Hot Trends in Retro 2020

Updated: 11 minutes ago

Can you believe this year is half over? Two quarters in the books. And what a surreal, bizarre, and perhaps terrifying, 2 quarters they have been. I can not recall a time in my 49 years of such uncertainty but that is just me. We all have such different life experiences and perspectives. You may be able to look back and assess some time, personal to you, that was “worse” or “scarier.” I will not speak for you; I just get that it is all where you, as an individual, are coming from. Let us embrace all our differences and individualism. It is what makes us unique and so damned interesting. Its why we can make a reality show out of anything or anyone. Seriously.

So, what am I going to do with today’s post? Not talk about anything political, sociologically charged, or divisive at all. I am going to talk about The Hot Retro Trends of 2020 to date. After all, when you think, of today’s fashion Icons and those “in the know” with their fingers on the pulse of style trends and fashion, you think of me, right? The Josh-o-nista of Fashion & Culture.


Okay, of course you do not, but you do know I love following resale and auction trends. What is happening there is my thing. So that is what I have for you today. A softball, guilty pleasure of a list, with a few tips & trends for the reseller and the downsizer. I know, I know…. some of you just went boring, boring…. but I do try to make it interesting for everyone. So, if you are not busy, read on.


You may think with all the economic turmoil and quarantining going on, there’s no buying trends to follow but au contraire mon frère, or just the opposite. We are shopping online with reckless abandon. Look at Amazon and eBay Stock. Got to fill the void in our life somehow. Better than booze and in some cases, decorating your life, home and getting projects done around the house is not a bad way to pass the time. After all, you have seen everything on Netflix & Hulu.

So, three paragraphs in and finally. Let’s go there. What are you buying in this Retro Vintage & Resale World? You are into a lot. Ready for a list? Of course, you are.


Industrial Style Lighting

You are seeing it everywhere and from what I hear, it’s expected to be around for a while. I love the look, but again, my taste has never started a trend. Other wise Iron Maiden would be playing the Super Bowl halftime show. But seriously, you see it everywhere. The Edison Style Lights, hanging chords, pulleys, brushed metals….it is all so very Steampunk. Either the real deal, repurposed or DIY “made safe” stuff, your buying options are unlimited now. Especially with all the reproductions. Think Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and West Elm. Many of which are actual works of fantasy based on the old stuff, but never really existed originally.


It is just cool to see for me because it makes people think about repurposed & recycle and truly hunger for the real deal. But there are options for those that cannot afford that with the reproductions too.


Vintage Barware

This is most likely for several reasons. Think Madmen. If you are going to drink, look cool doing it. Don Draper personifies cool to many, serious character flaws aside. I also believe people are entertaining more at home versus going out. And yeah, I am not out of touch. You are not going out because you can’t and not entertaining on the grid, but just watching a story about Zoom Cocktail Parties, the people had cool old tumblers, cocktail shakers etc. Again, back to my, “look cool doing it.”



Old Time Holiday

This one surprised me, but I have seen it, quite recently, in auction world and in the 4th quarter of last year. Perhaps it is a Norman Rockwell nostalgia, return to a simpler time, or just the trend circle. Everything comes back into style. Everything. But this look is fun and if you don’t get the warm and fuzzies for something Christmassy, there’s something wrong with you.


Perhaps you were caught in a Walmart Stampede and you have PTSD. So, not you. But who does not like or long for a season where everyone might just be a bit nicer to each other? So warm hot chocolate hugs to you all. It is July in AZ, right…perhaps I am having heat stroke. Next….


Primitive Accents

You are seeing this everywhere too. Those Barn Doors, reclaimed wood pieces, Cutting Boards, etc. A little bit of the old farmhouse nostalgia coming in doors. See a theme here? But let us talk anti-primitive farmhouse, though you will see these pieces accenting the next trend too.


Mid-Century Modern

I say 2020 trend here, but Mid Mod has been hot for quite some time now and does not look like it is going anywhere. Danish Modern, Urban Chic, and anything you can name drop. Sometimes it is a cross over with all the above like Nakashima and Paul Evans, but it all can and does comingle in the new designers you are seeing. Did you catch me name drop too? I love when someone gives you a tour of their home and talks about the pieces by the designer’s names. Its hard not to chuckle. I see, cool chair and the see and say that my Le Corbusier LC4. Is it from the starship enterprise?


However, it is important to note, as I often preach to my picker friends and followers on my YouTube Channel; it is all in a name. Because it is when you are reselling. It is knowing that important key word that these people are hunting for online and a google search of “cool chair” will not assist you in selling or the buyers finding your Arne Jacobson 1958 Egg Chair.


Anyway, you get me, and I am hitting a more recent trend that is making people in the resale world, a little happier. Most are kind of grumpy if you have not noticed.


Period Art

Contemporary and Modern have ruled for over a decade now and period pieces, unless by a listed master, have been on the decline. Most blamed the millennials not digging it. I think I have blamed them several times, but I know when to apologize. You like what you like and when you like it. Styles and tastes change. Sushi! But I have heard it is the new design trend, to have that piece STOP YOU. And what I mean is stop your eye from darting around a room and focus, or take a moment. A conversation piece or conversation starter. It’s used in marketing all the time so now use it in your design.


So picture an 19th Century English Oil Landscape in an ultra-modern mid mod house with a few lights on it. It is now a focal point and really “stops you” or grabs the viewers attention. Sure, they might go, “What’s up with the Ugly Old Painting dude.” But then you know they have no taste and can ask them to kindly leave. It also works for that too. Amazing.



Whatever it is, it is a hot trend and driving up prices in 2020 which is nice. Its great to see people appreciate a 150+ year old painting again. It was getting bleak there for a while. A no name (unlisted artist) 19th Century Oil could be picked up for $100-200 at auction now you are seeing 300-400 and more on its merits, not its name. And I love that. Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.”


Signed Costume Jewelry

Now Costume Jewelry is like that stop sign, conversation piece for your body, or outfit. Names do seem to really matter here. There are cool 1950s-60s unsigned deals around with a similar look but the “big names” are trending nicely in 2020. Carnegie, Haskell, Weiss, Eisenberg…. wait, is this a commercial for law firm? Okay, no…. Coro, Trifari, Art, Lisner, Napier, Boucher, Florenza, Kramer, Schreiner, Van Dell, Whiting & Davis, Bogoff….and those are off the top of my head. And sorry Avon…. you are in the Beanie Baby Category. No one wants you. Just teasing.


But let’s go, my kind of retro.


1980's Toys

I love toys. Who doesn’t? Well maybe someone that grew up with an abuse sibling that beat you with Mattel Hot Wheel Racetracks or, that wonderful “Orange Whip Toy.” But otherwise, 80s toys are HOT! He Man, Transformers, Legos, Star Wars, The Video Games Systems and so much more. Thundercat’s Ho! And do not get me going on Voltron and Shogun Warriors. Yeah…you get it. I am getting excited just typing / riffing about them so I can easily see those consumer dollars flowing. At least for those with disposable income and the collector gene.


These next one was an odd ball for me.


Antique Ironstone


I didn’t see this trend until I was told about it. I know decorators like it, as it is typically a crisp bright white, with clean lines and can go with any décor. Plus, it is utilitarian. If you are surprised as me, google Antique Ironstone Cake Stand. Wow! That’s some big money which means theirs demand! I wonder how many I have passed by in auction box lots over the years, never giving them a second glance. See, you cannot know everything. I sure do not, but you can always learn something new, and make a buck or two. That should be my new slogan. I just wrote it down.


"Asian Style" Chinoiseries


This has been an accent style in decorating, on and off, since the 17th Century. There has always been a fascination with the Far East, and it appears 2020 is showing a surge of interest once again. It seems to come back in vogue every decade or 2. I have heard it called “fantastical and whimsical” which is just fun to say. I just know its unmistakable influence appears in furnishings & decorative accessories often.


Overall, the hunger for specifically Chinese Antiques, especially as of late, is reflected in the crazy auction results featured on my hit YouTube Show Last Week at the Auction. I have to say, almost every week. I think its going to be here for a long time too. The Chinese are now serious players in the global market & this new generation has disposable income and hunger to reconnect to their past. This drives demand and prices.

Well, what else can I say. I hope this was just what you needed to read today. Something fun and light and will not keep you up at night. Very rhymie today. Pretty sure that is not a word either.

Please stay safe out there my friends. And don’t forget…if you like the sort of thing, I got plenty more posts where this came from and my Audio Book Why Don’t you Want My Stuff is a great continuation of just this kind of thing. Check Out a Free Audio Sample and may just be a great $5 investment in your entertainment library.

I think you can still get it for Free with a subscription to Audible as well. That is the end of my sales pitch. Until next time…



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