What’s the difference between Vintage and Retro?

retro vs vintage

Vintage refers to the era, typically from the 1920s to the 1970s, when the style was at its most popular. Retro, on the other hand, usually means that the style is being imitated or reproduced from that era. Retro can also refer to things that are oldfashioned or out of style.

Here is a visual explanation, of the difference between, Vintage and Retro? In the above picture, you will see two Barbie dolls, one is the original Barbie doll from 1959 created by Mattel, and when in good condition they sell for over $20.000. This is what we call Vintage, it’s the real deal, old worn, and original.

The other Doll is also a Barbie doll and was also created by Mattel, but it is only $50 and it was created in 2020. It has the same 1950’s style and look, but brand new. This is what we call Retro, things that appear to be old with the style and feel of something that could be Vintage.    

Here’s another great example these Jukeboxes may look kinda similar, but one is from the ’50s and the other one is brand new. both of them play vinyl and has a ton of great music. Where the vintage one is what you would expect “old and authentic” The Retro Jukebox is packed with an incredibly powerful sound system, Bluetooth for wireless connection from your phone, and a digital amplifier. 


vintage jukebox


retro jukebox

Here are the definitions of some of the related terms.

What is Vintage?

To put it simply, Vintage is just old stuff, the condition and age are not that important, normally at least 20-100 years old. When it gets upwards of 100 years old we start to call it Antique instead.

Today’s youth really love vintage stuff and it is getting more and more hip, to dress as they did in the past but still keep it fashionable. 

Vintage objects are old, rare, or no longer in production.

What is Retro?

Retro is something that appears to be old but doesn’t have to be. Normally associated with things from the ’60s to the ’90s and gaming is one of the more popular things, old school Nintendo consoles, Arcade games and in general video games had their rise in that time period, which gives most of your adults today a nostalgic throwback when we think about it. 

Retro fashion also plays a big role in today’s society, we always go back in time with fashion, and Retro clothing is a big inspiration for many designers and fashionable people.

What is Antique?

There is no definitive answer to this question as the term “antique” can mean different things to different people. Generally speaking, however, an antique is a collectible item that is at least 100 years old.

There are a lot of shops and markets around the country, selling antiques and some of the most popular things, are furniture, lamps and other decorations. Antiques often come at a high price, because of the historical and collectible part of it. 

What is Classic?

Classic is also a term connected with the other terms above, but classic refers more to things of excellent quality, things that are in great shape and people have a good feeling about.

Unlike the other terms “Classic” does not reflect a specific time period, but is often used, when talking about older cars or music, and often things, that have withstood the test of time.

What is Old School?

Old School is a funny term, it refers to the way people did things back in the day. Old school is considered slang and to be a cool thing when referred to. Hip Hop from the ’80s is also often called old school Hip Hop, something that gives the music more credibility and acknowledgment like NWA

Old school is also an expression, used to describe something that is oldfashioned, outdated, or no longer in use.

What is Nostalgic?

Nostalgic is more of a feeling than a thing, for me personally. I get “Nostalgic” When I think about my childhood and my old room, I have an Amiga 500 and I could use hours in front of that computer, just chilling and playing all of my favorite video games like Lotus Turbo Challenge 2.

Most nostalgic feelings will bring you back, to a place of peace in mind, a time in your life when you were happy, something or somewhere, you have a longing for.

An example could be: In the past, internet connections could actually be really slow, and it seems funny by today’s standard, the waiting and waiting for simple things, made things feel a little more special.

I hope this helped you a little to understand What
the difference between Vintage and Retro is.

If you’re interested in other Retro and vintage articles
we have a lot of 
great ones in our Posts section.

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