The trend for retro is well and truly in. People are wearing dresses their Mums thought were cool in their teenage years. People are paying over the odds for old, shabby furniture, and, if a fireplace isn't Victorian it's just not worth mentioning. As I begin thinking about furniture in my new house with my other half, I am thinking of a gorgeous retro look, coupled with interesting prints. But am I just falling into the retro trap and paying good money for stuff that's just tired and old?
The main argument in retro wear is: 'they don't make things like they used to'. Retro often means quality- solid wood tables, soft leather chairs and well-oiled machinery. Plus if the item has lasted all this time, the chances are it's not going to deteriorate in the immediate future either. All too often people are going for the cheap option: buying flat-packs from Ikea and then finding their wardrobe starts collapsing after one or two years. You can buy quality items new, but you'll be spending a fortune. It's much cheaper to buy a vintage quality item and hope that it'll last that little bit longer.
For some reason 'old' has become synonymous with 'quirky' or 'indie'. Indie kids are wearing flat caps and brogues like they were the latest thing. Famous people and characters are confirming that retro is cool. Retro can even add that touch of class to your wardrobe.
The quick fix
Dressing and decorating in retro makes people seem more interesting. No personality? Dress like an Edwardian gentlemen. People will automatically assume you're at least weird, and that's gotta be better than boring. Have you watched any of those dating programmes and a man waltzes out declaring he's obsessed with old fashioned style. Well that's probably all he's obsessed with because he's dull as dishwater. It's not necessarily a good thing, but everyone's got to have a hobby. It's when you end up spending your weekends in auction rooms bidding on a set of Victorian smoking paraphernalia when you don't even smoke that you need to realise you've got a problem.
If I could afford it, I would probably bypass retro and go straight for quality: like this gorgeous leather armchair for over £500, but while I'm still saving for a rainy day and spending my pennies on educating myself I'll pick up the retro eBay bargains instead. The thing is, you're not paying for someone's old junk when you buy retro because no one thinks it is junk. It's about getting quality and style at an affordable price. That's something I'm into.