Every other month on a Thursday….across the parking lot at Lands’ End is a Tractor Auction. Tons of people pour into Dodgeville to bid on hundred’s of tractors and tractor equipment. From the steps at LE you can hear the auctioneer yelling numbers into his microphone….THAT Mid-West.
Vin-tage (vin'tij). Noun. "The grape crop of a single season"
Vintage clothing how does one truly define it? The term originated with descriptions of wine. A bottle of wine has a certain vintage. It is from a year gone by and thus obtains some level of quality due to its age. When it comes to clothing the term has more fluidity. In some cases it is considered simply previously owned garments. In some cases it is something that is at least 25 years old. Other sources will tell you that the garment must be indicative of the era in which it was created. The term is thrown around a lot these days. Vintage style and vintage inspired have become buzz words that people utilize to add an air of authenticity. In an era where a Ramones t-shirt will be infinitely more popular than an Arcade Fire t-shirt people are commonly looking back in an effort to look forward.
The concept of something that is simply previously owned being called vintage raises a debate. That debate is vintage versus thrift. The line between those connotations is certainly blurred. Thrift store shopping is an excellent way to save money while attempting to achieve a vintage look. That is most likely where the line is drawn. Thrifting puts the onus of locating a vintage piece on the purchaser. A vintage shop on the other hand has done the hard work for the customer by picking select pieces that would be considered vintage. While a vintage garment can certainly be found in a thrift store a thrift item is not necessarily vintage.
The 25 year debate is an interesting distinction. This classification appears to be derived at least in some part from cars. A car becomes a classic after 25 years. It is a very concrete distinction that is easily determined and universally agreed upon. In the world of fashion this distinction becomes more dubious. It is more difficult to determine the specific year that a garment was created. Furthermore, a garment could be reminiscent of a specific trend that would meet the criteria, but not specifically from that era. Finally, the definitive nature of the description is intimidating, but so few people will be able to identify the distinction that its meaning loses some of its bite. As long as a garment is from a foregone era the criteria would be met.
The concept of something appearing to be indicative of an era is probably the most important criteria. If a garment is old, but does not harken back to a specific time period than the garment might simply be described as old. The term vintage has almost no weight if the garment does not summon images from the past. The concept of something being vintage communicates that it is both durable and classic and this story is communicated most efficiently when it is clearly not a new piece. The message being that the quality of the garment is such that time has not eroded its appeal.
Fashion’s cyclical nature will always ensure a demand for vintage clothing. In a world where trends and fads dominate the landscape, vintage is a compass by which a consumer can steady their ship. Looking back and finding classic pieces and styles that have remained while others have fallen is an excellent way to maintain enduring style. Vintage denotes durability, style, and quality and those are qualities that will always remain classic.