Styles have a funny way of coming back in an endless cycle that is continuously repeating history. It seems that every five or ten years, our parents laugh at the fact that the things they wore as teenagers are popular again by the time their kids are teenagers. The cycle continues until we grow up and recognize those patterns ourselves.
Fashion trends typically take about fifteen to twenty years to resurface. When they do, the clothes from that era are in high demand. So, how do we define what we're looking for to identify and predict new trends more accurately?
Well, fashion terminology gets thrown around quite a bit, and sometimes the real definitions get lost after time. Let's look at the two most commonly interchanged words that are technically distinct from one another—retro and vintage.
What Is Retro?
Retro style refers to clothing, accessories, or belongings that appear to be from a particular era—specifically, the 1950s through the 1990s. Rarely is anything before 1950 a "retro" item as that decade was a turning point in fashion. It is most common to consider the specific styles from the 1950s as "retro," though it is not necessarily limited to that decade.
The word can also refer to aesthetics besides clothing. Hairstyles, home décor, and even cars can all be retro. It refers to belonging to a specific period—that of the last half of the twentieth century—instead of being strictly apparel-related.
What Is Vintage?
Meanwhile, vintage style is its own category entirely. This particular term refers to the clothing or item's age, regardless of its style. That age is usually between 20 years old and 100 years old.
The term most commonly refers to clothing or belongings on the older end of the spectrum, but that is not necessarily a must. Even a knick-knack from a mere two decades ago can still be vintage.
Identifying vintage items can be challenging but doable. For one, what's the style? Is it one that you could recognize at your favorite clothing store? Does it have a tag?
Many brands go through several logos throughout the years and may date themselves using the tag. If the item doesn't have a tag, there is a good chance its manufacture was before 1971.
The Differences Between Retro and Vintage
As you might have noticed, there is still some overlap in what counts as "retro" vs. "vintage" wear. A denim jacket from the 1990s can be both retro and vintage. So can a poodle skirt from your grandmother's closet that she wore in 1953 as can a fringe vest from 1979 can be both as well.
So, where do they differ?
Style of the Piece vs. Age of the Piece Itself
Here's the most significant difference: retro items don't necessarily have to be old. It is perfectly acceptable—even expected—for retro style to be new and only reminiscent of an era before our time instead of belonging to it.
Vintage items, however, must be from a specific historical period. The word implies the object itself is between 20 years old and 100 years old—it doesn't just seem old.
Much of the appeal of vintage pieces is because their aesthetic is reflective of the times.
"Vintage" has a slightly longer lifespan than "retro." Retro pieces typically don't date back before 1950, whereas vintage items can be 100 years old. Indeed, while vintage belongings refer to being from "an older time," retro items refer to the second half of the twentieth century.
The second world war changed a significant amount of society forever, and fashion was part of that. The early stages of clothing manufactured on a large scale earned up the styles of the 1950s and 1960s, which we now categorize as the beginning of the "retro" era.
Tangible Item vs. Concept
If something is vintage, you can hold onto it, display it, or wear it. It is a tangible object. Ideals are not necessarily "vintage." However, retro can be both a tangible thing as well as a concept.
This distinction could be because of how "retro" relates to the period of the late twentieth century, while "vintage" relates to the novelty of well-loved, worn items.
For instance, Victory curls are often "retro" and not "vintage," since it's a hairstyle. Old cars are another excellent example of retro items that aren't clothing.
Cars shows and gatherings where people show off beautiful, well-maintained cars from the 1950s and 1960s are examples where the aesthetics of the time continue to appeal to modern drivers. The cars' stylization speaks to the time, but the parts used in maintenance may or may not be of that period.
Indeed, entire locations can be a great example of what counts as "retro," such as old school diners and drive-in movie theatres.
Vintage and retro style are two separate concepts that have become conflated in recent history, and that can cause confusion when you're looking for something specific.
So many fashion enthusiasts like to spend their time thrifting, but that makes it critical to know the difference between the terms "retro" and "vintage"—especially if you're shopping online, as these two words could yield very contrasting results.
For example, if you're looking for recently-made clothing in a style that appears 20 years old, you're looking for something retro. On the other hand, if you are looking for a slip from the 1930s, you're looking for something vintage.
These two categories have numerous similarities and differences, and both vintage and retro items can offer fresh, new styles with the ideals of the past. Styles from many years ago will never become outdated so long as there are new generations to don them.
The 1920s were a period of lavish parties and bold fashion to match. This time in fashion history began exactly 100 years ago. But why does fashion from a century ago impact our wardrobe today?
Well, the 1920’s created some of the most iconic looks of all time. Integrating elements from this period into your modern hairstyle, makeup, and accessories is still a showstopping way to make a statement.
Put away those 70s shades and dump those 90s blue jeans. Add complexity to your style with these unique roaring twenties fashion hacks!
