The Time Traveler's Dress Code: Vintage Fashion

We are a people that collect.  It's our anthropology, this human need for beauty, creativity, and a connection to the passage of time.  Our history of collecting is quite ancient.  The library at Alexandria in Ptolemaic Egypt was famed for its repository of books from all over the known world.  The Medicis of Italy are regarded as the first prolific collectors and patrons of private art.  By the 16th century, a “cabinet of curiosities” was a common fixture for scholars to acquire and study unusual items. That simple human need: to have and to hold. So deeply felt, and yet we live in a culture that provides abundant technology, but less and less room for these connections.  There is a sense of rootlessness, a constantly ticking clock, and everything ultimately being disposable.  When the term vintage originated in the 15th century, it first applied to grape gathering for wine making.  As time progressed, it came to mean the specific year in which a grape crop was produced, and eventually the connotation of “oldness” and the year in which any object was made.  Antique actually dates a century later, and relates to an object from antiquity, or the ancient world.  Only in the 18th century did antique eventually come to mean something made long ago (more than 100 years is considered the standard these days), prized for its uniqueness or beauty.

In this day and age of mass production, there still exist items of beauty, uniqueness and history waiting for someone to give them new life.  Vintage and antique garments continue to be an influence on current fashion trends.  The idea of something bespoke (meaning custom-made) has become increasingly popular.  Meanwhile, the fashion industry works overtime attempting to influence your buying decisions, telling you what the trends are, and then telling you that trend is over and here is the new trend.  But are there really any new trends, or are there simply new ways of looking at things?  What if by incorporating vintage into your personal style, you can communicate a desire for things well-made, for artistic expression apart from mass-production, for reflection on history or your environment, for a moment of escape from our buzzing world?  What if not everything has to be disposed of?  What if what we wear can dare to be about an ideal?


Guest Contributor, Stephanie Press

Although Stephanie’s feet are planted in Austin, TX, she travels through her imagination around the globe (and beyond) to varying times and places, bringing back and re-purposing various delightful objects and items to share, collaborate and build upon.   You can visit her online store at