International Vintage: Intro

While I definitely love vintage and vintage culture, I sometimes feel that it sucks people into a European-American vacuum.  The 1940s were, for Americans at least, pretty much the first time that large-scale travel occurred and Americans got to experience other cultures (due, of course, to WWII).  Allied troops were all over the world, including in North Africa, the Pacific, and Europe.  For many (possibly most) of the American troops, their deployments were the first encounter with people from other cultures. 

As troops travelled, they often gathered souvenirs and gifts for loved ones at home, thus introducing bits of foreign culture to normal American citizens in a way that had never occurred before.  This exposure to foreign cultures, lands, and people were reflected in fashion, such as these popular trends from the 40s and 50s:

Cheongsam dress pattern from the 1950s

1940s Mexican Tourist jacket
1940s vintage kimono robe

When the boys (and ladies!) came home, they brought a new wealth of world experience that continued the process of opening up average America's worldview to other peoples.

Not only did other cultures affect American style, but Western style also affected other cultures.  I'm introducing a new category of post I'm calling "Intercultural Vintage".  I'll be highlighting vintage foreign looks, starting with Egyptian and Sudanese fashions and stars.    Since I've lived in these other countries, they're near and dear to my heart.  It's all to remind us that there were things going on in the rest of the world during these times, too!  I've discovered some vintage-Western/traditional fashion blends that I think you guys will really enjoy and perhaps take some inspiration from!


  1. Living on the Pacific Coast, I think lends me not to become part of that vacuum you described. I see so much Asian, Hawaiian and Hispanic influenced vintage here. However I really can see where other parts may fall subject to that. I greatly look forward to your other posts on this subject!


    1. That's awesome! I'm very far inland... in Missouri... so that probably (definitely) affects things.
      I'll also be showing pictures of foreign vintage that aren't in the West at all, as in western-influenced vintage along with traditional clothing. I've made some REALLY cool discoveries in looking for info on this, and I'm super excited to share it!

  2. What a wonderful post and topic to delve into. I've been finding myself in an international vintage mood as of late, too, and recently purchased (thanks to Christmas money from my sweet gran) a cute 1950s cotton day dress with a Japanese pattern on it. It's the first Asian themed vintage dress I've ever bought (it hasn't arrived yet, but I expect it any day now) and I hope it's just one in a long line of internationally themed yesteryear garments that become a part of my wardrobe.

    ♥ Jessica