The Invisible Clubhouse for Vintage Weirdoes
Text by Liz Walker
Photography by Matthew Schnetler
It sometimes surprises people that I can have a long conversation about old buttons – a very long and passionate conversation, in fact. What! You’ve never pored over a jar of dusty buttons with your mother? Picking out the ones made of antler or jet or the mother of pearl beauties with uneven holes, clearly carved by hand? With little anecdotes spilling forth: this is from the coat your great grandmother wore to my wedding...
It can be isolating to fall down a rabbit hole; to be deeply interested in something no one else you know cares about. I have read multiple books on the history of aprons and that doesn’t always feel normal. Out in the world, it would be infinitely more helpful to know about football or stocks or some other thing I honestly don’t know anything about. And yet football bores me so deeply, so instantly, so completely that it’s blinding – which is surely how most people feel about the history of aprons or some dumb old buttons.
There’s a disconnect here, right? The rest of the world and then me? Not really, because you’re reading this right now; because Georgette Magazine exists and a vast network of vintage lifestyle blogs exist. We’re out there, the people who are out of step with the progress of consumption. People who will complement your Fire King casserole dish. People who will dismiss the chips of wear and tear on mid-century furniture as “character”. People who will not ask, “What’s the occasion? Why are you so dressed up?” We get it. We’re in your corner. We will see your Lucite purse and exchange a knowing nod.
I think it’s easy to experience questions as judgmental. To hear, “Why are you wearing that old hat?” as meaning, “You look super weird right now.” But chances are that’s not what they mean. Maybe what they are trying to say is, “Where did you get that hat? Because my sister would really like one,” or, “Wow, I haven’t seen a hat like that in ages!” Maybe they assume you are on your way to a fabulous party and wonder why they weren’t invited. Or maybe you really are talking to a total jerk who thinks you should be wearing a baseball cap like a “normal” person. Oh well. You don’t have time for jerks! Keep rocking that hat and move on. Yes, absolutely be “that girl” who’s partying like it’s 1959. Even if you feel alone in that moment, it isn’t reality. I’m sitting here in Chicago, which may be thousands of miles away from you, but I happen to love your hat. We can ignore the bullies together. You’re part of a really wonderful club of people, even if you never get to meet them or learn their names, and we’re all pulling for you.