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When the old meets the new: how to wear vintage in the 21st Century

vintage style dresses UK

With vintage and retro clothing from each and every ear proving more popular than ever before, there’s no exact science to getting it right – and to wearing it right. But, let’s be honest, you can get it wrong; indeed, you could throw on a number of things from yesteryear and look like you’re on your way to a costume party. So, what can you do to make sure you’re on the right path? What tips should you try to follow to look chic and cool as well as retro and old-school…?

Accessorise at first

Kicking things off in a simple way is probably a good idea. How to do that best? Well, nothing beats starting small – and that means supplementing a modern outfit with vintage accessories. An age-old favourite fashion practice, for sure; but one that rarely fails. For instance, minimal effort and maximum effect in this way can be achieved by throwing on a simple white t-shirt with blue jeans and a stylish, attention-grabbing belt from back in the day. Moreover, if you’re on a budget, accessories can be a handy way to get into the world of vintage/ retro fashion by not making costly mistakes – belts, brooches, bangles, necklaces, hats and scarves aren’t shouldn’t cost you the earth.

Look to today’s trends

Lacking the confidence to trust your instincts fully and throw together an outfit from vintage items alone or vintage mixed with modern? You can find a middle ground between going for broke and the dull safe option of just going modern by letting today’s designer and media trendsetters guide you through what’ll look hot from among vintage/ retro pieces. Sounds unlikely? Don’t doubt it; what goes around comes around in fashion – it always has done; always will do. The vast majority of designers nowadays look back for influence and inspiration in looking forward, thus you may find it easier than you expect to match current trends with pieces from yesteryear.

vintage style dresses UK

Mix it up by mixing it together

Once you’ve mastered looking urgent and current via vintage/ retro items, you can push further by mixing and matching old garments with their latest counterparts. Thanks to recycled trends, it’s – again – relatively easy to create an outfit by throwing together high-street clothes with those picked up from an online or shop-based vintage/ retro retailer, so long as you put some thought and care into it. For instance, how about combining an Edwardian blouse with a modern miniskirt? Or one of those classic ’50s-style vintage dresses with a plain t-shirt (or even a graphic-featuring one for a little more fun flair)? Plus, you can apply your accessorising skills – covered above – here; match not just clothes together but vintage and modern necklaces, brooches and scarves with your togs. The possibilities – so long as it looks good – are endless.

Build an outfit around a ‘statement item’

Touching on the last point above, how about picking out a single excellent vintage item and creating an entire outfit around it; make that item the stylish, flashy statement-making centrepiece and supplement it with current ‘lesser’ pieces and modern accessories? The trick here is about finding and blending together things that don’t offset but complement one another. For example, modern accessories will doubtless work well with one of those boho-bold vintage style dresses UK so long as they’re fairly basic and understated.

Embrace different eras

As mentioned, clothes designers aren’t afraid to draw their inspiration from the entire history of fashion, so why shouldn’t you? Again, so long as you deploy thought and care, why not mix together items through different decades? Granted; it may take some time to get this exactly right – and it’ll probably require the sort of confidence that comes with an (ahem) vintage veteran. But there’s no reason to think you won’t get there and aren’t capable of doing it. After all, just imagine popping out for cocktails in a 1950s- or ’40s-style dress with a classic clutch or retro handbag and completing the outfit with a stylish coat from the ’60s or ’70s on top? In the land of vintage, the world can be your oyster!


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