Monday, December 19, 2011

Vintage verses Old-Fashioned

Christmas in the early 1950's

The world is becoming an interesting place!

When I was growing up in the 1980's, I often heard people use the word "old-fashioned" in a very derogatory tone. In fact, it was often flung at me by my brother and other peers as a way of trying to get me to change in order to fit in-- and for quite a long time, I tried to be what others thought I should be. But to me, old-fashioned ideals were something I loved!

My entire life, I have always felt like someone who was in the "wrong" time period. I used to wonder quite a lot about why the Lord saved me to come in this day and age of the world. (Now I have a clearer vision of His plans for my life!) I am and always have been highly sentimental, I admit! I read and re-read classic literature, watched costume dramas, and "dressed up" every chance I could. I reveled in wearing the "Gunne Sax" style that came and went all too quickly. And I have always stubbornly held to my ideals of being a traditional homemaker, a devoted mother, and a follower of Jesus Christ.

When I finally embraced who I am and stopped being ashamed of my old-fashioned nature, I was pleasantly surprised that there have always been many others who cherished the same things I do!

I love the word "old-fashioned," and though I am very thankful for the day and time in which I now live (blogging, e-mail, running water, electricity, transportation, convenience), I often have nagging thoughts about what we all have abandoned in favor of our modern lifestyle.

In the last few months, I discovered a very interesting blog that-- combined with other things my husband and I have been reading, watching, and discussing-- has me pondering on the past even more than I usually do.

The blog features a young married wife with no children, who decided to live a "vintage" lifestyle for two years, dressing the part of a 1950's homemaker, using old appliances, limiting modern media, and building homemaking skills. It is fascinating to read her thoughts along her journey, mostly because of the way it changed her heart. (See the blog button in the right hand column called "The Apron Revolution.") What began as a "cute" or "fun" vintage experiment, where she got to play dress up and shop for old stuff, ended up teaching her things she never imagined.

Here's an excerpt from one of her more inspiring posts:
"Well, I am coming to realize if I want to be, or any of us want to become, more like this or that person or to take on the qualities of vintage times that we admire, we have to work at it. We cannot just buy the product and ta-dah! there we are happy and transformed. I am finding that what I love and cherish of this generation, their community spirit, their ability to make do and to smile through hardship, cannot be bought. It has to happen. You have to not just wear their fashions, you have to go out and try to make a difference. In your own home and how you respond to things. How you shop. How you connect to your community and family. But, in doing it and failing along the way or being unhappy in it, now you are building character and a real life. I don’t know if I will ever live up to what I think those 1950’s homemakers were, and they probably never lived up to their predecessors either, but in trying, in being self-aware and caring for others, for people more than whether or not you ‘fit in’ or you are part of this or that group or you buy the right things or you wear the right clothes." 

 In the time I've spent online, I have found that anything "Vintage" is becoming really trendy-- very cool. But much of it is superficial and some of it is even revolting, such as the idea that pin-up girls from the 1930's, 40's and 50's being the new desirable fashions we now admire. (?) While I actually AM very excited to see more women dressing more femininely and embracing womanhood in way that has not been done in decades (YAY!!!), it's strange to me how so many view "vintage" through a modern lens. In the flurry of vintage hairstyle tutorial videos, reenactment photo shoots, and antique shopping, are the principles, the morals, the goals, any different than our broken society now holds? Or are these just "funny and cute" things that we laugh about and see as novelties?

Our fore-mothers knew something that we don't always grasp with our modern thinking: True homemaking and motherhood are not "trends." Femininity is not something we embrace because it's fashionable right now, and then we abandon when it's no longer "new."

Old-Fashioned Motherhood is about serving and nurturing our families. It is the dedicated work we do in our homes and in our relationships out of love for God, our husbands, and our children. The "old-fashioned" values we hold sacred mean so much more than any "vintage" trends we could follow. Our values are who we are, what we know is true and right.

By all means, we "old-fashioned" ladies can enjoy wearing skirts and dresses, curling our hair, sewing, crafting, cooking, and eschewing consumerism. But no matter how much we do these things, if our hearts are not turned to our children, our homes, and our God, none of those fun "vintage" things will be anything more than a fun trend we once followed.

May the Lord bless you and all those in your homes this week to have a truly "Old-Fashioned" Christmas. One focused on the love of God, and on His gift to us: the birth of His precious Son, Jesus Christ.



  1. By all means, we "old-fashioned" ladies can enjoy wearing skirts and dresses, curling our hair, sewing, crafting, cooking, and eschewing consumerism. But no matter how much we do these things, if our hearts are not turned to our children, our homes, and our God, none of those fun "vintage" things will be anything more than a fun trend we once followed.

    Amen! Wonderful post. God bless you!

  2. Beautiful post, Rachel!!! I'm right there with you. I'm kind of an old-fashioned girl too, but don't take away my 21st-century technology and conveniences!

    I hope you have a wonderful "Old-Fashioned" Christmas!

  3. A few days ago I just read a post by a young woman who has very negative views about the 1950's and other eras. Her post was very feminist and acted as if all women from those eras were abused, stifled women. It made me sad since that is the view I was also given by my grandmother as well.

    I've come to realize that every era has men and women who dislike their lives and the circumstances of their current society, then there are also men and women who love the era they live in. I'm beginning to think that we all can find our niche somewhere.

    I love technology and easy living in many ways, but I can also see the loss of values that have come along with being spoiled, gotta-have-it-now, egocentric living that is prevalent today. I wonder if there is a way to have the good of both worlds and leave the bad behind. For me, that is the trick. That is why I am so unique and often alone in my thinking. I love Internet, but hate texting. I love air conditioning, but hate most TV. I love digital information, but refuse to give up my paper books.

    It is balance that makes our families and the world a decent place to be. Without balance, nothing will work out for our benefit.

  4. You expressed so well my own feelings that draw me to the ideas of "vintage".

    I love the old R.S. Magazines and I recently thrifted an old set of The Homemaker's Encyclopedia.
    While they make me smile and laugh, the principles of true service, the priority of husband and children, and the consideration of others are timeless.

    Merry Christmas!


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