Incorporating vintage goods into your home and closet is an easy way to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary
“Make everyday extraordinary.”
This was long a tagline of the venerable Canadian magazine Chatelaine, and the phrase always stuck with me.
As an authority on all things fashion and lifestyle, Chatelaine wanted its audience to find beauty and joy in life’s simplest moments, like the at-times-tedious routines of cooking dinner or choosing what to wear in the morning.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the monotony of day-to-day rituals that we forget to appreciate that all of those seemingly insignificant moments are, indeed, what constitute life.
When you choose to begin and end those rituals with items that are meaningful to you, they can provide great comfort, satisfaction and peace. And because they feel one-of-a-kind, vintage treasures can help make these moments more singular experiences.
Those benign but beautiful everyday rituals are the driving force behind Good Habits, a Toronto-based vintage shop owned by Meaghan Harris and Kelty Lewis. The partners recently spoke with me for a seller Q&A and reflected on how vintage can inspire and inform these daily practices. “There’s a beauty in having things in your life that you know you’ll love for a really long time,” says Harris.
Incorporating vintage goods into your home and closet is an easy way to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Take something as simple as the act of brushing your teeth: a vintage milk-glass cup for rinsing, or for storing your brush, might make all the difference in turning that moment into one that feels a little bit more gratifying.
If you were one of the people who furiously organized their every drawer and closet out of pandemic-fuelled boredom, you probably do find renewed joy in doing something as straightforward as picking out what to wear.
Make the act feel more extraordinary by searching for objects on your next vintage-shopping hunt that enhance your everyday experience.
Maybe it’s a 1960s-era wooden valet for draping half-worn clothes so they don’t end up in a pile in a corner of your bedroom. Or maybe it’s a vintage hook you can mount in your closet to hang jewellery and accessories.
“There are countless moments throughout the day when you can inject something special into an otherwise ordinary task.”
Forming these “good habits” doesn’t only mean buying more vintage. Take a look around your home to see what you already own, and make use of those things, too.
I had a lovely pair of (non-vintage) Marimekko oven mitts gifted to me, and when I received them, I hung them on a hook in my kitchen as decor because I thought they were too nice to actually use.
Come dinnertime, I continued using a ratty old glove to grab hot food until a hole literally burned through them and I had no choice but to turn to my pristine purple and burgundy mitts hanging on the wall. Waste not, want not, so I made a good decision to use what I already had.
But it turned out, just the step of using a pretty set of mitts to pull food out of the oven actually gave me joy. Sure, their satin finish is now covered in cooked-on sauce, but my kitchen routine has been better for it.
When I throw on some vintage jewellery for work, a basic black dress suddenly feels like a mood. When I set the table for dinner and pull out my vintage brass candlesticks, it makes even takeout feel a little fancy. At dinner’s end, I use a vintage brass snuffer that I found for $1 to extinguish the candles. It makes the act of putting out the flame feel momentous. Ritualistic, even.
There are countless moments throughout the day when you can inject something special into an otherwise ordinary task. When you’re vintage shopping, keep those moments in mind.
Because if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you only live once. So as cliché as it sounds, make the most of it. Buy what you will love for a long time. Use your items well. Put on the good oven mitts.
What vintage pieces make your everyday life special? Let us know in the comments!