Monday, January 5, 2009

Why I Like Vintage Things

I like to shop. Most women do. It's fun to go with friends to a mall or to a hip city street lined with specialty shops.

But I rarely do it anymore. In my twenties I moved around for my job in television so I found myself living alone in new town a few times. To keep occupied, I went shopping. Clothes, home decorating items, and probably lots of things I didn't really need filled my bags.

Now that I am getting older I still like to shop, but I've tried to curb the desire, which is waning.

One particular reason shopping has become less desirable is my love for vintage things. I am fascinated by the history behind them. Now one could say I am still shopping, but just bringing home previously owned items. I suppose this is true. But, I resell a lot of what I buy, and only enjoy them for brief periods of time. This makes it fun and there is always some "new" eye candy to enjoy.

The other reason I am not as crazy about shopping for new items is because it seems like everything is made in China.
Please understand I know there are hard working people in China putting together these items we buy, but there is also this thought:

If I go to an upscale store and notice the items are made in China and not of good quality and then head to a discount chain and see the items are also marked Made in China, why should I pay the higher price? To me the "Made in China" tag has lowered the value of the item.

For example, I love the artistic look of Mackenzie Childs items. I always wanted to own something from their catalog. Then we went to Pittsburgh to visit my StepDaughter and went shopping on this trendy row of shops. Voila! I found a store that carried Mackenzie Childs them. I was thrilled! There were these pretty pink n white stripe canisters I really wanted for the kitchen. How cute they would look with my LuRay dish collection. Dear Hubs was about to buy them for me for Christmas. Until I looked on the bottom. Yep, you guessed was made in China or another similar location. All of a sudden it lost its appeal!

I did end up bringing home one of their ornaments and I display it on my bookshelf, but I no longer think so highly of their line. They really are no different than anything else I could find at stores like Marshalls or TJ Maxx, etc. The prices Mackenzie Childs charges makes me laugh now.
Don't ask how much one ornament was. I'm almost embarassed I bought it. While it is pretty, I'm not sure it is "worth" it's high price. What makes this ornament worth more than one bought at let's say, Target? What make an item worth more than another? When dealing in antiques it is usually the rarity of a piece to drive up it's price. I find this fun and fascinating at the same time. If I can order something from a catalog, like the ornament above, it can't be too rare.

So, my love for vintage continues.


Christine said...

I am a new reader of your blog and I really enjoy it. I really like your style I look forward to reading it.

I totally agree with you about everything we purchase now a days is from foreign countries and it tends to bother me. It's just not the price of the item but what does that say about things that are American made? I mean I love it when I find a vintage piece that has a mark as USA made. It's like finding a needle in a hay stack but when you do find it it's fantastic. If you really think about it our forefathers really created good quality stuff! Why aren't we now? Makes you wonder doesn't it?


Liz said...

I agree totally. I'll take that vintage plate any day over a high priced made in China trinket. :)

Hope you and Bebe and hubby had a great Xmas.

Ms.Daisy said...

Great post - thoughtful and insightful with lots of good information.
I, too, love vintage things and that's what I look for when I am out and about at flea markets and yard sales. :)

Love Ya,

MJ said...

I concur. I also admit to favouring German made items for the kitchen too (cookware, silverware). I do love vintage and hope to start acquiring more of it. It's hard to find it in good shape but when it is, it is splendid!

Neabear said...

Good post! I go with you disappoint at discovering something was made in China or someplace. I have had that disappointing feeling too.

Fifi Flowers said...

Pretty plate! Good find!

Betty Jo said...

Terrific post. I followed your link from Dana's and the Stone Rabbit. You have a terrific blog. xoxo

Rue said...

I couldn't agree more Jillian! You KNOW how much I love Vintage and antiques :)

About what you said on my blog.... My post wasn't really about how many people come to visit me, it was about not fitting into a certain blogging crowd. BUT you touched on a subject that a lot of bloggers wrote about on my post.

I don't know why you don't get more followers. Your blog and you are fabulous and I love coming here. I started with blog parties and then some of them followed me home (so to speak). Other than that I have no idea why more found me, but I'm glad YOU did and still come by :)


dana said...


I LOVE this post, Jillian!! You just put into words what I have felt for ages. I just HATE it that the market is glutted with all of the cheap, cheap junk and we BUY it!!!
I think I really started getting upset when (as a person who does antique sales and crafts shows)the "market items" (which almost always have a made in China sticker on them)started making their way into our sales--vendors would buy them wholesale, then resale them at our Shows!! It is pretty hard to compete, price point wise, with those items when you're setting in a booth with wares that are "vintage" or hand made. This, of course, carries over to the retail store fronts. Items made in China are "cheaper" and sell better, typically, than the ones made in the USA. It's business, I guess. However, if WE would quit buying that junk, there wouldn't be a market for it. I always try to buy USA---always. I know I pay more for it, but I also know it will help support our country and it probably doesn't have chemicals in it that will make someone sick! oooooh, Jillian, you just opened a can of worms on this one. My feathers are ruffled!!! :) OK, I'll get off of my soap box now!!! Great post. Dana

Terri Morse said...

Jillian, thanks for having the courage to say what many of us are thinking! I agree with Dana, too. It really gets my blood boiling when I go to shows, after having worked so hard to produce a unique, well-made item only to find I'm being passed over for premade junk from China. What's worse, when I put items in a local shop and find they are alongside junk from overseas, it's impossible to compete. Many people have the attitude that "cheaper is better". It's kind of a weird double standard. The same folks are willing to pay exorbitant prices for the same junk just because it bears a designer name. Go figure!