burning out.  I'd like to see whether I can turn my interest and hobby for vintage into something more full-time.  Who knows, maybe I can't-- but it'd be so great to have fun while I try!

Reason Three:
I'm gay.  No rule of three "kinda" here, sorry!  It may not seem like it, but being a gay lady in vintage has a few challenges that I suspect may not be there for straight vintage ladies.  A great deal of that lies in the act or necessity of "presenting."  I wasn't a queer studies major, so forgive me if my terminology is incorrect, but as I experience it, presenting is the act of letting others know you're gay by the way you dress and carry yourself.  There's a lot of talk about being femme, butch, boi, etc., and when you navigate that alongside a community that's all about dressing uniquely-- it can sometimes feel you have double the attention.  I don't necessarily intend to do a lot of blogging about bein' gay, but I do think it'll come up sometimes-- for instance, doing a menswear-inspired '30s look will naturally brush up against queer boundaries, and I'd like to talk about what that brings up.  Another possible discussion? Vintage for gay partners.  For men, it's more or less clear-cut; for the other half of a lesbian couple, not always.

The other point here is that I had never found a lesbian vintage blogger until I saw the wedding of the lovely Lisa Fox, of Mrs. Fox's Fineries, profiled on Queens of Vintage.  Part of what can be hard about bein' gay is that you don't always see yourself reflected in popular culture-- which goes double for niches of popular culture.  I'd like to be a visible person for other gay ladies who live to root through bins of old clothing.

So, here I am-- a broke, dubiously employed, gay vintage blogger.  Niche enough?

Here's one of my favorite dresses, which has a 30s feel, though I'm not certain it's truly from the 30s.
 It's a paisley print dress, very sheer fabric, and very delicate at this point.

 These shoes absolutely aren't vintage, but absolutely are irresistible.
 You may not believe it, but I completely forgot I owned the above shoes when I bought this hat.  This perfectly matched hat from the 40s.
First blog lesson? It'll be really important for me to learn how to use hat pins.

Outfit details
Dress: thrifted
Hat: Couture du Jour
Shoes: A gift from a friend
Trench coat: Banana Republic
Bag: Michael Kors
Gloves: Antique mall
Bobby pins: embarrassingly visible


  1. I love this perspective you have going! It is really, very unique! I like your mention in your most recent post of highlighting gay stars of the periods that interest you. It's an important thing to cover and highlight.

    I find it interesting discussing wearing a menswear inspired outfit, and how that can cross into the gender area of blogging and vintage, because I used to dress like that that myself! I went through what many called an "Annie Hall" phase of my dressing, where I wore a lot of slacks, vests, ties and vintage fedoras. I just called it "vintage menswear look". I never saw how one dresses as a way to express their sexual orientation, aside from wearing a shirt or something that boasted being gay, straight, bi, whatever. I always just viewed wearing clothing as a simple form of expression of interest and design. So I greatly look forward to reading your upcoming entries!

    Also, I too worked in theatre, and have friends who still do, so I hear ya on that front. I wish you all the best!


  2. Exactly! This is what I'm so excited to talk about, and, really, to learn about-- I'm certainly no expert. But the gist is, when any subculture is forced underground, members have to figure out a way to recognize each other, and this was certainly the case for a long time with the LGBTQ community, and I imagine still is, in many places. I mean can you imagine waltzing into a bar in the 1940s and announcing, "Hey ladies! Any takers?" Probably not the best idea, right?

    So for example, in Weimar Germany, one of the ways a lesbian or bisexual could let others know her orientation was by sporting a tuxedo and monocle, or even more widely, by wearing something as simple as a corsage of violets.

    As for how it affects the present, as a queer woman, when I wear a suit I feel really conspicuous and vulnerable, and very visibly "out," because menswear (vests, suits, etc.) is associated with "butch" or "masculine" women, whereas for a lot of straight women, it's just wearing menswear. And on the other end, when I wear a dress, or more "feminine" clothes, I "pass" as straight, and it becomes equally important to me that I make myself recognized by the queer community. It's a really interesting divide, because on both sides, it's just a woman wearing a suit! But for one woman, it's borrowing a cut or style, and for the other, it's appropriating facets of gender identity.

    Anyway it's a whole complicated mess, and I'm excited to learn and share!