Do you know your vintage from your retro?

Do you know your vintage from your retro?

Do you know your vintage from your retro? This Willow & Eve & glossary of terms may help!

At Willow & Eve we ask that items are four years or less. It isn’t that we want to be completely trend led, although key on trend items are important to have in our shop; we want to have clothes that are current and still ‘relevant’. To us that means they don’t show their age and customers still want to purchase those wardrobe staples which are key to building a great outfit. Items can show their age by the smallest detail; button shape or material, collar width or style, even certain prints can age an item.

Occasionally we will consign stock older than four years because they are considered to be a classic; a Burberry trench for example. However, we usually say no to vintage or retro pieces because they don’t fit with the brand image we’ve built up or what our customers expect from Willow & Eve.

Whilst we’d love to say yes to every item of clothing worthy of being re-loved it’s just not feasible. It’s always better to search for other retailers that specialise in vintage or retro designs because they’ll have built up a loyal customer following. With that in mind we’ve put together a helpful glossary of terms that we use when viewing and consigning items.

Antique- Fashion items that are considered antique are 100 years old or older. These may be of interest to museums or collectors as they have historical value.

Current- Current means ‘belonging to the present time or happening now’. Willow & Eve do well with ‘current’ stock which is why we prefer to consign items 4 years or less.

Classic- Classic refers to timeless pieces, established over a long period of time or that stand the test of time, like a camel coat or white shirt. The Chanel 2.55 bag is considered a classic handbag; a style created by Coco Chanel in 1955!

Fashion trend (On trend)- A fashion trend is something that is popular with many during a specific fashion season e.g. it was on trend for the AW20 season. Once a trend, which could be a colour, pattern or style, has been adopted by many over a season( 6 months) it usually sees a decline in popularity and can be considered ‘out of fashion'.

Reproduction- Reproduction clothing are copies of older, antique or vintage items. They are not original and don’t have historical value.

Retro- Retro (short for retrospective) are styles that are actually new but are ‘vintage inspired’, copied or adapted from earlier time periods. Willow & Eve took in ‘retro’ items to sell for the Goodwood Revival.

Specialist- We sometimes get asked if we take in bridalwear or bridesmaids dresses and have had dance or show costumes bought in too. We refer to these items as specialist and unfortunately don’t have the capacity to consign these items. We have consigned and sold prom (promenade dance) dresses because of our location and links with schools in the area.

Vintage- Vintage literally means ‘Of Age’ and refers to clothing that is between 20 and 100 years old, usually with specific styling and recognisable to the era in which they were made.

We hope this guide will help you decide on the items you bring in for us to consign, as well as giving you a greater understanding of the terms we may use when we have to refer you elsewhere. As always we are here to achieve a win, win for you, our clients, and all our lovely customers as well as us, the business owners, which is why we want to be as transparent as possible. You can email us at if you have any further queries.

Karen Skagerlind