Last week Lauri of ArtSmith sent me this question via email:
I've been wondering this for a LONG time, and you seem like the person who might know the answer...When is something...aprons, kitchen and decorative items, and especially fabric...considered vintage? It seems like there is no precise answer, or that people use the term liberally. I would think something from the 70's could be considered vintage...I guess because that decade had a distinct style...and of course everything before then, but no later than that, like the 80's or 90's. Or, could it be something that 'new' but just discontinued?
So, Vintage Chica...what's your take on it? I'm really wondering because there don't seem to be any hard and fast rules on it.
Thanks Lauri for the question and I am humbled to think that I might be some sort of "go to" person for this. In my opinion, I would think anything 20 years old and older could be considered vintage. Sort of an in between to the term antique (100 years old or older) and contemporary.
As the day went on, I really started to think about it more and wanted to actually find the answer. I consulted wikipedia as I do for all important questions and found mostly information on the term being used in relation to a bottle of wine. But then a little more digging and I found this regarding vintage clothing. And this about vintage cars. A vintage car is commonly defined as a car built between the start of 1919 and the end of 1930. Apparently the definition of vintage depends on the item to which you are referring.
Sometimes I just can't let go of a question until I find a definitive answer, like when you have a song playing over and over in your brain. I decided to take this one step further and ask an expert. I phoned Diana Hays, owner of the Texas antique shops County Mercantile and Main Street Mercantile (and also my extra talented mother). She said she would define an item to be vintage if it were "a collectible item between 20 and 100 years old. However, some items including clothing and dishes could be considered vintage at 15 years old depending on the item. And the term "collectible" is debatable as well." Thanks Mom!
So, there you go Lauri. Your statement was absolutely correct. There does not seem to be a precise answer and yes people do use the term very liberally, including myself. But way too liberally on ebay. If you look up the keywords vintage china and you get everything from 1890s fine English china to Fiestaware bought at JCPenneys last year. So, here I pose the question to all of you. What do you all think? How would YOU define vintage?
And Im leaving you with a photo of some "vintage" Christmas finds from the Value Village trip this past week.