Vintage vs. old: How to tell the difference

vintageFashionistas and collectors are in hot pursuit of vintage items to add to their wardrobes, homes or garages. 

Whether it’s a funky print, retro sneakers, 1950s hotrod or early 20th-century artwork, vintage pieces are highly sought-after items. 

But how do you know if something is vintage or just plain old? Simply study the resale market. 

Five elements help determine whether an item is considered vintage: 

  • Age: Generally, vintage items are a few decades old, with items from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and even 1980s regularly earning that term. Vintage items often exchange hands a few times. 
  • Quality: The most impressive aspect of vintage items is that they’re in excellent condition given their age. That means holes, tears, dents, cracks and rust should be minimal or nonexistent. 
  • Demand: Are people asking for that item or searching online for it? Vintage items often have an emotional connection with their owner or potential buyer. 
  • Quantity: In an era of mass production, it’s difficult to find items that are in short supply. When they are few and far between, though, consumers will act fast before they’re gone. 
  • Value: On the secondhand market, prices are driven by quality, demand and quantity. Some vintage cars, for example, sell for a higher price today than their original MSRP, even when factoring inflation into the price. 

Across Southwest Florida, the vast majority of people are building their wardrobes with new clothing purchased at department stores or online retailers. They are decorating their homes with sofas, coffee tables, kitchen tables, lamps and artwork straight from the catalog or showroom of a nearby big box store. 

Adding vintage items to your closet or living room introduces personality, style and a little flair. Fortunately, savvy shoppers can visit a variety of resale shops in Collier and Lee counties to score vintage styles. 

Vintage fashion can be plaid or floral designs, jeans, dresses and jewelry from bygone eras. Vintage furniture includes end tables, lamp bases and lamp shades, vases, tchotchkes and chairs. Even plates, bowls, wine glasses and silverware can be vintage. 

If an item was produced or manufactured in the 1990s or early 2000s, has little interest among consumers and an incredibly low price, it isn’t vintage… it’s just old. 

– By Kat McNabb, Manager of Guadalupe Resale Shop