Difference between Vintage and Second Hand

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In the last couple of years, we are hearing more and more about the ‘vintage trend’, which has caught on pretty well, and not just in common people, but also in celebrity realm. It seems like the ‘time capsule’ clothes is all around us, bringing the spirits of different decades and worlds into our personal styles. Still, although it is omnipresent, do we really know all there is to know about this trend? Well, no.

We are often confusing different terms, which is not strange because of the unclear boundaries between them. Now, we will try to make these boundaries clearer, and make you a retro-know-it-all.

It Is All in the Past

The one common denominator describing retro, vintage, antique and second hand clothing is “the past”. What we do not know (or we are less familiar with) is that there is actually some form of (not so precise and widely accepted) dating of these styles:

Antique – before 1920,
Vintage – from 1920 to 1960,
Retro – after 1960.

However, as the years go by, different styles are entering the categories of retro and vintage, and it is becoming more difficult to point your finger on the exact decade and its matching style. Being that the past depicts all of these styles, people often instantly identify them as second hand, which is not always true.

Did Someone Wear It Before?

Second hand, as the very name says it clearly, are the clothing pieces that used to belong to someone else. Although it was the most common way of acquiring clothes until the mid 19th century, second hand was pushed away for a while.


Did Someone Wear It Before

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Now, it is back with a blast, and the shops selling used clothes are very successful businesses. Even some of the brightest stars of Hollywood are getting their outfits from consignment stores. This contributed to the expansion of second hand to the online realm, birthing some of the popular stores specialized for this sort of clothing, such as swap and many others.

Does It Mean It Is Vintage?

Second hand and vintage can sometimes be the same thing, but very often they are not. You see, vintage clothing can be the pieces that are produced a long ago, then worn and then put back on the market as second hand pieces.

Does It Mean It Is Vintage

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On the other hand, even some modern clothing can be sold at consignment stores, so we cannot limit ourselves to strictly vintage. In many ways today, vintage has become a whole new lifestyle, including clothes, jewelry, hairstyles, accessories, and why not, even music and home décor.

Is It Vintage if It Is New?

There is a whole other kind of vintage which is often called as “new-old stock” by dealers. These are the items that have been created a long time ago, but, for some reason, they have never been actually worn, and they still have their original tags. There is, however, an even newer form of vintage and that is the one we can see these days on the runways.

Is It Vintage if It Is New

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Yes, the designers could not escape the ever growing presence of the past in fashion, and they have created their own fashion lines inspired by the long gone decades. From the runways, these pieces go straight to the red carpet, and on the TV and computer screens around the world. It is no wonder than that vintage is the new dress-to-express style, in all its forms, and it does not plan to go away.

By now it should be clear how exactly the terms of vintage and second hand differs one from another. This dilemma impacts little on the appeal of vintage, no matter if it is fresh from the runway, old and not worn, or used before – it is a style that can be personalized, experimented with and limited only by your creativity.

Author BIO:

Sophia Smith is Australian based beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger. She is also very passionate about organic beauty products and healthy lifestyle. Sophia writes mostly in beauty and fashion related topics, mainly through blogs and articles. She is regular contributor at High Style Life.

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