The Difference Between Retro and Vintage: The Nostalgic Fashion Dyad

The Difference Between Retro and Vintage: The Nostalgic Fashion Dyad

Most people associate the word “vintage” with old things, like grandma’s china or your favorite T-shirt from high school. But retro and vintage are actually quite different. Both terms refer to a style of clothing, but they have very different meanings from a historical perspective. Understanding the difference between retro and vintage clothing is key to knowing which looks best on you and what styles will be popular in upcoming years. Read on to learn more about both terms and figure out which one suits your unique sense of style.

What does retro mean?

Retro is short for “retrospective” or “retrospective fashion.” It refers to the revival of fashion designs and sensibilities from a specific time period. Typically, this means that retro clothing is a revival of designs and fashions from the mid to late 20th century (think the ‘50s and ‘60s). Retro is not a specific time period, however. Retro can be applied to anything that is reminiscent of a certain period, regardless of specific time frame. For example, pairing a ‘70s-style blazer with an ‘80s-style skirt would be an example of retro fashion since the pieces are reminiscent of those decades. Another word that people often use interchangeably with retro is “vintage.” This is where things get a bit confusing.

What does vintage mean?

Vintage clothing is clothing that comes from the past, but has been reworked, refurbished, or repurposed for modern day. It is clothing from the past that has been kept and maintained in good condition and is now being used again. Vintage can refer to retro or contemporary clothing from the past 30 to 50 years. It is important to note that the vintage clothing of today is different from how most people used to define the word vintage. In the past, “vintage” was used to refer to clothing that was over 100 years old.

The difference between retro and vintage clothing

While retro and vintage clothing both involve using designs and fabrics from the past, they do so in very different ways. Retro clothing typically involves taking an item of clothing from a specific time period and recreating it in a modern style. Vintage clothing, on the other hand, involves taking an item of clothing from the past, cleaning it, and reworking it in a modern style. For example, a pair of bell-bottom jeans from the ‘70s is retro clothing, whereas a pair of modern bell-bottom jeans designed to look like the ‘70s jeans is vintage clothing. This is why retro clothing is typically more expensive than vintage clothing. While vintage clothing only requires cleaning and a bit of alterations, retro clothing may require a lot more work due to fabrics and production techniques that don’t exist anymore.

When should you wear retro clothing?

Retro clothing is best suited to people who are confident and carefree. If you like to have fun with your style and aren’t afraid to stand out, retro clothing is perfect for you. If you like to dress casually, retro clothing is a great option for you as well. Retro clothing is perfect for those who want to look like they’re fresh out of the ‘80s or ‘90s, but with a modern twist. Retro clothing is best suited for casual events, such as a day at the beach or park, and for everyday wear. Retro clothing is a great option for those who want to wear something fashionable and unique without breaking the bank. Retro clothing has become increasingly affordable as vintage stores expand and retro fashion becomes more popular.

When should you wear vintage clothing?

Vintage clothing is best suited for those who want to look sophisticated and classy. Vintage clothing is great for formal events, such as job interviews, special occasions, and black tie affairs. Vintage clothing is also a great option for those who like to have a uniform look. Vintage clothing often has a very specific aesthetic, making it easy to have a uniform look. Vintage clothing is best suited for those who like to have a classic and timeless look that is easy to maintain, can be worn year round, and will last for years to come.

The takeaway

Retro and vintage clothing are both excellent ways to incorporate old fabrics and designs into your wardrobe. Retro and vintage clothing are best suited for casual settings and everyday wear, whereas modern clothing is best for formal settings and special occasions.

If you’re interested in incorporating retro and vintage elements into your wardrobe, start by choosing pieces that you already own. There is no better way to start incorporating retro and vintage elements into your wardrobe than by repurposing old pieces.

For new, repurposed clothing that is vintage-inspired or retro-inspired and created by unique small business fashion designers, check out RE.STATEMENT, the online marketplace for unique upcycled fashion.