If you’ve ever looked at the photos of your mom as a young woman and thought how great her fashion looked, it’s quite possible there’s a retro queen hiding somewhere within you. There’s something very fresh and exciting about following the latest trends, but sometimes we just want to step back into our rich history and check out what our favorite role models used to wear when they wanted to feel stylish. Whether you embrace vintage fashion as a lifestyle or you merely want to try out a few old-school garments, it doesn’t matter. Any gal can tap into that retro vibe and pull it off with ease, and all she needs to know are a few tricks.
Eager to learn the basics and start rocking some cool outfits? Then read on.
This isn’t a hard rule and you can feel free to ignore it if you know what you’re doing, but if you’re a beginner, try sticking to one fashion decade at first. Go for 60s movie star, 70s hippie, 80s rocker chic, or pick whatever style direction you admire and copy the outfits from it. Play around a bit, try out different things, and once you feel confident, you can start mixing it up.
Bell bottoms are such an iconic garment that reminds us of the 70s and Jane Birkin, but if you’ve been following the trends, you know that the flared cut is becoming very popular right now. The Birkin style is a constant source of inspiration, and if you’re trying to capture that effortless vibe, turn to her for instructions: wide-leg jeans, knit sweaters, and the trademark straw bag slung over your arm. Leave your hair loose and a little messy and you’ll have the perfect casual outfit for the day.
Boho shirts are another popular vintage garment, but a lot of women have no idea what to pair it with to make it look really good. If you want to go full-on retro, try something unexpected: tall boots and midi skirts. This Ali MacGraw inspired outfit will look polished and interesting, and it doesn’t require much styling to make it work for anyone. Make sure your skirt has a high waist, and pick some good leather boots that reach your knees and make you feel badass.
For inspiration, turn to Aussies—they are currently enjoying deliciously hot weather (lucky!) and bathing suit fashion is thriving. Retro vibes are on the rise, and sexy one piece swimwear in Australia is giving women the opportunity to play up their curves in all the best ways. Polka dot prints and subtle décolletage are perfect for that 60s bombshell look, and if you’re going to pool party somewhere or just want to get ready for summer right now, this is a good, timeless option to pick. Bathing suits can also be combined with pants and skirts and act as a very cute form-fitting top. Why not give a little more use to the garment by wearing it with a sassy midi skirt, peep-toe heels, and flame red lipstick?
Outwear is everything in fashion. Just think about it—it’s the garment people most often see on you, and you definitely don’t want it to look dull. Luckily, you can be both warm and stylish if you pick up a good oversized coat, but you need to adopt a specific attitude to go with it, too. Simply put, you’ve got to embrace the drama and enjoy the fact that you’re utterly fabulous. Whether it’s a long, tan trench or a warm coat lined with fur, it’s all about that aura of laidback elegance. If you think oversized clothing swallows you up too much, consider cinching it in with a wide belt—it will only add to the stylishness and give you more of an hourglass shape.
Modern fashion is very much about simple, solid colors, but 50s, 60s, and 70s are all full of bright colors and fun prints. If you want to rock something that isn’t dull, then go for big geometric shapes and patterns. There’s no need to overwhelm your outfit and turn into a walking wallpaper—a silk shirt or a cool blazer are more than enough when you pair them with a simple pair of pants or an A-line skirt. Keep the accessories minimal and let the colorful pieces do all the work.
If you like that traditional female silhouette and think the 50s had the best fashion, then a fit-and-flare dress is exactly what you need. You can make it even more dramatic by investing in an underskirt to make the bottom part puff out around you. Pick cuts that hug your waist and pick fabrics in bright colors that go well with your complexion. The key to this particular decade lies in hair and makeup, so learn how to curl your hair and draw that eyeliner wing just right.
Now that you know some basics, it’s time to put your ideas into action. Go shopping or raid your mom’s closet, and enjoy this little trip into the past!