The V-word

I am finding contant use of the v-word highly offensive. No, not vagina. I’ve yet to see that particular word get overused. Vintage. You don’t have to wear nothing but vintage clothing to be into vintage, you don’t have to dine off Meakin plates and recline on an Eames sofa make the grade, but for heaven’s sake IF YOU’RE CALLING IT VINTAGE, PLEASE CAN IT BE MORE THAN TWO DECADES OLD*.

(Go Go Roborant!)

My irritation at this stems from people labelling modern things with some vintage inspiration ‘vintage’. At their most historically accurate, those things are, to me, reproduction, repro if you like the short version. When the makers have taken a lead from historic items and styles but wandered off in their own direction, that’s vintage-inspired at best. Sometimes, it’s just pretty-modern. There’s nothing wrong with pretty-modern. What winds me up is that modern stuff being labelled vintage.

So, for me an original 1940s bag would be vintage.
A bag made with accurate historic styling, such as the fab lucite bags from Miss L Fire as repro.
And a bag made from fabric with a 1930s ditsy print all over it is pretty-modern.

A plate from the 1930s would be vintage.
A teapot made now but with vintage patterns and in the original shape would be repro.
A cup made now with vintage patterns but modern shapes would be vintage inspired (for example, Royal Albert’s mugs that were released as part of the 100 years of Royal Albert range).
And a plate plastered with roses like you see on 1940s fabric would be pretty-modern because even if the pattern was 1940s, no-one ever ate off plates like that in the 1940s. It is NOT vintage.

You may not agree with my categories, but are you also fed up of seeing ‘vintage’ slapped onto things? I swear sooner or later I’m going to come across a ‘vintage’ fan who doesn’t actually like old stuff. It’s going to happen...

*I know, I know, lots of people reading this will think, ‘Two decades? Surely you mean six!’


  1. Excellent rant, can you take on 'retro' next? ;)

  2. I'm probably going to come dangerously close to taking on 'steampunk' at some point... I think that's in danger of getting misapplied as frequently as 'vintage' and 'goth'.

  3. "a ‘vintage’ fan who doesn’t actually like old stuff"

    Seem to be plenty of those around, as far as I can tell. I can't believe that every person who buys from Vivien of Holloway, Heyday etc actually would wear an original if they were presented with one. I've met people who squirm at the idea of second-hand clothes, but who claim to love 'vintage'. Bah.

    Thank you for ranting on everyone's behalf! ;)

  4. The rant was triggered by Debenhams' new range of 'Heritage Home' plates. As far from something people would have used 20 years ago as it's possible to get, let alone 60 years ago... I am biassed, I want someone to rerelease a load of Susie Cooper designs at affordable prices.

    Maybe we bloggers should have a 'Difficult Vintage' day, when we post about a vintage item that challenges current tastes in some way.

  5. I have a how-to-dress book somewhere that suggests a bride's trousseau should consist entirely of the new, easily washable nylon underwear. If I can find it in time for Difficult Vintage day I will post about it. :)

  6. Well said - the twitter rant continues! I think my issue comes from people not knowing anything about the era they chose to emulate. I am not talking facts & figures - but more than a general "oh.. the blitz and red lippy" would do.

    It irks me. Much.

  7. not far off from my feelings on 'shabby-chic'...

  8. I know what you mean! I hate it when people try to pass off late 1990's stuff as vintage! =p


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