What is Vintage Style Called? A Guide to Timeless Home Decor

Vintage style, which is often associated with fashion, décor, and even gardening, is commonly known as retro fashion. This style is defined by its inspiration from past trends, typically dating from the 1920s to the 1980s. However, it is important to note that vintage style is not limited to clothing and décor. In gardening, for example, a vintage-inspired garden might feature heirloom plants, antique garden tools, and other elements that create a timeless, classic look. Additionally, it is worth noting that while the term antique is sometimes used interchangeably with vintage, antique technically refers to items that are at least 100 years old, while vintage items are usually between 20 and 100 years old. Regardless, whether you are looking to add a touch of retro charm to your home or garden, or simply love the timeless appeal of vintage fashion, there are numerous ways to incorporate this style into your life. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Try incorporating vintage-inspired pieces into your wardrobe or home décor
  • Consider using antique or vintage tools and equipment in your gardening endeavors
  • Research the history of different eras to gain inspiration for your vintage style
  • Have fun experimenting with different colors, fabrics, and textures to create a look that is uniquely your own
  • Visit thrift shops, flea markets, and other vintage stores to find unique pieces to add to your collection
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    Understanding Vintage Style

    Vintage style is a timeless way of dressing, which draws inspiration from fashion of the past. It involves wearing clothing, jewelry, accessories, and shoes that were popular in the previous decades. These vintage items are usually considered to be of high quality, unique, and have a distinctive charm that is not seen in modern fashion trends. Vintage clothing can refer to anything from the 1920s to the 1990s. Vintage style is considered sustainable and eco-friendly fashion because it gives new life to old clothing items, reducing waste and pollution.

    Retro Fashion: An Alternate Name for Vintage Style

    Retro fashion is another term used to describe vintage-inspired fashion. The word retro derives from the Latin prefix ‘retro’, meaning backwards, or in past times. Retro fashion is clothing that is designed to resemble the styles of the past. For example, a dress made in the 1950s style is considered retro. That being said, vintage fashion and retro fashion are quite similar. However, vintage is often considered as higher quality due to the fact that the clothing is actually from past eras.

    Differentiating Antique from Vintage Clothing

    The term vintage is often confused with antique clothing. Contrary to popular belief, antique clothing is differentiated from vintage clothing by age. The term antique refers to clothing that is at least 100 years old, whereas anything less than 100 but more than 20 years is considered vintage. Antique clothing is also harder to come by and can be much more expensive than vintage apparel. Additionally, antique clothing typically should not be worn as it is a one-of-a-kind piece that should be preserved for historical value.
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    Characteristics of Vintage Inspired Fashion

    Vintage style fashion has noticeable characteristics such as:
    • Flattering and feminine silhouettes
    • Use of bold colors and striking prints
    • Polished and tailored shapes, often with intricate detailing
    • High-quality materials like silk, lace, wool, and leather
    • Accessories that add a finishing touch such as hats, scarves, and statement jewelry
    Note: Vintage-inspired clothing does not always have to be authentic. It can also mean modern clothing designed in a vintage-like style.

    The History and Evolution of Vintage Style

    Vintage style can be traced back to the 1920s when women began to challenge the cultural norms of femininity and dress. With the emergence of the boyish ‘flapper’ style came the use of shorter hemlines, straighter silhouettes, and less restrictive clothing. Society was changing, and women were shedding the garments that no longer reflected their newfound independence. The 1930s and 40s were marked by glamor, exuding elegance and sophistication with long, flowing dresses, often silk or satin. The 1950s brought in the iconic hourglass figure with full skirts, nipped waists, and sweetheart necklines. The 1960s were marked by youthful, fun, and carefree clothing, such as mini skirts, bold prints, and bright colors. Ironically, it was during this time that the term ‘vintage’ first emerged, as women started to fall in love with the styles of previous decades. The 1970s saw a resurgence of Bohemian style, characterized by loose, flowy dresses and ethnic-inspired prints. The 1980s embraced a more dramatic, bold, and opulent style, with dramatic shoulder pads, sequins, and bold colors. The 1990s were characterised by grunge fashion – a looser fitting, distressed style, with flannel shirts, denim, and studded jackets. Vintage-inspired fashion isn’t just for retro doll lovers and hipsters anymore. Many of the key vintage styles can be easily incorporated into modern daily wear. Here are a few tips to achieving a vintage-inspired but modern look:
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    • Choose one vintage or retro piece and build your outfit around it.
    • Don’t go overboard and mix and match too many decades and styles.
    • Accessorize with vintage scarves, jewelry or bags to give your modern outfit a boost of uniqueness.
    • Try to use vintage style as inspiration, rather than copying a main outfit piece-for-piece.
    • Think about the cut of specific vintage styles, and how you can achieve this same design through modern-day tailoring.

    Sustainable Fashion: Benefits of Wearing Vintage Clothing

    The fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world, but buying vintage is a more eco-friendly way to be stylish. Vintage clothing has many benefits, including:
    • Reduction in landfill waste and associated environmental impacts
    • Nearly always unique and one-of-a-kind pieces – won’t be seen on anyone else!
    • High quality that far exceeds modern items!
    • With age and wear, vintage clothing tells a story, adding character and style to outfits
    The Bottom Line: Incorporating vintage styles and pieces into your modern-day wardrobe is an excellent way to add unique style elements, while also being sustainable and eco-conscious. With the ever-changing fashion trends, vintage-inspired clothing is a timeless way to keep up with fashion without being wasteful.

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