Origin of the term Vintage
"Vintage" was originally an Anglo-Saxon term derived from the vocabulary of wine and alcohol in general. Etymologically, several sources clash: distorted pronunciation of the French expression "vingt ans d’age"(20 years of age) or "Vendange"(harvest)?
In any case, the word first qualifies wines and alcohols such as whiskeys and port. These are old vintages that have retained all their qualities. The use of "vintage" to describe clothing dates back to the 1980s: the term then described emblematic pieces of fashion dated more than twenty years ago. The definition has evolved since then and a lot of specialist agree that it can be less than 20 years old, the new reference is closest to 10 years old.
This does not mean that any old garment can be described as vintage! The qualifier implies a set of criteria: intrinsic quality (noble materials, impeccable cuts), a prestigious brand (haute couture, quality ready-to-wear), a style characteristic of an era (pop prints from the 1960s, jeans and wide pants from the 1970s…)… A t-shirt, for example, will only be vintage if it has one of these characteristics (for example, a Petit Bateau t-shirt from the 1970s).
The flagship pieces of vintage fashion
The emblematic pieces of the major Haute couture and ready-to-wear brands (a Chanel suit, a Saharan or a women's tuxedo from Yves Saint Laurent…)
Leather (clothing, accessories)
Jeans from the 1950s to the 1970s
Dresses from the 1950s and 1960s
Costume jewellery, if possible from a major brand (Chanel, YSL, etc.)
The advantages of vintage fashion
Why choose vintage rather than thrift clothes?
The latter designates all types of second-hand clothing, regardless of style or brand. You can find the worst and the best . It takes a lot of time, and the eye, to spot the rare pearl. You might as well go directly to a specialist in vintage fashion, to discover a selection of quality clothing and accessories, and, who knows, treat yourself at a reduced price… Because, and that's a great advantage, vintage allows fashion lovers to acquire prestigious pieces at a lower cost.
Last but not least buying vintage is a more sustainable way to shop and allows us to have a positive impact on the planet.
Shopping one of the famous flea market in Paris with Hamish Bowles