Written by Renee Rochelle
You do not have to be a black female to understand that this country has a very nostalgic affair with the past. Americans love the good old days and most people of any race or culture can attest to hearing their grandparents say “they just don’t make things like they used to.” While I will admit clothing manufacturing and manufacturing period has in fact, gone down-hill, you will still be hard pressed to find many people of color romanticizing about the past in the same way that others do. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of this country’s past has to admit that Blacks have had a “rough time”. Many would say that it’s still “quite rough” just in different ways.
So it begs the question “What black woman or man in their right mind would want to collect, purchase, wear or even sell anything from a time in this country when Blacks were treated so poorly. Yuck!
Well I found myself truly torn as I entered my forties. I had this longing for poodle skirts, cat eye glasses and white gloves. I found myself interested in china and way more than the teapots I had collected in my twenties. With all that I knew about Black history and history period, how in the world did I get caught up feeling all “giddy” about such miserable times?
When I really sat back and looked at what I was falling in love with, it was not the treatment of Blacks in this country. I was falling in love with the style and grace my grandmother and great grandmothers had when they walked into a room. I was falling in love with the type of jewelry they would have worn. I wanted to pour tea into a beautiful tea-cup like the ones they drank from. I was falling in love with vintage in an effort to hang on to my own ancestors and I noticed as I began collecting pieces and clothing I would wonder if they would wear something like that or if they could see me in it right now in this time and say “you go girl, those pearls are stunning!” In many ways, I started collecting and wearing vintage in their honor. It changed the way I see things of the past.
Now you probably won’t catch me anywhere near a rebel flag or a Southern hoop dress with a corset because I can’t say that I am at that point emotionally. In my opinion some years were a bit worse than others so I tend to collect from the 1940s onward. Who knows, maybe I will see an awesome butter churning outfit or something of that nature and really get into it.
We will see.
Happy vintage fun my friends!
Renee Rochelle is the owner of fancydollhouse on etsy.com
she is an author and collector of all vintage goodies