Reading Mary Deluxe and Temperamental Broad's recent blogs where they discuss Rockabilly, scenes, vintage snobbery, got me thinking and analyzing myself. Am I viewed as a "vintage snob" or a shallow "scenester?"
I bought my first vintage dress when I was only 16. I had borrowed a dress from a girlfriend and put my waist length hair up in a french twist one fateful night in 1983, and headed out to Mother's Disco. Mother's was an underage nightclub and when there wasn't a party or something fun to do, I would frequent the venue with friends on a Friday or Saturday night. While hanging out with a friend, she was trying to explain what creepers were. You know, the suede shoes with thick crepe soles that were popular with Teds, and later with punks. She looked down and said "Those shoes there, those are creepers!" We both scanned our eyes up to a very handsome face and she said, "It's Dave Burks!"
I did not know Dave, yet, but we became very good friends. Perhaps I had a little crush at first, who wouldn't? Check out his drivers license photo taken around that time:
That night, Dave told me I should never cut my hair. Did I listen? Of course not, and bobbed my hair not long after we met. Dave also introduced me to the world of thrift store shopping. He influenced my impressionable mind when he told me "You should always wear vintage dresses, you look better in them." That advise always stuck with me.
I started collecting and had a fine collection of beautiful silk and tulle that I wore to underground clubs in the 80s. I can remember being so frustrated with the clothing they sold in retail stores, nothing looked as good or was as glamorous as the vintage dresses I found at the thrift store. When I started getting into punk rock, I still wore a lot of the vintage dresses and made alterations to some of them. I think my favorite was the black velvet fitted top that I attached garter straps to and fastened fishnet gloves to. That top was inspired by Siouxie Sioux.
I lost that collection when I was pregnant. I was living with a girl (she is now on my facebook and might read this!) and when I moved out, I only took one dress with me and when I returned to get the rest I discovered she had sold them. I probably owed her rent, and besides, I would never again have 36-26-38 measurements!
I did not start buying vintage clothes again until the mid 90s, when I started attending some swing shows. I was about the size I am now, but after the birth of my younger two children, I never thought I would be able to wear them again and sold them around 2001 or 2002. I do regret that now!
In 2002, when I started venturing out to shows again, I ran into so many old friends. This is more than 10 years after I got sober, and I felt right at home. I weighed about 250 pounds and finding vintage was a challenge! My first Viva, I had a few vintage dresses but nothing was very special or very cute. Luckily there was good old Stop Staring, and Torrid had a great selection of rockabilly clothing. I started loosing a lot of weight in 2005, and by fall of 2006, I was about a size 14-16 and could find a vintage piece here or there, but also I discovered Whirlingturban. I bought about 8 Whirlingturbans that first 18 months after my first. I still have most of them, but I started gaining weight back through the end of 2007 and into 2008, so that the latter were made bigger.
I was back at weight watchers in September of 2009 when I started working at Time Zone Vintage. In a very short time I amassed a very nice wardrobe as I lost weight. I developed better style, obtained quality pieces that I had only dreamed of wearing in 2002.
Am I a vintage snob? I don't think so, aside from the fact that the vintage must be cute and flatter my figure. I don't care what other people wear, as long as they are looking the best they can. It's all about finding your style, what is flattering, and what fits. If it's modern clothes from H&M or vintage, or repro...it doesn't matter to me. I don't do much 60s or 70s because I don't think it looks flattering on me, or I don't like the feel of synthetic fabrics that were manufactured during that time. I don't like 80s, since after all, during the 80s I didn't like what the retailers were selling then!
Regarding the scene...my social life revolves around rockabilly music. There is a scene that surrounds rockabilly music. Therefore I am active in "the scene." I appreciated the music even more after I learned to dance, which only happened 3 years ago! I did go to shows for years before I learned to dance, but loved it even more after I learned. Now, any excuse to dance is all that is needed to get me out of the house. Here is proof...me at a Yelp Elite dance. No, I am not a "yelper" but my friend was hired to DJ so I took advantage of his invitation so I could dance.
In 2006, I was inducted into a group of girls called "The Bombshells." The Bombshells are a social club and we sponsor an event called "Booze Broads and Hotrods." Because I am a fan of rockabilly and psychobilly music, I would travel to a lot of shows. Being older, and a non drinker, I made friends, maintained friendships, and became acquainted with many people in bands or other lovers of music. I went to Viva, LA for the Hollywood Showdown weekenders, and many, many roadtrips to LA just to go to a good show. Between the club, and my personal relationships I started producing and promoting my own shows. I then started promoting rockabilly shows at two local clubs owned by good friends that I've known since the early 80s.
For anyone that had questions about me, or made assumptions that I was a snob or total scenester because of my posts about the bands I've worked with, shows and events I go to, or the clothes I wear, I hope this clears it up. Over half my wardrobe I got on trade at the vintage shop, and most of my ebaying has been done in the last year and a half, and I still find great deals! I have paid a lot or traded a lot for something really special, but I think it's worth it if it makes me look and feel fabulous!