|Don’t Leave Home Without It: What Retrophiles Know|
|Written by Ami Thomas|
Through recent years, the last 50 or so, styles have become increasingly geared toward Ease. Not only Ease, but Minimalism. People carry as little as possible on their person, giving over valuable space in pockets and purses to electronic gadgets rather than useful items carried daily by our predecessors.
Recently, while transferring my items from one purse to another, as I do almost daily, it suddenly struck me that I carry a lot of things that my non-Retrophile contemporaries do not.
Wondering what else I may be missing, I quickly went to my trusty Retro-resources and found that we do indeed carry a number of things in common.
Nearly every lady responding to my inquiry carries a Handkerchief; a fresh one every day, that matches her outfit or other accessories. Also true for the gentlemen: fresh handkerchiefs. Ladies also carry compacts with mirrors and powder, lipstick (at least one), chewing gum or mints/Lifesavers, a comb/brush or both, safety pins, wallet or card case, pen, sunglasses/reading glasses or both, and so on and so on…Most of the gentlemen also carry pens, with most people naming vintage fountain pens among their possessions, some carry combs, wallets, keys…very similar to the ladies.
Most of us carry also the necessary devices of life in modern society: cell phones, iPods, etc., though we mention them with some disdain. I do know a few ladies who have neither. While I admit to some fondness for my Blackberry and it’s “apps,” I often wish I didn’t carry one at all. Since I drive around alone quite a bit, and frequently have at least one child with me, I appreciate the ability to summon help quickly should it be required; but I do try to limit my dependence on the thing and will not answer calls if I deem their timing inconvenient. The iPod I use only at the gym and don’t carry it with me daily.
Several ladies, myself included, mentioned an address book. Even though those of us with “smartphones” have our contacts in them, I don’t trust it and I love my red Smythson of Bond Street book, with its tissue-thin, pale blue pages and vintage fountain pen script. It makes me happy in a tactile way that the Blackberry does not.
In looking around at our non-Retro counterparts, we see that most of them could do with adding our list of essentials to theirs: especially the personal grooming items. Seriously, though, I’m forever handing out tissues, gum/mints, and the like to less-prepared folks I come across in my daily travels. Subsequently, they make fun of us for being “fancy” or “fussy” or wearing “costumes,” but they do not realize that there is no modern gadget that is an equal substitute for good, old-fashioned “Being Prepared.”