RETRO vs. VINTAGE FASHION

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Schermata 2015-11-24 alle 17.41.03

RETRO vs. VINTAGE FASHION

As 1940s post war America entered into a period of prosperity, as with the wartime rationing of materials including fabric now lifted, the high style of Hollywood could be worn by the masses. Fashion (what would become today’s Retro Style) developed quickly. Through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s people had more leisure time, more money which was used to make some of the most creative music, art and fashion. The fashion styles developed with popular culture and changed quickly with the influence of rock and roll and Hollywood movies. These styles of the 40s 50s and 60s gave way to others in the 70s and 80s, but the classic quality of these styles have been coming back in revivals and each time they do, they are updated just a little bit, infusing the original spirit with a modern day twist.

Retro is a pretty general term but refers to clothing commonly worn in the past. When we talk about retro style, we are referring to the fashions of the 1940s 1950s and 1960s. Certain items have become iconic and representative of these times, like the 50s poodle skirt or the 60s Mod style, which can be combined in new and interesting ways with current clothing and fabrics. It was a simpler time than today, mass consumption, culture and people cared a lot about quality as well as style. The fashion came from wartime styles, out of Hollywood, from the development of new materials, and later from the pop culture around the rock and roll music of the time. Makeup and hairstyles are a part of the retro fashion styling of their eras, adding to the signature fashion elements that help define a decade.

Retro” and “vintage” are two descriptive labels for styles and clothing. In addition, these two words can be applied to other designed objects. In terms of clothing and fashion, a “vintage” item is a piece of clothing that is made during the period of the 1920’s to 1980’s.

There is a subtle difference between vintage and retro clothing styles. Vintage clothing is the actual clothing produced in the time period. These garments are very collectible and desirable by vintage clothing enthusiasts which may include specific designer labels and material, however since it is often previously worn, and clothing wears out, vintage clothing is often times hard to find in good wearable condition. Vintage clothing sizing may be a problem as it was somewhat different in the 40s 50s and 60s than it is today.

Retro Clothing is new clothing in classic styles, sometimes called vintage style. These modern designers are inspired by vintage styles and cuts from by-gone eras, but are using modern materials and methods to create these retro-inspired garments. A big advantage of retro style clothing is that since it is produced today, it is generally easier to find in desired modern sizing and produced in modern fabrics.

Retro fashion refers to fashion from 1940-1990. Retro fashion is a clothing style which consists in wearing clothes commonly used in the past. This way of clothing often includes garments and accessories that are characteristic of such times, and many people use them in an exaggerated way and in combination with current clothing. Some examples are leather handbags from the 1950s, “bell-bottom jeans”, Poodle skirts, big sunglasses, fedoras, funky jackets, shoes, small neckties, chiffon scarves, sport equipment, skinny jeans, etc. Makeup may also play a part in feminine retro fashions, with focal points being heavily-lined eyes and bright red lipstick; hairstyles such as pompadours, ponytails, and ducktails may be adopted, as well as styles that model film stars of the 1940s and 1950s.

An example of this trend is 1970s and 1980s sportswear; soccer jackets, jerseys and T-shirts with former logos of the soccer associations are very popular; their designs commonly remember the old days by using lines in the sides and combinations of colors characteristic of those times. Brands such as Adidas, Puma and Nike have their own divisions specialized in retro products. Some soccer, baseball and basketball clubs also have re-edited their former garments to raise their sales.

The 1950s greaser look greatly influenced the punk subculture. In the late 2000s there was a revival of neon and pastel colors, stereotypically associated with 1980s fashion.  Nowadays, 1990s fashion has made a comeback, many of the fabrics and patterns ubiquitous to the decade (such as crushed velvet and floral) are popular now in the 2010s. Dr. Martens, a shoe brand popular in the 1990s, has also made a strong comeback in the early 2010s. 2011 – 2012 was the British company’s bestselling season of all time.

Vintage clothing echoes the style that was popular during that extensive period. The word can refer to the pattern, style, and age of the said object or clothing. Vintage clothing or objects use old patterns and old materials. Clothing is considered vintage if the style and material used are 20 – 75 years old compared to the current fashion trends. However, even some people continue to wear vintage clothing as an expression of fashion as a way to recycle clothes and save money.

Vintage is closely related to antiques where an object has to be 100 years or older to be considered as such. Vintage clothing is usually formal or classy clothing. Some of the vintage styles or designs have evolved through time and the clothing necessities of the people.

Most vintage clothing includes dresses and have some key features that make them stand out from other trends. Vintage clothing styles are full of details like lapels, appliques, or designs. They also have very modest or full cuts and lengths compared to modern clothing. Vintage clothes also have smaller proportions. The construction of vintage clothes is also different from other clothes.

Vintage clothing is regarded as original and authentic in terms of inspiration and design.
“Vintage” is a word that was first used in reference to a wine’s age. In addition, the word is also used to refer to secondhand clothing. The word is Middle English which is probably derived from Anglo-French “vendage” or “vendenge,” from Latin “vindemia.” It was first used in the 15th century. “Vintage,” as a term can function as a noun and an adjective.

One common term associated with vintage is retro. Retro is a type of style or design that refers to previous fashion trends, particularly the vintage style. It is also known as “vintage inspired” or “vintage look.” “Retro” is different from “vintage” with respect to appearances and material. Retro clothing has an updated and more polished look. It means that retro clothes are made with an old style or design but with new or contemporary materials. Retro is mostly borrowed, reproduced or imitated designs.

This embodies the spirit of retro, a shortened word of “retrospective” or “retrospection.” The word’s origin is from the Latin word “retrospectus” which means “backwards.” In terms of age, retro clothing is newer. The word is also used as a term to describe 1960-1970 street clothing.

Kathy Kiefer

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