Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What makes something "Vintage"?

I've been doing some shopping lately...who are we kidding I'm ALWAYS shopping and I have come across the word vintage a lot. Everyone seems to be following a vintage trend lately going to flea markets, pawn shops and thrift stores, looking for vintage items. In my case, I was looking for a vintage clutch (purse), when it hit me.

What does vintage mean? and why am I willing to pay more for it?

When retailers slap vintage in front of the description, doesn't it make you feel like its automatically a little more valuable? Well I did some research. If you want to know what vintage is, check out my descriptions below and shop smarter.

First and foremost, here's the dictionary definition of Vintage:
vin·tage (vntj)
1. The yield of wine or grapes from a vineyard or district during one season.
2. Wine, usually of high quality, identified as to year and vineyard or district of origin.
3. The year or place in which a wine is bottled.

a. A group or collection of people or things sharing certain characteristics.
b. A year or period of origin: a car of 1942 vintage.
c. Length of existence; age.

1. Of or relating to a vintage.
2. Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic.
3. Old or outmoded.

Here are some generalized and more common descriptions that I have run by for various categories, beginning with fashion, since that's the one I'm most interested in.

Fashion & Jewelry
Some say vintage is anything made between the 1920's to 1980's. Other sources say that vintage can be anything from a previous era or 7 years or older and difficult to acquire. With this definition I would definitely land in the vintage category.

I think I will stick with the more widely accepted between 1920's to 1980's, anything made before that is considered antique.

Vintage furniture applies to many types of furniture, the most important qualities being those that show age and high attention to detail.

Antique furniture is another story. Antique furniture is made at least one hundred years before it is purchased. This definition is often stretched by retail stores and many times when you arrive at antique store, you will see items that are only 50 to 60 years old, which mostly refers to the quality than the age. Then they upcharge you.

Cars are a different story however. For Cars, Motorcycles or Aircrafts something vintage needs to be at least 25 years or older, antique is anything 100 years or older.

You generally see vintage/antique car enthusiasts huddled in front of Denny's on Sunday or in Long Beach, in front of Frisco's.

Perfume from the 1900 to 1980s is considered vintage unless it is discontinued, renamed, re-released or reformulated.

Any wine with a date on the bottle, with wine, Vintage only refers to the year it was made.

So, my advice to you is, before you go buy something "Vintage" make sure what you are getting and why it is considered "Vintage" to the seller, unless of course it's totally obvious.
Happy Shopping!

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