July 15, 2011

"I want now this vintage bag!!!"

A comment over at The Sartorialist got me thinking about the oldest, most impossible to throw out thing in my closet. My closet is big enough that I can always fit more things in, but I'm trying to discipline myself into at least thinking about editing my collection of presumably wearable items by resisting buying more hangers.

As I visualize this task, the first thing I picture are the oldest items, the things that have survived many editings over the the years. I have a chartreuse dress made of scarf silk that I haven't worn in 20 years. Any time I look at it, I feel I am on the verge of wearing it. And now, it's clearly vintage.

Do you have things like that? When you contemplate off-loading them, does a voice in your head say "vintage"? What is it about that nasty old red bag in the Sartorialist photograph that made a commenter covet it and think "vintage"? If you've looked at the photograph you will know the answer and you will have laughed at the question.

58 comments:

Simon Kenton said...

Of the 58 shelves in our combined walk-in closet, 4 are mine and 54 are Mrs Kenton's. Just an observation....

MadisonMan said...

Please purge your closets, althouse. Your sons will thank you after you have died. If you haven't worn it in 5 years, you aren't going to wear it again.

I will say, though, that it is cool that Mom saved a flapper dress of her Mom's.

Earth Girl said...

I'd love to see a picture of that chartreuse dress.

A. Shmendrik said...

My closet is 30% the floor area of Mrs. Shmendrik's. Hers is about to explode, mine has room for storage of non-clothing items. Ditto, Mr. Kenton.

Palladian said...

I own 324 perfumes, most of which I don't wear (and a couple of which are over 90 years old). Maybe it's different, since it's partly related to my nascent perfumery business, but I also believe that there are legitimate aesthetic reasons to keep utilitarian objects that you don't "use". If you are attached to the beauty of something, or to a memory that it triggers, it's legitimate to retain it for those reasons alone.

Palladian said...

"Please purge your closets, althouse. Your sons will thank you after you have died."

What a lugubrious and thoroughly Midwestern attitude.

Irene said...

"Do you have things like that?"

Yes. I have a grouping of about nine expensive suits that I wore regularly when I practiced law. The suits are all between eleven and fourteen years old. They were very chic in their time, and I felt good when I wore them. I think about taking them to a resale shop, but it's difficult to part with them because: (1) I paid so much money for them; (2) I think they are still beautiful and exquisitely made; and (3) I have a lingering hope that they will survive the vintage test.

I sold a couple of them, and I regreted it. I was sad when the resale shop ran a color print ad of a model wearing my suit.

Last year, on the other hand, I wore one of the suits to work. It didn't feel vintage. It felt like I was wearing a dated suit.

Trooper York said...

Isn't that the first thing Meade emailed you?

Scott M said...

For me it's the garage, my kingdom within a castle. While I've got a number of power tools that date back to the fifties, all completely serviceable and fun to use, if heavy, the one that sticks out is a full-sized and framed movie poster from "Last Of The Mohicans", circa 1991. The wife won't let me hang it in all it's wonderful hatchet and slaughter goodness, so it sits in the corner of my workshop.

Trooper York said...

Sorry but I haven't busted your chops in a couple of days and I couldn't resist.

Trooper York said...

Plus Meade was going through a quasi-shakespearean thing at the time.

Jennifer said...

Any time I look at it, I feel I am on the verge of wearing it.

That describes exactly how I feel when I look at certain things in my closet - things I haven't worn in years but may never part with.

Jennifer said...

"Please purge your closets, althouse. Your sons will thank you after you have died."

What a lugubrious and thoroughly Midwestern attitude.


Why sacrifice years of enjoying ownership to save hours of cleaning after death? Silly.

Carol_Herman said...

The shoes are crazy! If you don't kill yourself, walking around in them, then surely you can break at least one ankle.

The red purse is too small! By the time you try to put your keys inside, you've run out of all the room that's provided.

