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The Vintage Guide To London | December 14, 2017

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Vintage vs Second Hand vs Retro

Vintage vs Second Hand vs Retro

The Vintage Style Doctor, a vintage personal shopper for men, contemplates the difference between vintage, second hand and retro.

“How to define vintage clothing? This is more difficult to answer than it may seem. Ask three different vintage traders and you may well receive three different answers. One very common answer is that it is clothing twenty years old or older. This is perhaps because people assume that the word vintage derives from the Latin word for twenty, viginti.

The word actually derives from the Latin word vindemia – “a gathering of grapes” and was initially used of course simply to date wine. Throughout the 19th century, the word diversified in meaning and has since come to be used to describe something as classic or sometimes even just old. Although, I would say that anything less than twenty years old is still a little too new for proper perspective.

My preferred definition when it comes to clothing is that vintage means “the best of a golden era”. For example, the golden era for formal wear, for me would be the 1920’s-30’s, however it is more than reasonable to describe the 70’s-80’s as a golden era for sports wear, and I have no doubt that the market for original 90’s club wear will continue to grow and grow as that era’s nightlife continues to be mined as an influence on modern fashion and music.

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