What is Vintage? All about Vintage Style…

While vintage fashion is popular right now, there is some uncertainty over what constitutes vintage fashion vs retro clothing and antique. For the last two years, I’ve been running my own vintage clothing store in London, the fashion center of the world, and one of the most asked questions is “what is the true meaning of vintage?”. They also want to know how old is vintage and what constitutes vintage style.

In this post, Teeanime will describe vintage style and contrast it with two other prominent terms at the moment: retro and antique.

Then, at the end of the piece, I’ll offer eight decade-defining vintage trends, ranging from the 1920s to the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and even 1990s fashion.

It’s time to learn the difference between vintage and retro and antique fashion.

What Is Vintage?

Vintage is defined as any object that depicts a prior era or social period that is at least 40 years old but no older than 100 years.

Vintage clothes is defined in the fashion industry as apparel created between 40 and 100 years ago.

To qualify as vintage, an item of clothing must have stylistic features that are relevant to the fashions of the time.

Garments older than 100 years are classified as antique rather than vintage.

Vintage Vs Retro Vs Antique

Furthermore, because labels like ‘vintage,”retro,’ and ‘antique’ are sometimes used interchangeably, the age of the clothing is critical for distinguishing between the relevant categories.

In addition, the age of the item, as well as its quality and rarity, are utilized to establish the price.

As a result, phrases like vintage apparel, retro, and antique fashion are used to give customers an idea of when products were manufactured.

What is Vintage in Fashion

Speaking to Vogue in 2017, Anna Wintour noted that the phrase ‘vintage fashion’ refers to clothing manufactured between the last 20 to 99 years.

Wintour went on to remark that in the case of designer pieces, the phrase vintage apparel frequently suggests collectability.

For example, a pair of sunglasses created in 1985 that looks identical to a pair made in 2022 is considered vintage.

However, you can’t call these glasses “80s vintage” if they don’t have any of the distinctive design aspects of the decade.

Investigating the primary definition of the term “vintage” will help shed more light on the subject.

Vintage vs Antique Fashion

‘Antique’ refers to a piece of clothes, jewelry, furniture, or artwork that is at least 100 years old.

The age of any piece marketed as antique, however, must be verifiable.

For example, if you’re selling an item as an antique, but you cannot prove its age, it is safer to refer to it as ‘vintage’.

Vintage vs Retro Fashion

The phrase “retro” refers to clothing, shoes, and accessories inspired by (copies of) older designs yet manufactured within the last 20 years.

Retro fashion is typically less expensive than vintage clothing or antique haute couture, and it is also more utilitarian.

Contemporary retro clothing does not have to be precise replicas of designs from previous times.

It is sufficient to make it in the style of the thing that inspired it.

In this context, a dress inspired by a flapper outfit from the 1920s but created barely five years ago is called vintage.

The flapper’s original 1920s attire, on the other hand, can be considered vintage.

Furthermore, a 19th-century diamond brooch that belonged to your great-great-grandmother can be regarded an antique.

Decade-Defining Vintage Style

Every decade sees an assortment of styles; yet, only a handful become popular and important enough to form part of the appearance that defines that century.

From the 1920s to the 1990s, here are some examples of popular retro fashion styles.

The 1920s Vintage Fashion

Slip-over flapper vintage dresses, drop waists, strings of beads, T-strap shoes, and Mary Janes type heels were typical 1920s women’s fashion designs.

The 1930s Vintage Fashion

Puffy sleeves, Bolero jackets, fedoras, and innovative shoe styles such as Oxford, peep-toes, and slingbacks defined the 1930s.

The 1940s Vintage Fashion

The advent of puffy sleeves, Bolero jackets, fedoras, and new shoe styles such as Oxford, peep-toes, and slingbacks distinguished the 1930s.

The 1950s Vintage Fashion

Fashion trends in the 1950s began to emphasize women’s feminine, hourglass figure. Shirtwaist dresses, petticoats, full skirts, twin sweater sets, fur-trimmed clothes, ‘Wayfarer’ eyewear, and strings of pearls were among the decade’s most famous looks.

The 1960s Vintage Fashion

The decade features two distinct faces, thanks to the counterculture movement that erupted in the late 1960s. Women’s 60s fashion was influenced by style icons such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Raquel Welch, Diana Ross, and Audrey Hepburn in the early half of the decade. Pillbox hats and box-jacket suits ruled until the counterculture movement introduced flowing tops, bell-bottom trousers, and colorful loose bohemian clothing influenced by Asian culture.

The 1970s Vintage Fashion

The most popular retro fashion styles of the 1970s contain elements of boho-chic styles from the late 1960s, as well as flare jeans, high boots, platform shoes, block heels, and Birkin purses.

The 1980s Vintage Fashion

Sweaters and blazers with shoulder pads, gold chains, Izod golf shirts, and stiletto heels were among the famous vintage pieces of 80s fashion.

The 1990s Vintage Fashion

Oversized sweaters, loose flannel shirts, leggings, and chokers are some of the 90s fashion styles that have become trendy among vintage aficionados.

Contemporary Vintage Styles

At least one designer releases a vintage-inspired collection each season.

Alessandro Michele’s Gucci men’s Fall/Winter 2020-2021 collection was one of the most recent and outstanding vintage-inspired fashion lines.

Vintage Fashion FAQs

What is considered vintage?

Vintage is defined as any thing indicating a prior era or social period that is at least 40 years old but not more than 100 years old.

How many years old is vintage?

Vintage literally means “of age.” According to renowned antique merchants, an object must be at least 40 years old but no older than 100 years to be considered vintage.

For example, to be considered vintage in 2022, an object must have been manufactured between 1982 and 1922.

What is an example of vintage?

Vintage objects can be anything; nevertheless, the most valuable vintage items include vehicles, watches, wines, furniture, and garments.

What is vintage vs. retro?

Retro refers to the style or pattern of clothing, while vintage refers to a minimum age, construction, pattern, or style from a specified historical period.

Vintage clothing must be real, but retro clothing might be modern garments inspired by a certain style, such 80s or 90s fashion.