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Vintage vs Retro

Updated on September 23, 2019

The Difference Between Vintage and Retro

A vintage item is made with a completely outmoded design. A retro item is made during the modern year with a mixture of modern and traditional styles. Vintage is completely old and classical, while retro is a combination of classical and modern style. Vintage is extremely sought after and the demand for it constantly is increasing all the time.

I will share my opinion on these two fashion statements below and then you be the judge!

Here's an example

A vintage product is a product made with a complete outmoded design. A retro product is a product that is manufactured during the modern year with a combination of modern and old fashion style. I would say that vintage is something that is totally old and classical, while retro is a mixture of latest and classical style.

I prefer something that is vintage rather than retro because it seems more original

— Just My Opinion

Side By Side - Can you tell the difference between the two styles

In today's modern world, it's hard to find a town that does not have a vintage clothes shop. Years ago, people thought that vintage was only for the poor. Wearing second hand clothes was something that meant a person was poor and couldn't afford anything new, clothes were passed down from family to family.

Nobody wanted to wear hand me down's, but they didn't have the money to say no.

Compare The Two - Vintage design or Retro design

Vintage clothing has taken a few tumbles on the way to gaining respect. However, many famous people are eager to buy something vintage and beautiful. As soon as Kate Moss wore her Twenties flapper dress, Topshop followed suit and started selling these dresses. Vintage megastore Beyond Retro in East London quickly became a place where hippies would hangout. Everything from T-shirts and tea sets, it soon spiraled into a label that sold anything that was second-hand. However, the pendulum has once again swung back and vintage is in again. In fact, there is so much demand for it, that shops are finding it difficult to source this demand.

Take a look at two different style dress's below. You can see the the vintage dress is designed fully with 1980s style. The color, shape and the design of the retro dress gives you a mixture taste of old fashioned and modern style.

Vintage Fashion Style

Vintage Style Dresses

Vintage dresses are chic and elegant with their own flare

I like the look and style of the vintage dress, it has an elegant but classy look about it. This style was back in my mother's era and she has said that the pencil wiggle dress was the most popular back then.

Vintage Auctions - See what's being auctioned off today on eBay

Most charity shops price vintage clothes much higher than non-clothing cast-offs. It is even difficult to find genuine vintage clothes on Ebay. There is an increasing demand for vintage clothing and this has surmounted in higher prices for raw goods. Many buyers visit Britain to buy vintage in bulk. Everyone is after vintage fashions nowadays and it is becoming much more difficult to find vintage designs in charity shops.

When trying to find anything regardless if it's clothing or not I find that eBay sometimes has the selection. People from around the world have either hung onto their things or maybe even inherited them from their parents.

Retro Fashion Style

Retro Style Dresses

A retro dress comes in many styles

When taken literally, retro is defined as a style of the past. The fashion world has taken a look at the clothing of the past to produce the latest styles. Furthermore, retro has become a crucial part of a woman's wardrobe; not just for fashion conscious individuals, but also for everyone. Designs come from the 1960s to the 1980s.

There was one time when superhero t-shirts would have only been seen on students; today, retro t-shirts are the latest fashion. People of all ages are proud to show off their favorite superhero t-shirt.

I remember wearing the maxi dress as a teenager, these were the most comfortable dresses and they always kept us cool on those long hot summer days.

Vintage style or Retro style which is better?

See results

Vintage vs Retro is a fashion conversation

Designs An Increasing Demand

There are ways to get what you want

When buying a vintage dress, customers want to have the same comfort as they would expect on the high street. Most people pay more for a vintage dress than they would on the high street.

Nobody wants to get their hands dirty searching for second hand bargains. Spending a whole day searching for vintage bargains is not something that most people enjoy. It is difficult to find a second hand gem that has been forgotten about. That's why there are shops that search on the customers behalf. However, there are some people who just won't wear cast-offs, no matter how good their condition is.

Not to worry, there is vintage inspiration for people who don't want to wear second hand clothing. Designer labels base their fashion on vintage designs. Chloé's, Miu Miu's and Louis Vuitton have all designed their own vintage designs. These clothes are not entirely vintage, they are modeled on the vintage design. Otherwise known as retro.

The majority of high street fashion shops are taking advantage of this great demand. Online retailers are also making the most of this fashion. Popular 80's retro trend is taking the world by storm. Many people wear this fashion for trend purposes and not because there is any nostalgia attached.

The great thing with retro fashion is that manufacturers can keep the costs low. The main requirement for retro t-shirts are a printed design. Finding the right design if the key to success. For customers, the main cost of a retro t-shirt compared to a designer t-shirt, can be very minimal.

