What goes around always comes around

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Vintage China
Kymberly Foster Seabolt photo.

It is said that what goes around comes around. I am here to say that I survived both foil wallpaper and leg warmers and have no desire to revisit either. You do you though. 

I have finally lived long enough to see trends in home decor and fashion come all the way around to things I remember. As the parent of two children out feathering their own nests, I delight in seeing how they reimagine vintage and thrifted items for their homes today. 

Notice I left one obvious term absent here. I have a bone to pick with millennials who refer to items from the 1970s through the 90s as “antique.” Hush child. That is “vintage.” Do not refer to my childhood items as “antique” please. My heart can’t take it.

Trending

Trends have always come and gone. In my day (gasp), as a teen in the 1980s, we loved wide-circle skirts, pegged jeans, and oversized sweaters. I, of course, was certain I was reinventing the fashion wheel. My grandmother pegged this, correctly, as very similar to the styles she had worn in the 1950s. 

As a tween, GirlWonder leaned into beaded curtains, a peace sign motif and lava lamps. It was very groovy. She had no idea she was channeling her own grandmother’s existence in the 1960s. 

Now, she and future daughter-in-law (wonder-in-law?) haunt thrift stores looking for the perfect pieces. Most of those pieces are older than they are. Mid-century modern meets Victorian meets 1970s. Brass, glass, old-school art pieces and a very 1970s “Conquistador” painting just to name a few things. 

I know that flared pants, cropped tops, aviator glasses and all manner of clothing will continue to cycle in and out of style. Fashion moves fast these days. 

Decor

Home decor is another matter. I see social media accounts of young people snapping up all the daisy decor or mushroom canister sets (think of them as the “Farmhouse” trend of the 1970s), as well as old Pyrex cookware, vintage Tupperware (the good stuff) and brightly patterned furniture. 

I was absolutely shocked to see the garishly patterned “herculon” fabric “early American” couches being lovingly featured on Generation Z homemaking accounts. I can feel that scratchy upholstery straight through the screen I swear. 

Speaking of the 1970s, my mother thought she was cute and tried to sell the coffee table from my childhood home. I reacted in horror and made her an offer she could not refuse. Zero dollars later and that baby was mine. I now proudly display a circa 1973 trestle table that still has a drawing I made as a child embedded in the grain. I would never part with it. 

Finally, future daughter-in-law showed me how she was reworking the refrigerator in their new home. It’s slightly scratched so she decided to see if she can paint it. She is very talented that way. I was delighted when she showed me a photo of the finished product. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and it is absolutely a delicious shade of 1970s avocado green. 

Finally, we have the aptly named “Grandmillenial” style. The word is a mash-up of “millennial,” denoting the generation that is made up of people aged late 20s to 40s, and “grandma,” which is self-explanatory. It is a style captured in Nancy Meyers’ movie sets and any character played by Diane Keaton from the 1990s on. 

The design is rich and layered with color and textures. China, vases, dark wood antique furniture, velvet upholstery, quilts, prints and embroidered linens. It features family heirlooms combined with carefully thrifted treasures. It makes each house a home with stories of the occupants — their ancestors, their travels, their life and times. It is classic, traditional, somewhat quirky and very much accessible. 

Impressed

I know that as Generation X and thus “the older generation,” I’m supposed to shake my fist at “kids these days.” Instead, I think I applaud them. I embrace this latest trend because I truly did inherit multiple homes full of grandmother hand-me-downs and heirlooms. I know I am blessed. 

More importantly, be it a trend from 1870, 1970, or 1996 — but don’t you dare call it antique — I think we should lean into it. It is not surprising to me that the younger generation is really embracing “grandma style.” This world, of late, has gotten more and more confusing and downright scary. 

Whether you like minimalism or prefer to “Live, Love, and Laugh” in farmhouse style, or perhaps you want a pile of your grandma’s quilts and a walnut sideboard. Now, more than ever, the feeling of a well-feathered “nest” and comfortable home is not only trendy but timeless. 

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