What makes something vintage? The Vintage Fair

If you get a chance to go to the Vintage Fair market in your city, GO! Whether you buy something or not, I always feel like a vintage shop is an interesting “museum” of history. I do collect vintage items and wear them or display them. My sons are interested in some vintage items , too, especially records. Even though my husband is not as into it, he enjoys going with me just to examine the quality of items. He also likes them for the same reason I do—to walk down memory lane.I like all kinds of vintage pieces and sometimes I’m in search of a special motif that serves a purpose. Other times, I’m on a  hunt for clip earrings. It’s also fascinating to talk to the vendors and learn factoids. Did you know that fitch is a type of fur that the people in the U.K. used to wear? It’s a common rodent much like mink! Many people don’t even know that they’re wearing fitch. I also found Matryoshka Russian nesting dolls for a friend of mine who has started to collect them.The clothes are a personal favorite of mine. The women were so tiny back then! (probably from the corsets which we call “waist shapers,”today.) T

You can barter at certain vintage shows and shops or ask for a discount on a grouping of items. Personally, I think vintage items make unique gifts for people. You can find records, prints, old record books and ledgers, and so many other interesting time capsules of history. SHOE-LA-LAAAA! Look at these silk shoes. I’m fascinated with these because my mother had a similar pair (but in midcentury style) made for her by Parisian shoemakers. 

vintage pink

And last, but not least, look at these gowns. I get a visceral reaction just looking at the displays. What makes something “vintage” or “antique”? Reportedly, vintage is usually anything 20 years or older. Some say 10 depending on the item. Antiques are generally 100 years old, some say 80 years. As a teenager, I had a friend who collected vintage comic books. Upon visiting Tulsa, he was very excited to check out our Vintage comic book stores and their selection. Here are actual guides on what makes certain items reach vintage age. For example: here are some approximations.

  • perfumes– 1900-1980’s
  • clothing- 20 years old
  • vehicles- 25 years or older
  • musical instruments- 25 years old
  • wine– see link below
  • comic books- info on this varies but comics from the ’30s-’50s is considered valuable.

I learn new things almost every time I visit vintage shops and antique stores. This weekend, I learned that many fur coats (especially in England) are made of fitch which is a European polecat, much like a ferret. Corsac, a type of Siberian fox,  was another popular type of fur. Sable is the most valuable distinction of fur. There are mixtures of faux fur and real fur at various vintage stores.

Vintage furs and vintage wine could be individual blogs of their own due to all of the specific information about them. Below is an interesting link on understanding vintage wines.

In closing, I just realized my kids are vintage and my hubby and I are halfway to antiques!


© Gina Michalopulos Kingsley

photos by Gina

2 thoughts on “What makes something vintage? The Vintage Fair

  1. Love this article! I am also intrigued by antiques and vintage items! Anything with a history behind it is exciting!

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