It’s pretty subjective. Generally speaking, clothes that are culturally indicative to a time period make the grade. Mass-produced clothes used to be a LOT better made, so usually even if it’s a simple item you can tell about the quality just by feel. Different eras also favored different fabrics. Labels and buttons are key giveaways to dating a piece, and zippers are also a clue – plastic zippers are a relatively recent thing (began in the 80’s, i think).
I honestly can’t think of stuff from GAP, H&M, etc as ever really being vintage in the future – their stuff is too widely available, not the best made, and often draws upon so many different eras and styles as to not really be distinct in and of itself. There are also labels that were popular for a time period, so you can often find a windfall of these (connie, jantzen, etienne aigner, nickels, zodiac, pendleton etc)Designer stuff will always be coveted as vintage. But something from two seasons ago is outdated, so I guess there has to be a sufficient period of time to elapse before it’s “vintage”. 10 yrs? 15?
It can be a grey area for sure.
It’s definitely subjective.
I would say secondhand refers to anything that has been worn before you bought it, whether it’s a gap shirt someone just bought and donated or a 30s dress.
Vintage definitely has to do with age, and I would agree with the 10 to 15 years. I’m not 100% sure that I agree that quality figures in to the definition of vintage, but I would agree that, like evolution, better quality pieces are the ones that survive. But people often talk about vintage concert t-shirts, and there are plenty of people who buy cheap dresses from vintage/secondhand stores that are vintage but are not necessarily fine materials or super-high quality.
Think of vintage like wine—- it’s got to be a certain age and it only gets more fabulous with time.posted over 6 years ago
Vintage clothing has to be distinctively and clearly from another era, whether it’s the style of the clothing or the little details like metal zippers, old tags etc. that let you know it’s old. it’s definitely more special than “secondhand”... as for me, I usually just call it thrifted (since that’s where I get most of my clothes anyway) unless I’m sure it’s actually as old as it looks. To me, “secondhand” is more like hand-me-downs or less unique used clothing.posted over 6 years ago
I think much of what is on Ebay is actually thrifted wares…
when I think vintage I think of Ossie Clark, 70s coats, and 20s dresses. Things of that sort.
secondhand or used clothes are basically called as such because they are cheaper than brand new ones. Vintage, on the other hand, can be cheaper or costly depending on the style or age of clothing.posted over 5 years ago
Vintage I would say is older that the 80’s, but I do carry my Mom’s old Gucci purses from the 80s and I consider them to be “vintage”
Ebay is more secondhand I would say, check out allysoninwonderland.com for great deals on designer “secondhand” items :)posted over 5 years ago
Vintage is older; I personally believe vintage starts in the 70s and goes back. Secondhand is newer and more often mass-produced items. But seriously, you can’t call anything produced in the 90s vintage!posted over 5 years ago
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that the definition of vintage is something like, “anything from 20 or more years ago”. Ten or so years ago, a shirt from the ‘80s was NOT vintage. Today, stores and sellers are claiming it IS vintage, regardless of designer, label, or actual worth at the time of manufacturing. And now, while we’re on our way to 2010, I’m seeing a pattern of early ’90s stuff being sold in thrift stores and on the internet labeled as “vintage”.
Even the new stuff coming out resembles early 90s fashion — harem pants, oversized blazers, leather leggings, body con and baby doll dresses, flannel shirts, thigh-high socks.
If anything, I’d consider “vintage” as a branch-off of “second-hand”.posted over 5 years ago
Second hand clothes can be last year’s items. They are not vintage. If it’s not 20 years old, it can’t be considered as vintage.posted over 2 years ago
second hans`s can be vintage. second hand are the clothes who were not bought and vintage means an old branded piece (very old – like 20 years)posted over 2 years ago
Vintage are styles from a past period of time – retro. Secondhand are items that have been worn and past on to someone else.posted over 2 years ago
It’s not subjective.
Vintage is literally defined as old and outdated. Second hand means its been worn before.
Vintage doesn’t automatically mean secondhand.
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