My best bag looks like a horse's lunch pail. Maybe, it's me? I always needed room for two pairs of glasses. A hairbrush. And, a cosmetic's kit. Oh. And, my wallet! Can't leave home without that!

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

If the stunningly gorgeous woman in the photo were wearing a burlap sack as a dress, I would not be surprised if it inspired some commenter to write, "I want now this vintage burlap bag dress!!!".

But I don't know squat about fashion, so who knows.

Trooper York said...

I mean vintage bag is what Joan Rivers has on her business cards.

It sounds better than "Old."

Carol_Herman said...

Yesterday, at In-And-Out burger were two kids (probably about 19 years of age.) And, both of them were in "Harry Potter" dress. One wore the robe (black) of the students. Here,labeled "Gryndofer" ... And, the other in Potter's Quiddich robe. They were heading to the movie theater to see the latest, and last installment.

They said they bought it at Amazon. Gee. I went and looked. And, it is there! Man, would that be great to wear to some graduation ceremony, or what!

Titus said...

That woman is hot.

Titus said...

I had a dream I called my sister a cunt.

Shanna said...

That outfit, flower dress plus shoulder bag, looks like something I would have worn in the 90's. Meh.

sean said...

Well, I have the christening robes that my grandfather wore, and I wore, and my siblings, and my daughter, and which I hope will be used for a few more generations. That is certainly the oldest thing in my closet, but it is not quite what Prof. Althouse is talking about.

edutcher said...

The Blonde has several nice suits she bought for her legal nurse consulting business that probably qualify as vintage, as well as some stuff from when she married the first time.

Given she's filled 2 closets to bursting with stuff, I have a feeling nothing gets thrown out this century.

Titus said...

I had a dream I called my sister a cunt.

Did you dream how long it took for the swelling to go down after she smacked you?

PS Historian, lawyer, professor. Good lord, Irene, they should make a TV series out of your qualifications.

(probably have)

MadisonMan said...

Why sacrifice years of enjoying ownership to save hours of cleaning after death? Silly.

No, practical. Of course, I say this as someone who has boxes full of cancelled checks from the 1920s and letters from long-dead people. Do as I say, not as I do.

My parents' -- well, Dad's now -- house is full of stuff. What do you do with a complete porcelain bath set from 1880? Ceremonial swords from my great-grandfather? Royal Doulton figurines? Plants that have outlived the long-dead relatives that started them? Letters from Mom to her sorority sisters from back in the 40s? My great-great grandmother's coffee grinder?

Hours of cleaning? Try days!

Ann Althouse said...

"Why sacrifice years of enjoying ownership to save hours of cleaning after death? Silly."

Yeah. Any outsider could clean out my closet in an hour. Put everything in large plastic bags, put the bags in the car, drive over to Goodwill.

If you don't want to take the trouble to find the one thing I paid a lot of money for, it doesn't matter, does it?

Irene said...

edutcher, I am not now a professor. I am an adjunct; like Obama.

chuckR said...

I have a sweater I can't bear to part with. It is an ultra thick fisherman's sweater I bought when I was 13. In August I'll be 61.

I'm bequeathing it to my son.

Christy said...

I don't understand the question. I always buy classic and we all know that never goes out of style.

In truth, I keep a turquoise, fuschia, and black ski jacket covered in zippers because I still think it's beautiful but mostly because I credit it with saving my life. Seriously heavy duty zipper deflected a ski pole going directly for my heart with the force of a grown man with the handle against his chest behind it.

I also keep a black suede suit from the late 80s. The jacket is a hip length swing coat that I still wear. And probably will continue to wear until the teenagers in my life begin to mock me.

@Carol Herman, At the midnight show of Harry Potter here, about half the kids were in costume. And yes, I was the 2nd oldest person there.

edutcher said...

Irene said...

edutcher, I am not now a professor. I am an adjunct; like Obama.

Ma'am, I'm sure you're nothing like Obama.

