17 December, 2012

You Asked For It: You Say Vintage, I Say Retro

When I saw this in my mailbox, I just had to post it here. 

Hey, G!
Great blog!  I have a question for you though.  What's the difference between vintage and retro?  I see the terms LITERALLY everywhere and I think they're being used interchangeably.  I want to know what I'm getting.  Halp!

You are absolutely right.  These terms are TOTES misused in the age of the blogosphere, and let me tell you, it is making me nuts.  It's one of my five biggest pet peeves.  So, today, I'll set the record straight.  I'm also going to add 'antique' in here, too, because people don't seem to know when to use that, either.

{antique}: This word should be used to describe a work of art, piece of furniture, decorative object, etc. created in a former period at least 100 years prior to date of purchase.  Fun, fact: The only known exception to this rule pertains to cars.  A car is classified as an antique when it was made 25 years prior to date of purchase.  Neat, huh?

This wedding dress was crafted in 1912, and is, by definition an antique.

{vintage}:  This should be used to describe a work of art, piece of furniture, decorative object, etc. created or manufactured at least 25 years prior to date of purchase. So, yes, the 80's (well, 1980-1987, at least) are finally considered vintage.  Ooh, fun fact: originally the term 'vintage' solely applied to wine.  It's since been hijacked to describe desired items as they cycle back into fashion.  So, all that clothing from the 40's and 50's hanging in your closet?  Your delicious Herman Miller chair from 1962?  That's right, it's vintage and should not be referred to as antique.

Darling vintage wedding dress from the mid-50's.
{Retro}:  According to Merriam Webster, the term 'retro' means: relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past : fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned.  So, basically, anything new that resembles or is designed with an antique or vintage item in mind.  This can, and should be used interchangeably with 'vintage-inspired'.  While I'm at it, I think we can now agree that 'retro-inspired' isn't a thing, either.  It's either retro or it's not.

This tea length number by Oleg Cassini while retro, is neither vintage nor antique.
Okay, so unless you've been living under a rock for the last  five years (at least), you've noticed the near obsession with 'vintage weddings'.  As we now know, there is no such thing. As such, these terms are bandied about willy-nilly and have cost a lot of people a lot of money.  Do not let someone talk you into something that isn't worth the price tag. 


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