Tired of modern fashion? Go retro!

Like a lot of women, I admire the style icons of the past, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Betty Davies, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall (the list goes on…)

Over the years I have embraced vintage inspired fashions to varying degrees.  I feel beautiful in 50’s style dresses, reassured in a scarf or pashmina, empowered wearing red lipstick and trendy in a cinch belt.  Sadly, many people seem to have little idea on how to translate the looks of the past into modern life (a close friend believes its fancy dress clothing!), however I have noticed a trend shift.  There is a growing number of people embracing this lifestyle or just adding a touch of sophistication to their everyday wear and its people of all ages! That’s the beauty of vintage style – it’s timeless.

Perhaps it’s nostalgia.  Not long ago there was the Mad Men craze and more people started re-visiting classic movie’s and their remakes no doubt getting swept up in the femineity and curve loving fashion!

Quite often modern clothing just isn’t kind.  It prefers to pinch, compress or highlight rather than skim over area’s preferably concealed.  Fortunately, there are plenty of modern designers embracing women’s curves, you only need to know where to look and what suits you and your lifestyle.

If your new to vintage styling and not sure where to start or how to integrate it into your modern wardrobe, here’s a few staples to get you started:

  • Bobby Pins: with a simple hair twist and a strategically placed pin a quick vintage inspired hairstyle can be done in minutes.  No, it won’t be a ‘proper’ victory roll but if like me you struggle in the morning your own reproduction will still look amazing. If you need inspiration a quick google will provide you with limitless options. ​
  • Wiggle Skirt / Dress: A dress which fits you like a second skin showing all your curves to their best advantage.  One of the sexiest vintage looks!  This cut has a hem narrower than the hips, causing the wearer to walk in short strides with legs close together, producing a sway or wiggle of the hips.
  • Cardigan: A great staple for any retro look, just ensure your cardigan is slim fitting.  Perfect to wear over dresses, skirts or jeans.  I can hear you thinking ‘oh no granny cardigan’ – you couldn’t be more wrong.  There are so many fun prints, designs and embellished versions out there!
  • Swing Dress: The swing dress is usually a knee-length dress, fitted at the waist and flared so that it swings with the dancer.  For a bit of modern flare dresses can be worn with big frothy petticoats.
  • High-waisted Jeans / Shorts: These can be very high waisted by modern standards.  If your new to high-waisted pants it’s best to measure yourself carefully to ensure the right fit.
  • Accessories: Show off your personality with your favourite brooch, earrings, hair flower, cinch belt, coloured scarf.  Have fun with it!

If you prefer vintage originals over vintage inspired and don’t want to spend the earth at a speciality shop, try an OP Shop.  It’s wise to keep in mind, not all OP Shops are created equal, many local stores send vintage and designer items to designated stores where they can increase the sale price.  Look online for your nearest store if your local can’t help you. 

If your tall or over the size 16 you may struggle to find your dream pre-loved item.  Most originals are tiny but there are always gem’s to be found!  Accessories are easily picked up.  Look out for scarves, millinery, bags and other accessories.

So, whether, like me, you are tired of the unforgiving fit of modern fashion or you are just looking for a way to inject a little more old-world glamour into your life, I hope you give vintage styling a try……in your own way.

Image at top: Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall in How to Marry a Millionaire, 1953.