Many vintage stores buy directly from charity shops or organizations. They recycle old clothing and give it a new design that is both exciting and enchanting. Many women are getting married in vintage wedding dresses, in fact vintage fashions are comprised of garments, accessories and footwear.

"What Exactly Is Vintage and Retro?" Do You Have A Clear Definition?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting and such pretty dresses!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      retro for me. nice lens

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 

      7 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Got the difference between vintage and retro! I love both in fashion accessories!

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Okay you hauled me way back in time and I am almost ashamed to admit that I remember these vintage retro article lol. Fantastic article as is always your style.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Vintage 4 me. Great lens.

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 

      8 years ago

      By the way, awesome lens. BLESSED!

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 

      8 years ago

      Retro is going back to fashion. Vintage is old lol.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      No, I still don't get it. Vintage is something at least 20 years old, not new made to look old. Retro to me is something from the 50s -90s.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image


      8 years ago

      You made the distinction clear. Got it at last!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      now i know what is the different between vintage and retro

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Popping back in to bless this lens! :)

    • profile image

      Ashly Rain 

      8 years ago

      Well defined. Nice job.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks to you, now we know!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Vintage actually has some age to it. Retro is a look modern look alike.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I now have a clear definition, all thanks to you. :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for making this clear.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting and informative. Thanks for sharing.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      8 years ago

      I think of retro as being close to the old style, but with a modern twist. Vintage is actually the old product or design.

    • chezchazz profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      What about us guys? My brother-in-law collects vintage Hawaiin shirts. One friend collects Victorian tophats and another collects risque vintage ties. Why not include some retro/vintage men's items?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      1980s sounds quite new to be called "vintage." Ack! That would make me an antique.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      In my mind, I think of retro as a new product that is made to look like something from an earlier era, usually the 1940s, 50s, or more recent.

      With vintage, I think of very old, original items like an old oaken bucket or vintage-style to mean a replica of something older than the 1940s.

    • SianaL profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks for the info

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I always wondered what the difference between vintage and retro were! Thank you for explaining :)

    • JackieSonia profile image


      8 years ago

      Both are gorgeous. I love the 1950's retro dress the best. Good lens.

    • Shivani09 LM profile image

      Shivani09 LM 

      8 years ago

      I love vintage :) I made a vintage inspired footwear collection

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Vintage or Retro.. I think these are gorgeous

    • Frischy profile image


      8 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I think you are saying that vintage is classic and original, and retro is a reproduction with a twist. I am still confused though. lol

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have always had a fondness for vintage things from the clothes to the hairstyles.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I vote for vintage!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice explanation of vintage and retro.

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 

      8 years ago from London

      Love the vintage spotty dresses.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Vintage, of course!! :) And good job. It's very nice your content. We enjoy so much with your lens, thanks!!

    • Shoputopian profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC

      @Titia: Titia I just checked and it's not set as closed, not sure why you couldn't leave a comment...

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 

      8 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Lovely lens. Is your debate closed? I couldn't comment on that.

    • profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 

      8 years ago

      I enjoyed this page, I like to look at fashion articles and pieces. I am something of a clothes horse so, I guess it goes along with that. See you around the galaxy...

    • Celticep profile image


      8 years ago from North Wales, UK

      Enjoyed weighing up the pros and cons of vintage v retro! Fun lens, thank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      What fun article, and I love all of the fashions. :)

    • profile image

      mirrorball lm 

      8 years ago

      I had look through your lens, saw the polka dresses and thought I've got to get one of those ... perfect for the summer!!!

      I like retro dresses and clothes in general but when it comes to lingerie then it's vintage all the way for me!! I particularly like how I feel when I wear it under my normal office clothes. If you're interested, I'd love to know your views on my vintage lingerie lens.

    • Rangoon House profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      I loved your lens and clear distinction between vintage and retro.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 

      8 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Interesting and didn't realize...other overused words are "rare" and "scarce". Blessed.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      8 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I LOVE all the polka dot dresses on this page. :)

    • allenwebstarme profile image


      8 years ago

      Fantastic lens I didn't notice this different between Vintage and Retro, I always thought both are same.

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 

      8 years ago

      I sell vintage stuff and prefer it to 'retro'. Nice lens, I enjoyed it.

    • cbessa profile image


      9 years ago

      Good to have this info in here. I've been telling people about the difference between one and the other (beucase it's not just different words, they are different concepts) but there are to much misunderstanding yet

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love both - old school design is fantastic, in my opinion! So is your lens! :)

    • Retro Loco profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Great explanation of vintage versus retro! After shedding a few more pounds, I WILL be wearing that red and white polka-dotted dress!! I am going to put a link to this lens on my Retro Loco lens if that is alright. I am also looking at your Wizzley and Amplify accounts, and I will sign up using your links. ;-)


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