Differences between Retro and Vintage Clothing

Differences between Retro and Vintage Clothing

If you love fashion, you might have heard the terms "retro" and "vintage" used to describe different styles of clothing and accessories. But do you know what they really mean and how they differ from each other? In this blog post, we will explain the differences between retro and vintage clothing, and why you should add some of these pieces to your wardrobe.

What is Retro Clothing?

Retro clothing refers to clothing that is inspired by or imitates the fashion of a previous era, usually from the 1950s to the 1990s. Retro clothing is not necessarily old or authentic; it can be newly made with modern materials and techniques, but with a nostalgic flair. Retro clothing often has a more polished and contemporary look than vintage clothing, as it adapts the old trends to suit the current tastes and preferences.

Some examples of retro clothing are:

  • A polka dot dress with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt, reminiscent of the 1950s pin-up style.
  • A pair of bell-bottom jeans with a tie-dye shirt, evoking the hippie vibe of the 1970s.
  • A neon-colored tracksuit with a matching headband, capturing the sporty and flashy mood of the 1980s.
  • A plaid flannel shirt with ripped jeans and combat boots, reflecting the grunge aesthetic of the 1990s.

Retro clothing can be fun and playful, as it allows you to experiment with different styles and colors from different decades. You can mix and match retro pieces with modern ones to create your own unique look. Retro clothing can also be a great way to express your personality and mood, as each era has its own distinctive vibe and attitude.

What is Vintage Clothing?

Vintage clothing is clothing that was actually made in a previous era, usually between the 1920s and the 1980s. Vintage clothing is not just old; it has a historical and cultural value, as it represents the fashion and lifestyle of a certain time period. Vintage clothing is often unique and rare, as it is not mass-produced like modern clothing. Vintage clothing can also have a higher quality than modern clothing, as it was made with more durable materials and craftsmanship.

Some examples of vintage clothing are:

  • A flapper dress with sequins and fringe, representing the glamour and freedom of the 1920s.
  • A tailored suit with a fedora hat, symbolizing the elegance and sophistication of the 1930s.
  • A swing dress with a petticoat, expressing the joy and optimism of the 1940s.
  • A pencil skirt with a sweater set, embodying the femininity and grace of the 1950s.

Vintage clothing can be classy and sophisticated, as it showcases the beauty and elegance of past fashion. You can wear vintage pieces for special occasions or everyday wear, depending on your style and preference. Vintage clothing can also be a great way to appreciate and honor the history and culture of a certain era, as each piece has its own story and significance.

Differences between Retro and Vintage Clothing

As you can see, retro and vintage clothing have some similarities, but also some important differences. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Retro clothing imitates or is inspired by past fashion trends, whereas vintage clothing is actually made in a past era.
  • Retro clothing is often mass-produced and has a modern twist, whereas vintage clothing is unique and has a historical value.
  • Retro clothing can be from any era between the 1950s and the 1990s, whereas vintage clothing can be from any era between the 1920s and the 1980s.

Why You Should Wear Retro or Vintage Clothing

Whether you prefer retro or vintage clothing, or both, there are many benefits to wearing these styles. Here are some reasons why you should wear retro or vintage clothing:

  • You can stand out from the crowd and show your individuality, as retro and vintage clothing are not common or mainstream.
  • You can express your creativity and personality, as retro and vintage clothing offer a variety of styles and colors to choose from.
  • You can support sustainable fashion and reduce waste, as retro and vintage clothing are recycled or reused instead of thrown away.
  • You can save money and get more value for your money, as retro and vintage clothing are often cheaper or more durable than modern clothing.
  • You can have fun and enjoy fashion, as retro and vintage clothing are fun to wear and explore.

Where to Find Retro or Vintage Clothing

If you are interested in wearing retro or vintage clothing, you might wonder where to find them. Here are some places where you can shop for retro or vintage clothing:

Online stores: There are many online stores that specialize in selling retro or vintage clothing. You can browse through their catalogs and order your favorite pieces from the comfort of your home. Some examples of online stores that sell retro or vintage clothing are ModCloth, Unique Vintage, and Etsy.

Thrift stores: Thrift stores are places where you can find second-hand clothing at low prices. You can visit your local thrift store and look for hidden gems among the racks. You might find some amazing retro or vintage pieces that are in good condition and fit your style. Some examples of thrift stores that sell retro or vintage clothing are Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Savers.

Flea markets: Flea markets are outdoor markets where vendors sell various goods, including clothing. You can go to your nearest flea market and browse through the stalls. You might find some rare and authentic retro or vintage pieces that are hard to find elsewhere. Some examples of flea markets that sell retro or vintage clothing are Rose Bowl Flea Market, Brooklyn Flea, and Portobello Road Market.

How to Style Retro or Vintage Clothing

Once you have found your perfect retro or vintage pieces, you might wonder how to style them. Here are some tips on how to style retro or vintage clothing:

Know your era: Before you wear a retro or vintage piece, it is helpful to know which era it belongs to and what the fashion trends were at that time. This way, you can match it with other pieces that complement its style and vibe. For example, if you wear a 1950s swing dress, you can pair it with a cardigan, a pearl necklace, and a pair of pumps.

Mix and match: You don't have to wear a full retro or vintage outfit to rock these styles. You can mix and match retro or vintage pieces with modern ones to create a balanced and harmonious look. For example, if you wear a 1970s bell-bottom jeans, you can pair it with a plain t-shirt, a leather jacket, and a pair of sneakers.

Accessorize: Accessories can make or break your retro or vintage look. You can use accessories to enhance or contrast your retro or vintage piece, depending on the effect you want to achieve. For example, if you wear a 1980s neon tracksuit, you can accessorize it with a matching headband, a pair of sunglasses, and some colorful earrings.


Retro and vintage clothing are two different but related styles that can add some flair and fun to your fashion. By knowing the differences between them and how to wear them, you can enjoy these styles and express yourself in new and exciting ways.

We hope this blog post has helped you understand the differences between retro and vintage clothing, and why you should try them out. If you are looking for some retro clothing that is custom-made for you, check out our website WearisN. We design prints on shirts or accessories in retro style and use the print on demand service to print and send them to you. Our brand name is WearisN because we believe in creating visions for the future with inspiration from the past.

If you liked this blog post, please share it with your friends and leave us a comment below. We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on retro and vintage clothing. Thank you for reading!

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