And I was thinking more in terms of how TV would cast it.

You and Mr Irene could be the Nick and Nora Charles of Madison.

At least on USA.

ajcjw said...

I recently saw two young girls (teens or early twenties)wearing their hair bundled into snoods. They had perfect makeup, red lipstick and defined dark eyebrows. They were 40's from the neck up, 21st century below. I was fascinated and wondered if this was a new fad and how it came about. Several months later my husband and I saw a young women in a restaurant wearing a snood. These have been the only sightings so far.

jamboree said...

Nothing in that outfit would work if it weren't worn by that girl/woman/person of female persuasion.

Bag is ugly and would look ugly on the person who originally owned it if worn today. She'd look like a bag lady.

And that's the thing with vintage stuff you have always owned - it'll just make YOU look like an old person wearing old stuff. It's got to be worn by a person of a different generation.

My sister and I were in a vintage shop recently and I found a near exact replica of my 1930s green velvet hooded cloak that I had worn in my club days. I put it on, looked in the mirror, and said "man, I'm glad I wore this stuff when I could." The emo chick behind the counter snorted. My sister, OTOH, had skipped that phase and was only getting into vintage NOW. I've refrained from telling her how very very sad that is :-). I don't want to step on her buzz or the buzz the salespeople get when they see a live one walking through the door.

(And if no one is offering you a guest pass +1 to the latest afterhours club when you walk in the door - that means you, poseur ;-).)

Big Mike said...

I don't know. Just the other day I met a senior manager from my customer, and she was wearing an outfit almost 100% identical to what my wife was wearing when I met her.

Which was almost 40 years ago.

I asked my wife about it when I got home, and she confirmed that, yep, it's back in style.

So, hang onto that dress, madam.

Kelly from Georgia said...

I have a deal with myself that if I buy something, I have to part with something. So if I buy a pair of jeans, I throw out a pair of jeans. I'm def not a packrat but I have a few items I can't give away.

I have a Hawaiian shirt that my mama brought me from Oahu. I'm saving it in case we ever have Hawaiian Day at work.

I also have a purple Western shirt with piping that I bought once for a benefit. I paid so much money for it that I can't give it away. In any case, maybe we'll have Cowboy Day at work and I can wear it again.

Then there is the hideous yellow t-shirt from my dad's family reunion. It has a tractor on the front of it. I've never worn it but how do you throw away a family reunion shirt?

But generally, I buy a pair of sandals, I throw out a pair of sandals.

Oh, and I do Facebook the same way. If I accept a new friend, someone gets thrown to the curb.

Kelly

Phil 3:14 said...

What is it about that nasty old red bag in the Sartorialist photograph that made a commenter covet it and think "vintage"?

Beats me.

Having a "Y" chromosome, I tend to like things that are old and yes maybe a little nasty, particularly on Saturdays. I think the guy term for vintage is "old"

You know there periodic "Sartorialist" posts are a strange form of secular evangelism. Professor, you're riding around on your bike in your white shirt, black tie and black pants but I'm sorry, I'm not going to answer the door

(Errr...well I guess I did just "answer the door")

BJM said...

I was cleaning out my mother's closets after her death in 2006 and discovered four beautiful Lili Ann suits, two Mainbocher silk cocktail dresses and an assortment of hats from the 50's in perfect condition...they fetched top dollar at a vintage consignment shop.

If your closets are full of mass produced stuff then it's prolly safe to toss it...however you never know what will be valued in the future.

I recently took a stack of '70's sweaters and silk knit Tees to the consigment shop and the Missoni sweaters sold like hot cakes...yes, 70's fugly is back.

Keep the chartruese dress Althouse. I sold an 80's tiger print Valentino silk dress a couple of years ago, convinced that it would never be wearable again...only to see a similar print in the Gucci boutique at Neiman's last week.

Dang...I loved that dress.

MadisonMan said...

I had to look up 'snood'

michaele said...

