Exploring Vintage Clichés

cliché- an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, “played out”

I mentioned in another post that while wearing “vintage” style, I often flirt with the line between “vintage” and “kitsch.”  I work hard to avoid clichés, as well.

I have nothing against cherry prints or polka dots, however, clichés often mask individualism.  I object to counter-culture “branding”, not pretty prints. 

Cherry Print- When it cropped up in highschool, some girls giggled about implications of virginity.  Some just thought it was cute.  Cherries appeared on everything from panties to converse sneakers to bedspreads.  Cherry print saturated the market so quickly, I never hopped on the bandwagon.  I suppose I’m cranky that way.

Acceptable use of cherries:

Black and White Polka Dots- I like black and white polka dots.  My medallion quilt features black and white polka dot fabrics, yet I can’t bring myself to wear polka dots.  Something about that particular print shrieks “OMG I love Vintage!!!” right through my retinas.  Yes, I hear through my eyeballs.   Because I’m so persnickety, I can’t have this gorgeous swimsuit.  Ever.

Gingham, especially pink- I’m planning my next wardrobe, based loosely on Weimar ladies, in shades of pink, turquoise and cream.  Somehow pink gingham kept creeping into my fabric samples.  I bid adieu to good taste and confess that yesterday the Muses filled my mind with visions of skinny pink gingham pants.  I found this later:

Yes, that’s Barbie.

Do I wait this out or embrace whimsy, kitsch and cliché sewn up in a single garment?  Is this a personal style evolution, or the lingering effects of cold and flu medication?  Avant garde or ridiculous?

Before you answer, picture it paired with a pale turquoise cotton-silk charmeuse blouse from Burda 08-2009.

What clichés set your teeth on edge?


  1. I love cherry prints…in the kitchen. Gingham? nah. Pink gingham? The pink might add just the right touch. Definitely do the swimsuit in polka dots. Don't worry about your retinas-the swimsuit is worth it.

  2. I think you should just wear whatever you want! If you love it then you will be happy in it… even pink gingham may be perfect for your complexion

  3. Cherries are my favourite fruit! I bought a cherry print skirt before I was even into vintage clothing/rockabilly simply because they are so delicious, but I've been a bit nervous about wearing it on my blog because of the general idea that it's 'tired' or 'too obvious'. Anyway, gingham isn't cliche, it's classic!

  4. Well, I am firmly in the "wear what you like and damn the rest of them" camp, with only minor provisions for those situations when you really want to make a particular impression. So I say if it tickles you, go for it! ;)… that being said I'm not much of a print person period. Though I do like a lot of plaids. I have nothing against polkadots, but they don't really scream to me either. The cherries are cute (I especially like them on the rubber boots)Go for the red swimsuit.>:D

  5. Can I confess that I only figured out the cherries and virginity link in the last three months (hangs head in shame, climbs back under rock).With that said, I have no problem with polka dots, gingham, and cherries – my vintage styling is usually so historically accurate that people don't actually recognise that it is 'vintage' unless I throw in a screaming cliche or two! I do find it interesting how certain styles become the vintage uniform, and if you go outside of those, 90% of people think you are inaccurate.The best thing about pattern cliches is that mixing them up lets you play with stereotypes. I've got a black on black cherry patterned silk brocade stashed away, with the aim of making a goth pin-up vintage corset. I'm thinking it needs pink gingham trim now!

  6. You know, same with me. I get plenty of "I like your blouse/dress/skirt/weirdly modest clothes" feedback, but without my victory rolls I don't get accused of wearing vintage. hmm.. I like the idea of the black goth pin up corset. I think I'll allow the pink gingham pants in my wardrobe plan, but give myself an out. I have so many basics, I think I'll make a wardrobe of coordinating statement pieces.

  7. I love gingham, and did a post last year on whether it is age appropriate. I do love it, but don't wear it. Cherry prints are irresistible to me. Good post.

  8. It took me a while to track down this quote about gingham, but I think it's as relevant today as the day she said it:"Wantons go in bright brocade; Brides in organdie; Gingham's for the plighted maid; Satin's for the free!" – Dorothy Parker, The Satin Dress

  9. I'm with you and I hate cliches but I think these 3 patterns can be done just right that you look cute and unique. I also love cherries but I try to do them on something small like a purse or scarf and on a different color background so I don't look like Rockabilly barbie. Same with polka dots- although the black and white polka dots are classic! Gingham is always cute no matter what you do, so I say go for it!!

Is it kind, useful or interesting? Great!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s