Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Retail Shopping For Imitation Vintage: Friend or Faux?


If life more closely resembled my dreams, I'd find every single thing that I ever needed or desired from the thrift store---all in one single visit, no less. But waking life being what it is---I've found that it's still just a veritable luck-of-the-draw when it comes to shopping secondhand. And I just can't seem to find EVERYTHING at the thrift. 

And this has become especially true when it comes to furnishing and decorating my new digs---a shared condo with my boyfriend in Edgewater Park, New Jersey. I think it might be the truth universally known that when you don't need that perfect new-to-you dresser or bookcase you'll see an endless parade of them. But when you absolutely need one---well, there's just none to be found. I suppose patience is a virtue. But in the meantime...I've been doing something...something I'm not sure that I should be...

Shopping. Actual retail shopping. I know. It might come as a shock. But I can't help it. And I'll tell you why. 

There's been a resurgence of rustic, vintage style. 

Being a lifelong thrift shopper, I know that it's only a matter of time before everything old is new again. I mean, it's new-to-me... and I love that. But now everyone else is loving it too. And this means that mass market retailers are catering to what was once a niche and turning it into an irresistible cash cow of polka dots and paisleys, of salvaged wood design and skeleton keys. 



And I'm feeling really conflicted about it. Because this vintage aesthetic really speaks to my personal style, even though I know that the real thing would be just a fraction of the cost at the thrift store. And believe me, being unable to find the real vintage serving tray that I had in my mind's eye for the past few months is not for lack of trying. So when I saw this faux-vintage worn design with an olive toned Moroccan print...I justified spending the $12. And that owl glass, that was only $3. 

It's not as if I'm spending top dollar on these items... so maybe it's not even the financial aspect of it. Maybe I'm just a bit of a thrift snob?  Maybe I relish the fact that I'm one of just a few who may have a particular item. But now. Now I'm just one of hundreds, thousands buying the same mass marketed wares. 



I mean, look at these succulents. They're not even real. But they're cute and they're tiny. And they're in wooden boxes, damn it. I don't even know how to feel about this. Part of me wants to slap my own hand if it goes to reach for a piece of imitation vintage from Pier One or from World Market. 

But World Market has become my new favorite retail spot! Where else can I get cute stationery, feta-stuffed olives, imported chocolate, and vintage-inspired decor? So as you can see, I'm in a pickle. An artisanal pickle...in a mason jar...with a burlap label. 






But maybe one day, if I wish hard enough...I will find every piece of authentic vintage my heart desires right at the thrift store. I guess for now I'll have to reconcile my imitation-vintage buyer's guilt and live with the fact that these things were just too cute to pass up. 

What's your take on the trending vintage look? Will you buy new retail items that have retro appeal or will you only buy tried and true vintage while thrifting? 

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3 comments:

Jessica Cangiano said...

Really thought provoking post. Personally, I think it's totally okay to buy whatever catches your eye if doing so is financially viable and all the more so, if such items are not easy to come by at thrift stores these days. Goodness knows the amount of actual vintage (let alone pre-90s pieces) at the ones in our neck of the woods has been dwindling rapidly for many years now and with the poor Canadian dollar making shopping online a real challenge for many, buying vintage inspired pieces like these might be one of the only ways to get the delightful look that they're after. Thus, I say go for it! You're still styling these pieces in the unique context of your house where, for those like you and me, they'll have plenty of real vintage siblings to keep them company. :)

♥ Jessica

Cynthia said...

I love the REAL vintage. The copies are not as well made, well, not usually. Everyone is on the faux vintage look. Pottery Barn and W/S seem to do it best, but some of the Dollar Store and low-end marketers are just trying to sell something, and the quality is usually lacking. I don't like the mass market look. It seems the real stuff is getting higher in price, and that may be due to people who are snatching it up only to make a buck on it. E-Bay is loaded with lots of (in my opinion) over priced "antiques", and I think that in some cases, it just passes from person who is selling to another who thinks they'll make a couple more dollars on it, and it then gets to be out of range to the normal consumer. I guess it depends on whether one wants to hold on to a "look", or if they just want to follow a trend. Antiques and Vintage items go in and out of fashion, and so the prices might be high or low, depending.

Jackie Jardine said...

That's true, Jessica. Vintage originals are becoming hard to come-by. From a financial end I'm not overly worried about my faux-vintage spending...because I typically buy when items are on-sale. Plus it helps to think of all the money I've saved through decades of thrifting. And I do like to pair my retail wares with my vintage acquisitions....like those paper flowers in the vintage pitcher acting as a vase.


Oh yes, Cynthia. Nothing sadder than cheap looking, poorly constructed mock vintage. World Market seems to have the right idea when it comes to their design, which I absolutely love. I have even more photos to feature in a later post. But you're right. There's nothing like the vintage originals. Too bad they're just floating in cyberspace, being passed from buyer to seller and back again.


<3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting