Fashion Over 50: Antique, Retro or Vintage

Have you ever wondered what the true distiction is of what makes clothing vintage?  I pondered it recently while doing some closet diving and looking for something to wear I have not worn in a long time.  I know this blouse is maybe 15 years old…does that make it vintage?

After doing a little reseach, it seems there is agreement that clothing which was made before the 1920s is referred to as antique, and clothing from the 1920s up to twenty years before the present day is considered vintage.  Retro is short for retrospective or vintage-style and usually is used to describe clothing which imitates styles from a certain era.   I believe I have owned this blouse since around 2000, so it is not vintage.  But, the wool coat I found at Goodwill years ago is a true vintage garment and it is my favorite coat.

The way I modernized my older top in the orginal pictures, was to add modern accessories, and great fitting pants.

Well, now we know…you can’t just call an older garment vintage…but you can re-style it and wear again. Is there anyone here who has a true love of vintage clothing?  Please share a little about it and how you typically style the pieces.   Have a fun day, everyone…and

Here’s a tease….something in this outfit will be a part of fall trends this year!  Come back Sunday to find out what it is.



  1. First of all, I’d never have guessed that blouse was as old as it is! It looks so current with the double hem, and I love the sheer sleeves! I thought the collar was part of the necklace, but see that it’s not, and it perfectly ties into your shoes! I do like how the collar and the necklace look like one statement piece! The coat is wonderful! The shape of it is perfect and the 3/4 sleeves are nice! I’m sure I’d freeze to death in it here in Ohio, but it would be perfect for your winters! And that’s a great hat too! I love hats! Given the parameters of what makes an item vintage, I couldn’t call myself a true lover of vintage because I don’t own anything in that time range. I do like to see how people style vintage pieces, however. I always look for vintage jewelry at estate sales, but don’t have the clothing. I love that coat in the slideshow with the oversize collar! Perfect fall coat and so stylish! I noticed some of the items have zippers, glad I hung on to my sweater that has zipper detail since it’s still showing up!

  2. Love the fact that your lovely blouse looks very current. Modern updates with jewellery look delightful. Did some searching in my closets and found a long-line print blouse which is close to 30 years old, worn with a short skirt to my daughter’s University graduation. I still wear it in the Fall months with slim, tapered pants – perhaps giving it a miss the odd year. Updating the clothing with accessories sure makes a difference. Thank you for all your fashion tips.

  3. As to to wearing antique or vintage clothing, apparently people were mini-me back then. Our bodies have changed. We’re taller, with longer limbs and wider frames. I simply couldn’t wear those things, even as a younger me. I do enjoy a modern twist on vintage styles from time to time.

    Shopping my own closet for such items is impossible, due to changes in my size and shape over the years.

    I’d guess your shoes are the trend? If so, I’d embrace that one. So glad the white go-go boot fad never really took off where I live. Not that I’d wear them.

    1. I have a couple of vintage items which fit like they were made for me…but I shopped and tried them and found them. They were not already in my closet. The shoes are a couple of years old. They are by Rockport and i really like them…they are different. Thanks Binky!

  4. I just bought that necklace online at chicos. Now I really can’t wait to wear it under a collar as you did. I would never have thought of that!

    1. I have worn this necklace in about three different ways…it is a great piece to layer with longer necklaces. I think you will be pleased with your purchase…love Chico’s jewelry!

  5. No matter how long you have had this blouse, it looks chic and modern to me. The top from INC in the black/lace pattern looks like a “vintage style” to me–perhaps even antique. Love it.

    Cynthia, how do you get your photo to show up on your replies. More of us should do that. I feel like I know some of you.:)

  6. You look great and have very good style instints…..but …I think that you are stuck in a style rut…and your outfits all look the same….pants and pretty tops! How about some dresses or skirts? We ladies in America are too attached to wearing pants all the time…don’t you think? Just suggesting!

    1. Ruth-I would love to wear a skirt, if I could find one that is not a pencil skirt or a maxi skirt. Hence, I wear mostly pants.

    2. It really isn’t a rut, Ruth. I wear what makes me feel confident and I write to encourage others to wear what they feel confident wearing. Over the last couple of years, I am feeling less and less confident in skirts and dresses during the summer. In the cooler weather, I can wear fun tights…but in warmer weather the legs and the shoes become more of an issue as I get older. You don’t see me modeling shorts either. So, I just feel more confident in pants. I don’t think we are too attached to pants if they are what we feel confident wearing. If you love dresses and skirts, then go for it. You will see me in a few when the cold winds blow. I hope you understand this from my perspective. It’s all about confident dressing.

  7. I think I would the blouse “classic”. Definitely a basic piece!
    Everyone needs at least one white blouse. I prefer to leave mine unbuttoned a couple of buttons to give me that V neckline. Then I add a short necklace or choker.
    I prefer to wear pants most of the time bc I can combine to make more outfits.

    1. This blouse is really a rich buttercream, not white. I have several white blouses…I think I still looking for the perfect one! Good point about combining pants to make more outfits!! Thanks Marcia.

  8. The top is wonderful and the jewelry is interesting and fun. My question might be odd, but what does one wear under a floaty semi-sheer blouse that doesn’t show thru. I’ve often shied away from these as every undergarment seems to show thru or I have layers of undergarments that spoil the floaty effect.

    1. It is not an odd question at all, Kathleen. Under this top, I am wearing a nude colored Chicos Travelers Tank which fits tight. You can’t see it at all really. You might try getting one online at Chicos for under your sheer tops. Thanks for asking.

  9. Both your blouse and the coat have classic style, so will be good to wear for a long while to come. I, too, have some blouses and sweaters from Eddie Bauer, Talbots, Ralph Lauren, Calvin and The Charter Club, when it was in The Broadway Department Store, that are well over 20 years old. My weight fluctuates 10 to 15 pounds, these days, so when it’s at the lower end, I can still wear them. The lines, styles and patterns are classic and always fashionable. Needless to say, they were some of the best money I ever spent on clothing.
    I used to hit the big department stores early in the morning, the day after Christmas to get the higher end brands on sale/clearance. As for the sweaters, the timing always worked well in SoCal, as we usually don’t get cold weather until January, sometimes later. I would drool over the fall/winter fashions, but it’s usually too warm to wear them until after the New Year. These days with the Internet, I don’t do the early bird after Christmas sales at the Malls any more. (I sort of miss it, but not the crowds.)

    1. I don’t go anymore either, Diana…and I miss it too! It was fun! I actually use to think Black Friday was fun…but I don’t do that either. Thanks so much for sharing….

  10. Love that blouse, but is it hot to wear? It looks like polyester, and usually that fabric is only good in cooler climates. I usually add vintage things in my jewelry and handbags. Otherwise, I am most comfy in black and white ensembles, or very basic neutrals with pearls, in my older age hahah

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