Let’s admit it, we all look up to retro fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Marilyn Monroe, whose sense of style undeniably changed fashion trends for decades to come. However, if you’re wondering how you could look retro yet luxurious with modern clothing, you’ve come to the right place. This blog will give you the top nine styling techniques and elements to incorporate while dressing retro and maybe get some heads turning when you walk into a room.
What is Retro Fashion?
The word retro is derived from the Latin prefix retro, which means backward. In France, the word was first used to refer to fashion from previous decades. Retro fashion essentially means the imitation of a style or a trend inspired from older decades, which means you can choose any era and add in your personal style to stand out. The following section will explain key steps to take to look retro without overdoing it.
Step 1: Subtlety
Subtlety while dressing up is essential. This is to avoid looking like you’re invited to a costume party. Dressing up subtle translates to wearing clothing items from an older decade and pairing it with clothing items of the current era. For instance, if you own a plaid, spaghetti strap dress, pair it with a basic white or black color t-shirt and some sneakers or cute sandals for a more modern look. And to tie everything together, do not forget a modern hairstyle to look your best.
This entire look could have definitely ended up with you looking like an extra from That ’70s show had you instead paired the dress with a bandana, bell bottoms, and hemp choker, with puffed-up hair.
Step 2: Adding A Touch Of Your Personal Style
Dressing up is always fun, especially if you know what to wear. Plus, mixing and matching your wardrobe is an instant confidence booster. You can make a statement yet look luxurious with a few simple tweaks and additions.
For instance, handmade, custom jewelry is a great way to add more character to your style. Play around with textures and colors, layer up trendy necklaces or bracelets. You can also play around with layering your clothing items. For instance, pair up your favorite denim jeans and white t-shirt with a retro trench coat. Mixing and matching different styles to your preference will make your wardrobe more personal.
Step 3: High-Quality Vintage Shopping
When shopping for vintage clothing, it’s essential to go for high-quality, original items that would last you a considerably long time. Additionally, while vintage shopping, choose clothes that will complement your body shape and allow you to express your individuality and creativity while looking chic. For instance, if you own a retro-looking graphic tee, pair it with some basic white sneakers, ripped denim jeans, and layer it with a leather jacket for a finished look. You’re bound to get compliments from your friends and family if you style this perfectly.
Step 4: Denim Dreaming
You can never go wrong with denim shirts, jackets, and jeans. No wonder acid-washed denim was widely popular in the 70s and 80s and is still worn by many. Retro jeans come in all shapes and sizes; high-waisted jeans, slim-fitting, boyfriend jeans, loose, flared, and bell-bottoms. If you don’t have acid-wash jeans, you can simply DIY them at home as well. All you need is some bleach, your chosen denim jeans or jacket, and a bunch of rubber bands. For a classic retro look, pair your embellished bell-bottoms with an off-shoulder top or a bodysuit, and some low, colorful clogs will do the trick.
Step 5: Printed Skirts And Dresses
Printed colorful fabric was popular back in the day; patterns like stripes, florals, plaids, gingham, and polka dots were worn by many. Hence, when it comes to skirts, they are the most feminine and elegant clothing item bound to flatter anyone. They’re a perfect choice if you’re going for a casual vintage look. There are several ways you can pair up with printed skirts for a sexy vintage-inspired look.
For instance, pair your polka dot skirt with a white, buttoned-down dress shirt, some dainty jewelry, and black pointy heels that will tie everything together. And, of course, for a modern twist, a simple hairdo will give a chic final look.
For dresses, the same concept applies. If you own any classic retro gingham or floral-patterned dresses, style them with basic-colored heels or wedges, a straw hat bow hat, and a minimal clutch to complete the look and get some heads turning.
Step 6: Blouses For Days
Blouses are the most versatile pieces of clothing which can be styled with anything and everything. Plus, there are so many different styles – lace blouse, colored blouse, pleated blouse, sheer blouse, sweetheart blouse, high neck blouses, and so much more. So, you can mix and match your retro and vintage-looking blouses in all sorts of ways.
For instance, pair your buttoned-up blouse with a belted skirt and some simple white sneakers. Then, to bring out the retro look, tie a scarf around your neck, get some pretty shades and style your hair in a half ponytail. This look will instantly make you feel like you are Audrey Hepburn from Roman holiday.
Step 7: Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize
It cannot be emphasized enough; jewelry makes all the difference. Your dress can go from 7 out of ten to 11 out of 10 if you accessorize smartly.
Layer up your necklaces when wearing high necks or low-cut dresses. Wear bracelets if you’re wearing short sleeves and a classy watch if you’re wearing full sleeves. With casual dresses or when your hair is tied, wear your ear hoops confidently. Wear dainty studs with skirts and dresses. The world is your oyster when it comes to accessories.
Bring out the vintage yet chic look by pairing your dresses with sunglasses, scarves, clutches, handbags, and hats. You can even go a bit bold and go for a faux collar scarf at a formal party.
Step 8: Makeup
Red lipstick and winged eyeliner are classic retro styles that will remain timeless. However, not many people know this, but makeup either makes your entire look or breaks it. And for our retro look, we’re aiming for the former. So if you’re dressing up for formal events or an evening get-together, go for a bolder look: red lipstick, winged eyeliner, or shimmery eyeshadows. Just don’t overdo it. However, if you’re going out for a morning or an afternoon walk, light, nude colors contrasted with your dress color will look perfect.
Step 9: A Hairstyle Just For You
We are all aware that hair ties an entire look together. Therefore, there isn’t any “correct” hairstyle to choose from. However, some tips to follow; don’t go for over puffed hairdos and choose a hairstyle that matches your face shape. You can add a bow, hair ornament, bandana, or even a fabric hairband for a roaring vintage look. Hairstyles that you can go for can range from straight hair to beachy waves, loose curls to tight curls, high ponytails, to halfway ponytails. It all depends on your mood and the look you’re going for that day.
We hope all these retro styling tips will help you decide what to wear next time. However, In 2021 we believe life is too short to fret over clothes and dressing. What matters is whatever you choose to wear should make you feel comfortable and confident because there’s nothing sexier than a confident woman with a beaming smile! And as Al Roker eloquently quotes,
‘Always be yourself. At the end of the day, that’s all you’ve really got; when you strip everything down, that’s all you’ve got, so always be yourself.’