|EN: I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of misunderstanding on the difference between vintage and second hand clothing. A lot of people think that vintage is a fancy word for second hand. Which I can totally relate to, as a lot of shops are using both terms. Also, vintage has become very trendy, such that it’s now also used as a sort of synonym of second hand, which makes second hand sound more trendy. But, there is a difference between the two! And I’m going to explain that difference in this post!|
|Left is vintage (source) | Right is retro|
EN: Second hand is, as the word already explains, everything that was owned by someone else before. Everything you buy that previously had another owner, therefore is second hand. Easy as that! The definition of vintage is a little more precise.
When you look up vintage on Merriam Webster, you find the following description:“a usually superior wine all or most of which comes from a single year”. The word vintage originally relates to wines of a superior year. And this actually pretty much describes what vintage means when it comes to clothing too; Qualitative clothing from a good year! More precisely: from the 20s to the 70s or 80s.
|Left: second hand. Skirt originally from Boohoo & top originally from Superstar. Right: vintage (hat & gloves)|
EN: Everything made before the vintage years is called antique. A real antique should be at least 100 years old. This means that, right now, everything from the 1910s and older is antique, but this changes over the years because of the 100 years rule.
Next to vintage and antique, there is also the word ‘retro’. Retro literally means “reviving the styles and especially the fashions of the past” and can be used for anything that looks like it’s from a different era. This means that retro is not restricted to a specific time span. For example, a dress from Zara that looks like it might as well have been made in the 50s can be called retro. Also, the word retro can be used for regular second hand items, as long as they look as if they are not from this time.
|This look is mostly retro. The top and skirt are even from H&M! From this outfit only the hat is a real vintage piece. The bag and belt are second hand (or thrifted). The rest is all new! Combining modern items in a vintage style, makes the outfit retro!|
EN: Of course, most vintage items you buy are also second hand items, as most of them used to belong to someone else. But certainly not all second hand can be called vintage. To be vintage, it has to be from the 20s to 70s or 80s. A second hand skirt from Zara or H&M is not vintage, but a sequin top from the 50s is!
I hope you found this interesting to read and I hope it was of any help! Do you shop in vintage or second hand stores?