What makes an item vintage?

What makes an item vintage?

Vintage fashion and trends have increased in popularity over the years and many boutique vintage shops both online and on the high street have been appearing.

But what makes something truly vintage? The trouble is you might get a bit caught out here because vintage is not the same as antique, although a lot of people think it’s the same thing. The word Vintage comes from the world of wine. Vin meaning wine in French is an example of a French word slipping into, and being used by, the English language. It literally means wine age and was used to refer to “a good year”. What we have done is take that word and apply it to another meaning as well as being about wine. This happens a far bit in the English language and the use of the word vintage is no exception. It’s useful for us to use it to refer back to the past.

Antique on the other hand refers to something really very old. Some people are very clevery making things like antique and old by sanding down things like wooden garage shelving and then painting it with a furniture paint and then sanding it slightly again. If you want to have a look at what shelving is available then maybe  storage solutions from garage shelving would be a good idea.  Antiques are survivors of the past. They are things that were certainly built to last or have survived make overs and repairs. They still have a certain mystic about them. It’s quite comforting to know that the tea and coffee service you are using once belonging to a past relative. Or that the wardrobe and bureau has seen a lot of letter writing action or clothing storage through the decades. The things this wardrobe has seen, the changing face of fashions that have been in and out of it more times than can be counted. That could be said to make it an antique just by experience. However, the real definition is when an item is over 100 years old. Making some of us reading this feel a little better if we’ve ever been referred to as an antique because that clearly is not the case. We are in fact vintage.

Which brings is that fluid term Vintage again what age does it actually refer to? Basic principles suggest that it is any period 99 years back from this year. So that retro Mary Quant dress is vintage, but it is not an antique unlike the wedding dress of Queen Victoria which is. Easier to define than what we originally thought then. One thing to remember though is that vintage ages starts at least 25 to 30 years ago. So, the vintage age starts in 1993 and ends at 1919 making Karma Chameleon a vintage tune but anything from the First World war years an antique. So, now you can walk around your house happy in the knowledge that you know the difference and can point it out to all your friends.

Frances Bailey