Monday, September 7, 2009

The Emperors Old Clothes

The other day in Brighton I noticed a display of vintage clothing. Going to inspect further I was surprised and somewhat disappointed to find a rail of unpleasant, crimplene frocks of the type my dear old Nan used to wear. My little grandmother gave them a sort of cosy niceness but stylish they never were and no matter how 'vintage' they might be, they aren't stylish now.

So I was rather amused to be shot a 'you're not cool enough to look at my crimplene frocks' stare from the achingly trendy stall owner. God forbid that I should touch their crackly wonderfulness.

I wanted to be like the boy in the Emperors New Clothes (or in this case 'old smelly clothes') and shout out: 'They're fucking horrible crimplene frocks everyone. They were horrible when they first came out and they're horrible now. Get over it!'.

Beautiful vintage clothes can be wonderful, delightful things that are well made and with some sort of provenance that's meaningful for the buyer. But isn't it high time we got over the idea that old things are good simply because they are old? Some old things are just nasty and past their best. Some of the stuff you see on trendy vintage stalls wouldn't pass muster at the scaggiest car boot sale yet the label 'vintage' catapults these objet d'art and chic clothes, or old tat as some of us call them, into the stratosphere of uber-trendiness.

My dear Nan would have been highly amused to see versions of her old frocks selling at a premium in the Lanes. I only wish we'd hung on to them!

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