People get totally the wrong idea if I tell them that I like the feeling of being restrained. I definitely don’t mean bondage. If anyone tied me up I’d be hysterical. I don’t even like someone blocking the doorway. What I’m actually talking about is vintage menswear.
I, personally, can’t get enough of it. I’ve got tie racks groaning with 50s rayon, vintage waistcoats and am never ashamed to wear a good quality tank-top. My tweed collection is getting out of hand, I have horn-rimmed glasses and I’ve even considered (but rejected) growing a handlebar moustache. Most large towns in the U.K. are now awash with vintage clothing shops, vintage fairs and markets. It’s become a whole subculture which has begun to creep even into the mainstream. The psychological and social reasons behind growing nostalgia for the past aren’t hard to fathom. We’re always going to be inclined to look back on past times with some degree of rose tinting, especially during difficult times. That’s fine by me; as long as we don’t forget that as well as the 1950s being a time of fine tailoring and clear diction we also remember that we gays were living secret lives in fear of persecution and imprisonment.
My only complaint about the whole vintage movement is that the definition is just too broad. I remember the eighties (aka the decade that taste forgot) and really don’t want that dragging back into the world again. It was bad enough seeing all that Lycra the first time.
I like the idea that fashion has become more eclectic and more forgiving. So what if your clothes are 70 years old? They’re better for it (providing you’ve dry cleaned them and given them a thorough fumigation). It’s good that we can choose what we buy; whether current fashions float your boat or you’re happier giving a nod to previous eras it’s all fine, provided it’s done with enough aplomb.
I’ll never let the whole vintage styling thing take over my life though…Oh, would you be so kind as to excuse me? I think my bowtie needs straightening and my Babycham is getting flat. I must get ready for the weekly jitterbug contest too. Toodle pip old chum.
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.
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