Vintage vs. Retro

What is the difference between ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’?

For a long time I secretly didn’t know the difference between vintage and retro. I actually thought they were one and the same thing and I’m pretty sure I used them in a sentence at one point. Oops.

Now I am much much wiser; so wise that I feel I can teach you what the difference is.

What does vintage mean?

You may call ‘vintage’ anything that is older than 20 years (that includes me). So, if in 2014 you’ve found a really nice dress from 1995, it would be wrong to call it ‘vintage’. That dress, unfortunately, only qualifies as ‘old’. But keep it in your wardrobe for a year and you’re suddenly classy and sophisticated. But only if you wash it.

Vintage

Vintage

What does retro mean?

Retro is something that imitates a style from the past. Like the recent flatforms, or the statement/slogan T-shirts imitating 90s and 80s fashion. Some people say vintage can be retro, but retro can never be vintage. But I think there’s an exception.

Imagine looking at an old picture of your grandma in the 40s and she’s wearing a low-hem skirt imitating 20s fashion. If you currently own that skirt, that means the skirt is vintage but it was also once retro. 

Retro

Retro

Use them in a sentence

If you find the above confusing, here are a few examples of sentences you could use to show that you know the difference between vintage and retro:

1. ‘Vintage means older than 20 years old, retro just means something that imitates a style from the past’ – This sentence will really prove that you know the difference.

2. Let’s go to Topshop! I want to get that 70s retro dress.

3. I was really disappointed with that vintage market. Most things were from the Noughties.

Hope this helped you understand all you need to know about vintage and retro. If I missed anything, please let me know in the comment section.

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3 comments on “Vintage vs. Retro

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