How to wear vintage clothing


There’s something about the quality, elegance and classic sophistication of a well-made vintage piece that’s impossible to replicate today. With thrift stores growing every year and making billions in the US, vintage has become a fashion staple in its own right. However, it can be difficult to make vintage garments look fashionable and on-trend. If you’re struggling to look chic in your latest thrift-store find, then here are some tips that’ll have you looking effortlessly timeless.

  1. Pick things that still look good

Some trends are unsalvageable – those nylon dresses from the 1970’s with the wide lapels would need some serious work to be saved in a current wardrobe, and neon power suits rarely look good. Yet, so much of today’s fashion is descended from the hot trends of the past – think pencil skirts, 50’s swing dresses, flowy floral prints, old denim, and tweed coats. Tweak them with a few influences of today’s generation, and you’re in style.

  1. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise.

Keeping your accessory game on point will make your vintage clothes look polished and deliberate. Add a touch of classic luxury to your outfit – try to emulate the classy traditional style of Cartier watch (just don’t spend all your money on one!) or a black clutch, as it will keep your outfit chic and timeless. Match your shoes and bag to a key color in your dress to look put-together, and limit your accessories to one statement piece.

  1. Keep hair and makeup current

Unless you’re going for a precise rockabilly look, take inspiration for your hairstyle and make-up from the gurus of fashion to make your vintage look current. A smoky eye can modernize a wool coat, and a slick bun will offset the busy florals of a ‘70’s blouse. Try and keep it simple, and your clothes will shine. You don’t want to look like you’re trying to wear a costume and attending a costume party.

  1. Mix it up.

Integrating vintage clothing into your current wardrobe is a great way to tap into separate eras. Pair Edwardian blouses with tailored pants for work, or floaty chiffon shirts with high-waisted shorts and colored leggings to truly stand out. Cute 1960’s A-line dresses work well underneath structured blazers and jackets, or a soft cardigan for Sunday brunch. For the ultimate classic look, an old-Hollywood gown (think Audrey Hepburn circa Breakfast at Tiffany’s) paired with on-trend pumps will look luxe and fashionable. Watching old Hollywood movies can prove inspirational.

  1. Work it around one piece

It’s easy to go overboard with the vintage look and try to ‘match’ your outfit. However, the rest of your clothes don’t have to compete with your retro find. Remember, it’s about looking classic, not busy. Keep your outfit luxe by playing down your other garments and accessories and let the vintage piece stand out. If you’ve bought a suit or two-piece, then split them up – this keeps your clothes modern and tasteful, plus gives you a lot more flexibility when it comes to styling what’s in your closet!

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