What is the difference between vintage and retro? The two terms are often bandied about by people thinking that they mean the same thing. But they don’t.
People often get confused when talking about vintage and retro items. Basically, vintage denotes something that is authentic from an era at least twenty years ago, while retro is new items that have been made to imitate items of the past (definition thanks to Urban America).
I was endlessly amused by a 2022 article published by Apartment Therapy that mockingly gave the following definitions:
Antique. Something that is, like, really old. Probably musty, dusty, and moldy. Probably made of wood. Usually unstylish.
Vintage. Something that is too old to be considered “used” but not as old as Grandma. By calling it “vintage,” the seller tries to distract the buyer from the item’s blatant imperfections. Like many “retro” items, “vintage” items are often either mid-century modern (in style if not in fact) or related to bygone pop culture, junk food or fashion trends.
Retro. Something that is basically outdated and out of style. By calling it “retro,” the seller hopes to assign sentimental or historical value to something that is simply no longer cool. Or, the “retro” item may actually be quite new but is “preloved” (read: pretty beat up).
The Collins Dictionary gives the less snarky, and less entertaining definitions:
Vintage: Vintage wine is good quality wine that has been stored for several years in order to improve its quality. EG: If you can buy only one case at auction, it should be vintage port.
The word retro—as in “retrograde” or “retroactive”—means backward in Latin.
The Collins Dictionary defines retro as: clothes, music, and objects are based on the styles of the past. EG...clothes shops where original versions of today's retro looks can be found.
Many people can often tell an antique object when they see one. But can you tell the difference between a vintage vs retro object? Let’s put that to the test. Which one of these furry snow boots is vintage and which is retro?
I decide to open Australia’s first vintage snow suit hire to help us all to embrace circular fashion and do my bit for environmental sustainability. That statement is 100% true, but the other reason is because I couldn’t decide which suits to sell as I want to keep them all…so by renting them out the suits get to earn their keep and I get to share my collection! Renting clothing is a great way for people to have access to “new to them” clothing at a fraction of the cost of buying the item.
So, if you are interested in dipping your toe into the pool of vintage fashion, visit the www.idreamofsnow.com Store on Level 1, St Falls Resort West and rent a vintage snow outfit. You can also let me know which boot was the vintage boot. Have a great week and see you in store!
Underneath Powder Keg Bar, St Falls Resort.