This time a year ago, I would never have given wearing vintage clothes a second thought.
I had long been stuck in a t-shirt and jeans rut and I knew I wanted a change, but nothing about knowing how to style an outfit comes naturally to me. Thankfully, this was around the time Pinterest began to fill our lives with so much inspiration (and envy!) that overhauling my wardrobe suddenly became much more accessible – even to a non-fashionista like me.
I soon discovered the world of collecting and wearing vintage clothing, and I immediately loved everything about it! In the same way that I love older homes, I love clothes from decades gone by because they offer a sense of character, history, and style that is hard to find on the racks at the mall. However, it soon became obvious that unless I wanted to look like I had walked off the set of That 70s Show, I was going to have to step up my styling!
Today, I want to share some tips I’ve picked up along the way. I’m aware that some readers of Simple Design are far more qualified than I am to speak to this, so consider this a beginner’s guide – from one beginner to another.
1. Collect Inspiration
For some people, styling clothing of any era is a natural-born talent. I am not one of those people, so I rely heavily on inspiration from others to figure out what looks right and what does not.
If you are starting to dip your toes into the polyester pool of vintage clothing, it’s really helpful to collect visual inspiration. Pinterest, of course, can be great for this. Unfortunately, I’ve found that the Pinterest app on my phone is a little bit unreliable when I am out shopping, so I keep a couple of notes on Evernote filled only with pictures of people wearing vintage looks that resonate with me. I can pull those up far more easily on the Evernote app, and it’s incredibly helpful to have that visual reminder.
2. Mix One Vintage Piece with One Modern Piece
Wearing a vintage piece of clothing along with at least one modern piece is the ultimate easiest way to begin wearing vintage!
Veronika of Tick Tock Vintage does this incredibly well and the end result gives her a unique style that is fresh and modern, but at the same time, has an unmistakable vintage flair:
3. Incorporate On-Trend Accessories
Sometimes, particularly when wearing a vintage dress or other head-to-toe vintage look, all you need is one bold accessory to immediately update the look.
Here, Kendi of Kendi Everyday adds a wide belt from Anthropologie to a vintage dress:
Elsie of A Beautiful Mess is another champion of styling vintage clothes. Wearing bold, modern striped tights with a floral print vintage dress creates a powerful statement:
For a more understated approach, consider how Rachel of the Etsy shop Eleven TwentyEight styled this 70s sundress by drawing on a current trend – the statement necklace:
4. Pair Vintage Styling with Modern Clothes
Perhaps you aren’t quite ready to begin filling your wardrobe with vintage pieces from days gone by. That doesn’t mean you have to sit out the vintage trend altogether!
Inspiration abounds for ways to create a vintage look without darkening the door of a thrift shop.
Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky added a handmade crown of flowers to her bcbg dress and created a breezy Flower Child look:
With her center-parted straight hair and denim + denim top and bottom, The Styling Dutchman Annebeth pulls off “laid-back seventies elegance” with completely modern pieces:
Finally, a vintage-inspired dress from a currently-popular clothing line paired with a sweet scarf evokes a darling vintage look for Tieka of Selective Potential:
As you can see, there are lots of ways to be imaginative and creative while trying to find your vintage-wearing groove. By focusing on a modern look, incorporating vintage looks into your fashion vernacular will help you feel less costume-y and more timeless!
What challenges have you overcome and what victories have you experienced in styling vintage looks for yourself? Who or what inspires you to blend the vintage and modern to create classic looks?