When ‘Vintage’ Isn’t Really ‘Vintage’

Posted in Daily Outfits, Second Hand Shopping.

Yesterday’s charity shop jaunt unearthed some real gems – a snakeskin record case, a velvet maxi skirt and two pieces that could be described as ‘vintage’, but aren’t really…

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Silk blouse, knitted cardigan and leather shoes via charity shop, Next jeans, ASOS necklace, Primark ring

The cream cardigan and strappy leather shoes I’m wearing here were two of yesterday’s best finds. Cute, wearable pieces that mix well with my wardrobe and are practical for everyday outfits. By looking at the labels and style of these pieces, I estimate they’re early 90s, which by some definitions makes them ‘vintage’. Sadly, 90s ‘vintage’ has none of the retro charm or impressive background as a 60s shift dress or 50s circle skirt. In fact, referring to your 1992 Nirvana t-shirt as ‘vintage’ may get you a few snorts of derision among die-hard vintage fans.

90s clothing can also be hard to style – it’s not old enough to create that specific vintage look, and most pieces aren’t iconic enough to be recognisable as from a particular era. So you end up looking slightly outdated, like a 26-year-old wearing her wardrobe from 15 years ago. What to do?

I really wanted to wear these leather shoes today – it’s Easter, and I wanted a springy, fresh look. The silk blouse is an old favourite of mine and the floral print is perfect for this time of year, while the cream cardigan added much-needed warmth on a decidedly dull day. If I’d gone for faded bootcuts we’d have a serious case of the unstylish on our hands, but skinny coloured jeans and bold accessories give the look a modern edge (or so I hope). I’ve already written about ways to make old clothes more modern – it’s just a case of mixing them with current pieces.

What do you think – would you class the 90s as ‘vintage’? Is there anything in your wardrobe from this (let’s face it, amazing) decade?

PS – Yes, I’ve had my hair done. Yes, it’s too dark. Yes, I’m washing it three times a day with the harshest shampoo to try fade it. Sad times.



I’m not a fan of the “Vintage” term being thrown around referring to 90’s stuff. I hate it when Vintage shops have rails with old Primark or Topshop stuff on. I’m kinda biased I guess cos I have my own online vintage shop. Maybe we need a new term for 90’s stuff like Classic? Or Oldish?? ha ha


90’s feels far too recent to be vintage – I don’t really like things from the 80’s being called vintage because then I feel incredibly old!

(p.s. Its probably very bad for your hair, but washing up liquid did help fade my red quicker…and left it lemony fresh.)

Charlotte {Charlotte's Web}

technically, I think of vintage as way older than the 90’s.. but then there are times when I’d refer to 90’s as vintage – its just a nice and easy umbrella term for things that aren’t in fashion but still look cool.

Easier than explaining why you’re still wearing a band t-shirt from 92 anyway..


Yeah I’d probably call 80s and 90s retro, being that I was around then and vintage seems like it should be older than me! 🙂


I’m always looking on ebay for 90s stuff. got an awesome black and sheer maxi from america which I love.

Although I do think people have taken the 90s trend too far – wearing too many things at once.


Ah I really love your hair treacle! But if you use head & shoulders, it’s great for removing colour.

I don’t mind if vintage isn’t really vintage, so long as it isn’t someone passing primarni off as vintage on ebay. That sucks when that happens!

Happy Easter 😀


I don’t know if I count anything from the years I have been alive as vintage, so no to the 80’s or 90’s!Not yet, anyway! I don’t mind things that look vintage if they’re not just as long as I haven’t been conned into paying too much for them!
I do still own a few things from the 90’s! I’m still pretty much the same size as I was as a teenager so I have quite a few long evening dresses (being a musician, I have lots!) and a couple of jumpers and cardies!


I like the new hair. I don’t think I’d count anything as vintage if I remember it from the first time around! I’m 24 so maybe early 90s would be vintage to me but if skater jeans ever come back (and hopefully they won’t) then I’ll be feeling far too old to even worry about whether I class them as vintage or not! x

Velvet Blanc

I personally love your hair! I don’t think it’s too dark at all. As for whether or not 90s should be called vintage I couldn’t really say, I don’t know much about vintage. Not sure whether or not this applies to clothes but I heard that vintage is meant to be at least 50 years old and antique is at least 100 years old.



City Girl's Fashion Box

Great post Jen (nd once again loving your coloured jeans!!) theres nothing more cringe than a girl stuck in the 90’s clothing (by choice not accident – a look i see around my area far too much ;)) but you look fab. Your posts always hit the nail on the head xxx


cute outfit, a perfect one for easter weekend. your hair looks good in fact!



I run a vintage business, while I initially wasn’t keen on classing early 90’s stuff as vintage it is SO in demand that I have caved – it’s selling better than 80’s or 70’s stuff at the moment, and is much more affordable than 60’s and 50’s stuff which is why it is so popular. Anyway, to our younger customers, who are in their teens, they were only babies when this stuff was in the first time around, so to them it is a whole new look. I’m not a fan of the strict rules laid out by the ‘vintage police’ anyway, I’m a firm believer that vintage should be about creating individual looks and having fun, while reusing existing clothes – the rigid rules take all the fun out of it! Just wear what you like, who cares when it dates from!


I think the hair looks good, but I love the strong tone ombre look. Very Drew Barrymore.
Washing up liquid can help fade, just make sure you intense condition after.


hi, to help ur hair fade out use head & shoulders! any hairdresser will tell u the same thing it strips colour really well, i dye my hair all the time & had complained to my hair dresser that the colour faded so quickly, she pointed out the head & shoulders thing (cuz i like my colour ive stopped using it, but when i dye it wrong i always use h&s to help rectify it) hope this helps u 🙂


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