When is vintage not vintage? 

Although I shall admit to knowing very little about cars and, even less about them mechanically, I should like to start this blog post with reference to the words “veteran” and “vintage”.

A “veteran” car is an old style or model of car, specifically one made before 1919 or (strictly) before 1905…well that’s clear!

More clear is the definition of a “vintage” car as an old style or model of car, specifically one made between 1919 and 1930.

I’m hearing whisperings from the unruly bunch at the back of class that they thought that they had enrolled on a fashion course and not a lecture on motor mechanics.

So let me explain the automobile analogy! 

Exploring fashion in preparation for my daily vintage style fashion pick I often come across garments that represent designs as late as the 1990s being described as vintage.

Let’s look at representations of each decade in the 20th Century.

1990s…

Early 90’s Vintage Checked Pinafore Dress priced at £24.95 from The East End Thrift Store (https://m.marketplace.asos.com/listing/dresses/vintage-90s-checked-pinafore-dress/3276104).

1980s…

Vintage 80’s Denim Pencil Dress priced at £25.00 from LuckyGirlVintage (https://m.marketplace.asos.com/listing/dresses/vintage-80s-denim-pencil–dress/3280024).

1970s…


Fringed black and gold disco era late 1970s mini dress priced at £35.00 from Candy Says Vintage Clothing UK (https://www.candysays.co.uk/collections/new-in-vintage-products/products/fringed-black-and-gold-disco-era-late-1970s-mini-dress).

1960s…

Bell sleeved black lace and pleated cotton 1960s maxi dress priced at £65.00 from Candy Says Vintage Clothing UK (https://www.candysays.co.uk/collections/1960s/products/bell-sleeved-black-lace-and-pleated-cotton-1960s-maxi-dress).

1950s…

Fifties Spring Floral Dress priced at US$79.00 (approximately £62.00) from Ballyhoo Vintage Clothing (http://www.ballyhoovintage.com/product/38125.html).

1940s,,,

1940s Sheer Print Dress priced at US$128.00 (approximately £100.00) from Ballyhoo Vintage Clothing (http://www.ballyhoovintage.com/product/38129.html).

1930s…

1930s Vintage Style Tan Tulle Sleeved Long Dress priced at $252.00 (approximately £197.00) from Unique Vintage (http://www.unique-vintage.com/clothing/shop-by-era/1930s/1930s-vintage-style-tan-tulle-sleeved-long-dress.html).

1920s…

1920s Style Seafoam & Ivory Wilshire Flapper Day Dress priced at US$78.00 (approximately £61.00) from Unique Vintage (http://www.unique-vintage.com/clothing/shop-by-era/1930s/unique-vintage-1920s-style-seafoam-ivory-wilshire-flapper-day-dress.html).

1910s…

Hand-embroidered linen walking suit, 1910s priced at US$1,275.00 (approximately £995.00) from Vintage Textile (https://www.vintagetextile.com/new_page_380.htm).

1900s…

B. Altman French satin tea gown, c.1900 priced at US$1,400.00 (approximately £1,092.00) from Vintage Textile (https://www.vintagetextile.com/new_page_41.htm).

To return to the question posed as to the latest era that may be regarded as vintage.

The dictionary defines “vintage” as “…something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind”. Using this definition and interpreting it in the most strict of ways a item from “yesterday” could be described as vintage. I suggest that each individual will have their own interpretation of vintage without their interpretation coming under scrutiny.

To me I consider anything before I was born as vintage and hence the 1950s and earlier. Personally this nicely corresponds with my belief that 1950s fashion was the last era where “old-fashioned” elegance and glamour were the “norm”. The 1960s then brought a revolution in clothing. 

I would love to hear comments.

Thank you.

Cx. 

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4 thoughts on “When is vintage not vintage? ”

  1. I think more or less the same as you; if it’s older than me it’s vintage although I think I’d have to add ten years after my birth as well. I say this because I was born in the late 1960’s and I would definitely class the 1970’s as vintage; afterall it is well over 30-40+ years ago – It’s tricky, where does one draw the line!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend to think of the term ‘vintage’ as a moveable goalpost! For instance 30 years ago, I’d have said anything pre 50s is vintage, now I’m probably inclined to say pre 70s. IMHO after the 70s fashion became rather bland. I can’t apply a ‘vintage’ tag to a 1980s button through denim skirt. I’d just say that was old! Whereas a 1950s rockabilly prom dress with floaty net underskirts and a teddy boy in ‘brothelcreepers’? Hell, yeah! THAT’S vintage, which to me epitomises the glamour of the era, which sadly I don’t see in today’s fashions. Or maybe I’m just old!

    Liked by 1 person

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