The History of Roaring Twenties Fashion
In the 20th century, women’s fashion exploded with new ideas, fresh looks, and bold confidence for women as fashion icons. With the art deco movement and the distribution of fashion magazines, new ideas sprung up in hubs like Paris and New York. Art deco made its way to coastal cities like Miami, and even small towns and suburban homes globally.
Top designers like Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel popularized art deco cigarette cases and compacts. Every fashion-forward woman wanted their look to match that of the women in the 1920s fashion magazines. That meant an overall mindset change across the globe toward high-end art deco fashion that hadn’t been seen before.
Some of the most popular ideas included zigzag patterns characteristic of art deco, makeup inspired by all the most popular silent movie stars, and cheaper fabrics. Even those living on less could get the most elegant looks.
The Roaring Twenties Hairstyles
As women styled their hair during this period with cloche hats, headbands, and even feathers, shorter hair became more popular. The bob experienced widespread popularity as a modern, fashionable hairstyle for women. If your hair wasn’t chopped off, it’d be twisted and pinned into an up-do to show off more 20s glitz and accessories.
A 20s hairstyle might not look too different from what you’d see today; the only real difference is the added accessories. Whereas today you might pin your hair up with a bobby pin, in the 20s, you’d add an eccentric feathered headband or a diamond-encrusted tiara.
The Roaring Twenties Makeup Look
A huge element of 1920s fashion and makeup was the popularity of the silent film. With the rise of movie stars came the desire of everyday people to look like the actors they saw on screen.
A characteristic of 1920s makeup is contrast. Bold red lipstick was a must, and a stylish art deco compact for on-the-go would need to match the art deco cigarette case every lady carried with her.
It was not only stylish to wear the makeup but also the right decorative packaging to carry with you. Applying makeup in public wasn’t an indicator that you had run out of time to get ready. It was the style of the times for young women to apply cosmetics while out and about.
A great way to incorporate the roaring twenties' makeup into your everyday look is with red lipstick. This simple start helps you stand out, and with a few staple art deco accessories and clothing items immediately invokes the iconic 1920s flapper look.
The Roaring Twenties Accessories
While your modern-day accessories may include a small bag or purse, a baseball cap, and subtle jewelry for a more elegant look, 1920s fashion was big on lavish accessories. For starters, most dresses were tied with a belt or sash around the waist. This is because otherwise, 1920s dresses were generally shapeless or tubed.
When going for an evening on the town, a woman in 1920s fashion may wear seamed stockings, long gloves, a shawl, or one of the famous long pearl necklaces popular during this time. Feathers, sequins, and sparkles were big, which is why many women wore tiaras and carried feather fans.
Another major trend in fashion was the cloche hat. This style of hat can be seen throughout the mid and late 1920s fashion, and almost every young woman had one. The cloche hat is the counterpart to the popular male fedora fashion of this period. Women wore this accessory with a bow or other embellishment.
The trick to embracing these 1920s accessories yourself is to go big. The women of the 20s were emulating elegant film stars and Hollywood divas. To get the look yourself, you have to go big.
The Roaring Twenties Dresses
In 1920s fashion for women, dresses were everything. Women primarily wore dresses, with the occasional substitution of a skirt and blouse. All dresses would need to be at least below knee length but could go down to the ankles.
For an average daytime outfit, dress sleeves would be long or mid-length and may be paired with a cardigan for a more casual look. Fancy dresses, on the other hand, were a little bit different.
When a 1920s woman wanted to get dressed up for a party or event, she’d trade her daytime dress in for a sequined, spectacular going-out dress. These tended to be sleeveless and looked more like the iconic flapper dress that you may recognize from famous 20s films and fashion photos.
Today, a great way to get this look is to choose an evening dress that is decorated with beading, fringe, sequins, or even feathers. These types of over-the-top accents give a regular dress that classic 1920s art deco fashion appeal. The more fringe on a 1920s dress, the better!
The roaring twenties may have been 100 years ago, but the art deco fashion of the period continues to inform our style to this day.
If you truly want to achieve the roaring twenties look, then turn to thrift stores or even sew your flapper dress from a pattern. Dresses of the time tended to be more shapeless than dresses today, which means even beginner seamstresses can accomplish some of the easier patterns.
Embrace your inner roar with these roaring twenties fashion hacks!
Have you been looking for a fun and exciting way to spice up your outfits and add an extra retro-flare to your everyday look? If so, you should take some time to look at women’s styles that were celebrated in the past.
History tends to repeat itself - especially in the world of fashion.
Vintage and retro clothes are as popular as ever before in the women’s clothing industry, and you are just in time to enjoy these trends and fads by adding some great pieces to your daily outfits.
Whether you’re into looks from the 50s or 80s, there is truly something to be found for every taste in these retro styles.
For some great women’s outfit inspiration, read on to see how you can add a vintage twist to your day to day style!
Who doesn’t love dresses? Women’s clothing is unique and seems to always register the change of trends by the types of dresses worn as they are usually the telling factor.
The vintage dress looks listed below can provide women with some great outfit ideas for any occasion!
