Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What Vintage Means to Me

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There is actually quite a debate on the web about the definition of vintage. It can be defined as anything that is outmoded. Others describe vintage items as once outmoded but now back in style. Still others say it means anything less than 100 years old (anything over is considered antique), while others say an item has to be more than 50 but less than 100 years old to be vintage. Aaack!

Well, as a lover of vintage things, I have my own definition. Vintage means more to me than just age. I define a vintage item as anything that is from the past that inspires feelings of nostalgia, familial connection, and/or creativity. Tada! That is my working definition for the day.

Now, the photos above and below are of a special vignette in my home that highlight several vintage (by my definition) pieces. They each inspire a memory and/or connection to a loved one. Let me tell you why...

The dresser: This dresser was picked up by my mother and grandmother at an estate sale when I was a child. They painted it green and gave it an antique finish. (They also did a bed to match.) This has served as my dresser throughout my entire lifetime. As I grew older, I decided I wanted to refinish the piece. My dad and I worked on the dresser together for hours. So many fond memories!

The jewelry box: The jewelry box was hand-crafted by my great uncle for my mother when she was a girl. She used it for many years and then passed it on to me. I cherish it greatly!

The lamp: Now the lamp is from the late 80s or early 90s. It was a Christmas gift from my grandfather on my dad's side. It was initially a grey-blue color with a brassy base and a pleated lampshade. At some point, it received a coat of creamy paint and a new lampshade from Target. Vintage? You decide!

The ballerina: The ballerina figure is actually an AVON cologne decanter. It is the last remaining piece of a collection that my grandmother started for me when I was young. I was never a dancer, but this piece was always beautiful to me in a feminine and elegant way.

The couples figures: These are not "old" by any means, but they are gifts from my husband and are very special to me. In that sense, they have a vintage feeling about them.

The mirror: The mirror is clearly vintage in age. I picked it up recently at an occasional sale in Carver, MN. It works perfectly in that spot!

So, what does vintage mean to you?


  1. What a debate to host!!

    Vintage to me is a piece of the past where the value is in the sentiment and the charm and not the monetary.

    hmmmmmmmm going back to your meaning, they sound alike!! LOL!

  2. I read your post on the Vintage Journal and went and looked up the definition of vintage. It is used to define a superior wine. Also used to denote maturity, excellence and enduring appeal. So in answer to your question....check and double check. All vintage items! Great post. Debbie

  3. I've always had a hard time with the definition of vintage, but you nailed it perfectly. Love all the pieces in your vignette, but I think the history of your dresser is my fav.

  4. I have a foolproof way to tell whether something is vintage or not. I just hold it up and ask, "Mindy, is this vintage?" ;-)

  5. Good question. I think the word is overused, and I am guilty of over-using it! I guess I think anything 70's or earlier as vintage. 80's for me is still just old junk that is out of date.

  6. Those are lovely pieces! And I love the history behind each piece.

    When I thought about vintage, I realized it could be something made in Japan or the US or England, etc., but nothing vintage was made in China. That's what vintage means to me!

    The Texas Woman

  7. Isn't David funny? As for me, I think of vintage as an age. But, I'm not sure what age. Maybe anything older than I am is vintage. Yup. I think that is my rule. Older than me = vintage.

    The jewelry box and the dresser are absolutely, wonderfully awesome. The stories behind them? Priceless.

    I love this post and the pictures and the memories. Thank you for sharing. ~Mindy

  8. Nice memories for you, Amy. To me, vintage is just a time period. 70's vintage, 40's vintage...even 80's vintage. I can't really go with the "anything over 100 years old is antique" idea. Let's face it, "antiques" from the 1980's will never compare to what is considered antiques today.


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