Throw back Thursdays are a recent meme going around the web. On any Thursday you’re supposed to show an old picture of yourself or something else from your past. I’m not sure if you are then supposed to laugh at the old clothes and hair styles, or just commiserate with your friends that you ever looked like that.
I mentioned to my daughter that I feel like every day is throw back for me because most of my clothes are probably retro. (I hate getting rid of stuff that is still good.) And that I was planning a post on the word. And she replied, “Make sure they understand the difference between vintage and retro. It drives me crazy when people misuse those words.”
Well, I couldn’t deny I didn’t really know the difference. Aren’t the words kinda, sorta, interchangeable?
So, being the research nut that I am, and never one to back away from a dictionary challenge, I looked it up.
Retro means pertaining to or revived from the past. It’s a shortened form of the word retroactive. So anything done in the past which has been brought back into use is retro.
Vintage refers to something old and of lasting interest or importance. It comes from the wine making culture. A bottle from a vintage year is usually very good. And expensive. It has come to mean anything that is old and worthy of remembering.
So a psychedelic print from the 1960’s is retro. I can imagine wearing one today. They’re cute. But not vintage.
And a dress from the Gilded Age, circa 1890, is vintage, but not retro. If I wore something like this to work I believe my sanity would be questioned.
OK, I think I’ve got it. My clothes are definitely not vintage. And no,they’re not retro either.
They’re just old.
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