I have a short fitted deep green outer wear jacket that has white and black rabbit fur covered sleeves. I felt sooo attractive in it 43 years ago and still can't bear to give it up. Oh, I tell myself I will someday pass it along to a very worthy hip young person...but that won't happen. It's lasted this long and is still in pristine condition so I have to be it's conscientious caretaker. I think as soon as I finish typing this, I will tell my husband that I want it cremated with me. Hmmm,I guess that doesn't make any sense. I just want to keep control of it.

Mary Beth said...

The woman needs to lose the habit of standing with one leg crossed in front of the other.

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"If you don't want to take the trouble to find the one thing I paid a lot of money for, it doesn't matter, does it?"

If you don't give the one thing you paid a lot of money for to someone you think wants/needs/deserves it, what does that say?

If you don't divest on your way to death, you're just leaving the job for someone else and no, it won't be a half hour, it will be days. It's the whole house and, unless you die unrelated, it *won't* be strangers but your kids who will be doing the going through. They will not be throwing out stuff wholesale and it will not be a pleasant experience. Melancholy to the extreme, but not pleasant.

Done it.

howzerdo said...

I have a crocheted sweater that my paternal aunt made in the early '70s. Before she passed away in 1980, she gave it to my other aunt (her sister). Then, before she died in 1997, my aunt gave it to me. I love it and I still wear it occasionally. In fact, I'm a magnet for compliments from strangers when I wear my special sweater. It's loud and retro but I don't believe the style is the reason.

Triangle Man said...

The woman needs to lose the habit of standing with one leg crossed in front of the other.

From a run through the Sartorialist it appears that there are two trends in posing for women. There is the "leg cross" and "pigeon toed".

Jennifer said...

These have been the only sightings so far.

@ajcjw - Someone recently asked if I was planning on adding a snood to my shop. I had to look it up.

Phil 3:14 said...

I have a sweater I can't bear to part with. It is an ultra thick fisherman's sweater I bought when I was 13. In August I'll be 61.

I'm bequeathing it to my son.


Will he in turn bequeath it to Goodwill?

phx said...

Please purge your closets, althouse. Your sons will thank you after you have died.

Yes, this is how I've come to view the matter - the legacy that I leave my offspring. I'm an old packrat and I've been struggling to do this for years now. And I've made significant progress.

The last thing I want for my loved ones after I pass is for them to have to go through a lot of crap that means nothing to anyone, except possibly myself.

Because I'm a sentimental collector (like I'm saving crap for my one personal hall of fame), of the things I started doing to get rid of things is photographing before throwing them out. It makes it easier to say so long.

Skippy said...

Get rid of any skirts that resemble the curtains from an old hearse.

Look at old houses, like my grandparents' 1925 house in St. Paul, and see how little closet space they had. Clothes cost a lot of money and people couldn't afford to fill their closets with many clothes; my aunt and grandmother sewed their own dresses into the 1980s. Now, clothes are cheap and we have massive closets. An elderly neighbor is selling his 1977-built ranch house and a selling point in the real estate listing is that one of the four bedrooms was turned into a walk-in closet for the master bedroom.

I volunteer at a charity thrift store and the volume of stuff that arrives after someone dies or after a garage sale is huge. A whole lot of the clothes get bundled into bales and sent overseas; they don't even make it out to the sale floor to be sold because of condition. I read somewhere recently that all the cheap cast-offs like these from the US have destroyed the local clothes production in Africa because people can buy 10-cent t-shirts from the charity bundles that are sold to merchants who resell the contents.

Since doing the volunteer work, I have become circumspect about everything I consider buying when I am shopping: Do I really need it? If I wait a day to buy it, will I still really "need" it? Usually the answer is "no."

Michael said...

