Sunday, December 12, 2010


In a conversation last week, several people were talking about their cool "vintage purse" or "vintage sweater" or "vintage bowl" or "vintage chair." I sat there quietly, listening, not wanting to reveal that I didn't know what "vintage" meant. Silly me -- I thought "vintage" had something to do with vines (as in, grape harvests or wine) or possibly something classy and old.

Turns out that "vintage" apparently is the new word for "used." If you have a hand-me-down purse that's 3 years old, it's just "used." But if your used purse is 20 years old, then it's "vintage" and you can consider yourself classy and trendy-but-with-respect-for-recycling.

Huh. And here I thought "used" covered "antique" and "vintage" and "used." Color me cheap.


  1. If I recall correctly, vintage used to mean "something that would be considered used, except no one actually used it," because it's not quite old enough to be antique.

    Also, a lot of things are called vintage now because hipsters LOVE vintage and they seem to be the ones with the most disposable income right now.

  2. Susan, that is NOT the right use of the term "vintage" - not in that way, in any case. If you use it to refer to something "old" it's really supposed to be coupled with the year it was made. "A handbag of 1980's vintage" or something alone those lines. In that case, it refers to when something was made.

    Yeah, I hate the way we're always trying to make things sound better than they are. I make comments at work sometimes, and guys will say, "Don't say that - that just makes it sound like you're poor." To which I always reply, "But I AM poor!" They seem so shocked and offended when I say it... Pfft.

  3. Thanks for the lesson. I thought vintage was just "old", but when I drive past "vintage" shops, the stuff DOES look more like it has style than I do.

  4. Nathan, I think if someone had talked about "60s vintage shoes" or a "50s vintage purse" it would have made complete sense to me. But like my mom said, it must have something to do with a classiness level.

    (And yes, I agree with you about being short of patience for those who want to put a fancy-schmancy spin on what's normal or doesn't quite measure up.)