Menus Subscribe Search



Jessica Cangiano. (Photo: Tony Cangiano)

The Vintage People

• July 17, 2014 • 10:00 AM

Jessica Cangiano. (Photo: Tony Cangiano)

The latest entry in a series on subculture in America.

Pencil skirts, Bing Crosby records, Lincoln Cosmopolitans, grandma’s casserole—all things of the past, but for the vintage community, they’re a part of everyday life in 2014. Its members live in the modern world but surround themselves with trappings of a period that roughly spans the Victorian era through the 1980s. Most members—total numbers stretch well into the tens of thousands worldwide—tend toward the handbags and Bogart films of the mid-20th century.

  • cangiano-inlineWe wear fashions, make-up, and hairstyles from the past, listen to old music, cook vintage recipes, make do and mend. We seek out historical events, join re-enactment groups, and hold vintage fairs. A purist may look down at those who don’t sport period-authentic vintage looks, but if you love anything vintage, you’re a part of the community.
  • On those odd times I wear modern clothes, I feel self-conscious because my vintage wardrobe—I aim for outfits that fit the style of the ’40s and ’50s—has been my daily attire since my early teens. More than wanting to show people my outfits, a desire to learn about and share history led me to launch my blog, Chronically Vintage, in 2009. Much of the vintage community is online, but most bloggers are women.
  • I admire the work ethic, manners, and civic pride of many in the mid-20th century. People pitched in and helped each other out of jams. You knew your butcher, television repairman, baker, and local seamstress by name—and they knew you.
  • We acknowledge our fortunate, even privileged, position in today’s much more egalitarian society. The decades we hold most dear were not perfect, yet they are a part of our heritage and have helped shape us into who we are today.

Jessica Cangiano, 30, blogger (as told to Ryan O’Hanlon)

This post originally appeared in the July/August 2014 print issue of Pacific Standard as “The Vintage People.” Subscribe to our bimonthly magazine for more coverage of the science of society.

Ryan O'Hanlon
Senior Digital Editor Ryan O’Hanlon joined Pacific Standard from Outside, where he was an online editor. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, and his writing has appeared in Grantland, the New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @rwohan.

More From Ryan O'Hanlon

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and, delivered straight to your inbox.

Recent Posts

September 17 • 4:00 PM

Why Gun Control Groups Have Moved Away From an Assault Weapons Ban

A decade after the ban expired, gun control groups say that focusing on other policies will save more American lives.

September 17 • 2:00 PM

Can You Make Two People Like Each Other Just By Telling Them That They Should?

OKCupid manipulates user data in an attempt to find out.

September 17 • 12:00 PM

Understanding ISIL Messaging Through Behavioral Science

By generating propaganda that taps into individuals’ emotional and cognitive states, ISIL is better able motivate people to join their jihad.

September 17 • 10:00 AM

Pulling Punches: Why Sports Leagues Treat Most Offenders With Leniency

There’s a psychological explanation for the weak punishment given to Ray Rice before a video surfaced that made a re-evaluation unavoidable.

September 17 • 9:44 AM

No Innovation Without Migration: Portlandia Is Dying

Build an emerald city. Attract the best and brightest with glorious amenities. They will come and do nothing.

September 17 • 8:00 AM

Why Don’t We Have Pay Toilets in America?

Forty years ago, thanks to an organization founded by four high school friends, human rights beat out the free market—and now we can all pee for free.

September 17 • 6:32 AM

Do Conspiracy Theorists Feed on Unsuspecting Internet Trolls?

Not literally, but debunkers and satirists do fuel conspiracy theorists’ appetites.

September 17 • 6:00 AM

The Grateful Dig: An Archaeologist Excavates a Tie-Dyed Modern Stereotype

What California’s senior state archaeologist discovered in the ruins of a hippie commune.

September 17 • 4:00 AM

The Strong Symbolic Power of Emptying Pockets

Researchers find the symbolic act of emptying a receptacle can impact our behavior, and not for the better.

September 16 • 4:00 PM

Why Is LiveJournal Helping Russia Block a Prominent Critic of Vladimir Putin?

The U.S. blogging company is showing an error message to users inside Russia who try to read the blog of Alexei Navalny, a prominent politician and critic of the Russian government.

September 16 • 2:00 PM

Man Up, Ladies! … But Not Too Much

Too often, women are asked to display masculine traits in order to be successful in the workplace.

September 16 • 12:00 PM

What Makes You So Smart, Brilliant 12-Year-Old?

Charles Wang is going to rule the world.

September 16 • 10:09 AM

No Innovation Without Migration: The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance wasn’t a place, but an era of migration. It would have happened even without New York City.

September 16 • 10:00 AM

A Law Professor Walks Into a Creative Writing Workshop

One academic makes the case for learning how to write.

September 16 • 7:23 AM

Does Not Checking Your Buddy’s Facebook Updates Make You a Bad Friend?

An etiquette expert, a social scientist, and an old pal of mine ponder the ever-shifting rules of friendship.

September 16 • 6:12 AM

3-D Movies Aren’t That Special

Psychologists find that 3-D doesn’t have any extra emotional impact.

September 16 • 6:00 AM

What Color Is Your Pygmy Goat?

The fierce battle over genetic purity, writ small. Very small.

September 15 • 4:00 PM

The Average Prisoner Is Visited Only Twice While Incarcerated

And black prisoners receive even fewer visitors.

September 15 • 2:00 PM

Gambling With America’s Health

The public health costs of legal gambling.

September 15 • 12:23 PM

The Scent of a Conservative

We are attracted to the body odor of others with similar political beliefs, according to new research.

Follow us

Do Conspiracy Theorists Feed on Unsuspecting Internet Trolls?

Not literally, but debunkers and satirists do fuel conspiracy theorists' appetites.

3-D Movies Aren’t That Special

Psychologists find that 3-D doesn't have any extra emotional impact.

To Protect Against Meltdowns, Banks Must Map Financial Interconnections

A new model suggests looking beyond balance sheets, studying the network of investment as well.

Big Government, Happy Citizens?

You may like to talk about how much happier you'd be if the government didn't interfere with your life, but that's not what the research shows.

Give Yourself a Present for the Future

Psychologists discover that we underestimate the value of looking back.

The Big One

One in three drivers in Brooklyn's Park Slope—at certain times of day—is just looking for parking. The same goes for drivers in Manhattan's SoHo. September/October 2014 new-big-one-3

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.