I probably have fifty suits that have "shrunk" but which occupy hermetically sealed racks in my basement. I go down every year or two and have a look at them. They are of exceedingly high quality, many bespoke, and I will not part with them despite the fact that they will not, and cannot be made to, fit me or my two sons. I find comfort in knowing that I once occupied those garments and I can remember the circumstances behind the acquisition or construction of each. It is the same feeling I get when I go to the Metropolitan and look at the Roman helmets and ponder the fact that a human wore that devise all those centuries ago. When I am gone I suppose they will be put on ebay and some lucky man will bid them in at an absurd price and wear them long into the future. Unlike women's clothes, high quality men's suits do not go out of style.

Shanna said...

And that's the thing with vintage stuff you have always owned - it'll just make YOU look like an old person wearing old stuff. It's got to be worn by a person of a different generation.

I always heard it that if you did the trend the first time around you don't do it the second.

And now I want a snood. Where do you purchase them?

Shanna said...

Found some snood's for sale, and this description cracked me up:

"This hair net gives a look of a snood without a lining. Hair can be seen through this hair net. There is a thin band in the front that secures it onto the head. It can be worn for a regular head covering or for a Civil War Reenacting, Victorian Portrayals."

How many things can you buy that are both modern and can be worn for a civil war reenactment!

Rockport Conservative said...

There are collectible antiques and there are old clothes. I have some of the antiques; a beaded flapper dress, christening clothes over 100 years, beautiful aprons from the 30-40's, children's shoes from 100 years ago, all family antiques. I also have a closet full of clothes I can't part with. When I do give some away and make space it fills up somehow and I wind up buying new hangers!!! Help, I'm a hoarder.

Irene said...

Snoods were very stylish, for a short time, around 1967 or 1968. I made a killing knitting them up and selling them to my grade school classmates.

Freeman Hunt said...

I was tired of such things taking up space in my closet, so I boxed them up in what I think of as my Nostalgic Clothing box. If I ever want to wear anything in there (doubtful), I can, but they aren't cluttering up my hanging clothes anymore.

Kelly from Georgia said...

You inspired me! I cleaned closets and dressers this afternoon! Three garbage bags of clothes.

But the Hawaiian shirt, purple cowgirls shirt, and yellow/tractor family reunion shirt survived the cut.

Kelly

Deborah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah said...

The woman needs to lose the habit of standing with one leg crossed in front of the other.

It maks her look like she needs to pee. Also - and maybe it's the way she's standing - the hem of that dress is awfully lopsided.

Deborah said...

I buy almost everything from either Goodwill, thrift stores, or I make it myself. I am shocked at how much retail clothing costs. The only things I intend to keep are my kilts and some of my children's clothing, particularly the things that I or other family members made them. Other than that, the only things I really care about are the quilts my mother and her sisters made.

HT said...

MadisonMan said...

Please purge your closets, althouse. Your sons will thank you after you have died. If you haven't worn it in 5 years, you aren't going to wear it again.

I will say, though, that it is cool that Mom saved a flapper dress of her Mom's.

7/15/11 10:05 AM

____

I might normally agree. But do not ditch old clothes! It doesn't sound like she has a lot anyway. Maybe her sons will thank her, but what about her daughter in laws? Or grandchildren. Vintage clothes SELL too. And ...no, just don't ditch them. Gotta disagree.

My mom hoarded plastic bags, boxes, old toothbrushes (to clean). Those are the things to dispose of.

I like the red purse.

Penny said...

"I like the red purse."

Me too! In fact, I own one, if not exactly like that in all ways but the color.

Mine is navy blue, and a "Coach" bag.

From reading the comments at the Sartorialist, I gather there was another similar bag from "Celine" that was FOUR figures!

Penny said...

Four figures is like $0,000 versus $000, except that I paid for that three figure bag out of my hard earned, special-treat-for-me, money.

Penny said...

So happy to have a cheaper knock-off of another, more expensive, knock-off... whose "vintage" is suspect....at least in my mind.

Course, you don't know what you don't know.

And while I am "curious"? Not so much about purses.