1. Wrap Dresses
A great retro look that is oh-so-flattering to any body shape is the wrap dress. There is no wonder that this women’s style has made a reappearance in recent outfit trends!
Wrap dresses come in all colors and designs and can be dressed up or down for any occasion. They tie to fit your shape and make for a great, vintage addition to your closet.
2. Long Dresses
Long and maxi dresses are also a style that women seem to turn to. These vintage styles are the perfect outfit for the summer and can really give off some great and relaxed vibes to fit the season.
3. Fit and Flare Dresses
For a fun and flirty look, shop for fit and flare dresses. Not only are these women’s styles more flattering than other cuts, but they are also the perfect style to check off all of your vintage and modern wants for your closet!
The pants worn during the past decades are also clear markers of some popular women’s fashion trends that have made their way back into our everyday styles. Your retro outfit needs can be completed just by choosing the right bottoms to wear!
4. Pencil Skirts
Women’s business and professional outfits can also be changed up with the help of these vintage pieces.
Pencil skirts will flatter all your curves in the best way while still making you feel like you’re in charge!
5. Swing Skirts
A 1950’s era staple, swing skirts are characterized by their wide, flowing cut. These skirts make for perfect vintage style outfit ideas, especially when paired with a cute pussybow blouse!
Swing skirts are generally cut above the knee or calf-length. Wear with kitten heels and you’re ready for a night out dancing!
6. Wide Leg Pants
This cut of bottoms is also a great way to rock some retro outfits while still fitting in with the times.
Wide leg pants are a great addition to your business-casual wardrobe and will make you stand out in any crowd!
7. Bell Bottoms
Bell bottoms are also a clearly vintage style that has lasted the test of time. Put these on and you’ll feel like you took a step back to the past – and you are going to look great doing it!
Now that you know what vintage bottoms were popular, let’s move on to the tops that can complete your outfit.
There are some blouses that are definitely more vintage than others, but the general style comes from decades ago.
Blouses are perfect for just about any occasion and are a great way to add that little vintage flare into your daily outfits.
9. Puff Sleeve Shirts
This outfit idea is perfect for the businesswomen out there. This look is a wonderful combination of vintage and professional and can be paired with just about any bottoms to complete the outfit.
10. Shoulder Pads
While these may seem dated, there are some shoulder pad looks that have made a reappearance.
Women’s shoulder pads are a little more subtle, but will still give your top that vintage look you’re aiming for.
Power suits and blazers are a retro piece of clothing perfect for women in charge. These outfits have stayed around for a reason and will make you feel like a boss!
12. Silk Shirts
These retro shirts are a great way to branch out and add some new fabrics to your closet. The tops are adorned with beautiful designs on a unique material that will make for a great statement piece in any closet!
Women’s vintage looks don’t have to stop at just clothes! There are so many different ways to accessorize with these retro inspired outfits.
13. Swatch Watches
A defining accessory back in the day was a Swatch Watch. Adding this small piece is an easy way to give your outfit that little extra push it may need!
14. Big Sunglasses
Luckily, oversized shades are just as popular now as they were back in the day!
Any outfit idea that you can think of will only be made better by adding some big sunglasses to the mix.
15. Mood Rings
Women’s mood rings, made popular in the 70s, are another retro accessory that can quickly add some vintage inspiration to your entire outfit ensemble.
16. Hoop Earrings
Hoop earrings will never go out of style and can quickly make you feel like a girl boss. These earrings have always been a defining characteristic of women’s styles and are one of the easiest ways to take your outfit to the next level.
Women’s Clothing Designs and Patterns
Fabrics and prints were a big part of vintage styles and should top your list when looking for new decades-inspired outfit ideas.
17. Animal Prints
Cheetah, leopard, snakeskin – you name it!
Animal prints were a defining design element of vintage women’s clothing and are great way to pay homage to the past decades in your clothing collection.
You may not even know that this outfit idea was from the past because it is still popular today!
A great way to add some casual, vintage style to your outfit is by adding some plaid. You can even take it a step further by rocking some plaid bottoms – a clear tribute to women’s vintage style.
19. Tie Dye
Have you ever once gone to a decade’s party without someone rocking some tie dye? The answer is most likely no, because this design is so representative of those times and can be found when looking for almost any retro outfit ideas!
Tie dye is making a fast return into the women’s fashion scene because it is such a fun way to add a pop of color to just about any outfit while still celebrating those retro looks.
These outfit ideas are meant to provide you with some unique and easy ways that you can change up your current look.
The great thing about women’s vintage clothes is that many of them are so compatible with current trends. You can mix and match these looks with your own preferences while still paying homage to the great, retro styles we love!
Do you want to find a dress to stop the show and impress everyone at the cocktail party? If you’ve looked online and throughout a variety of shops, you’ll know that the options are endless.
Still, sometimes it’s tricky to pick the perfect cocktail dress. You have to decide between something semi formal or full-blown elegant. Plus, you have to tailor the gown to your body shape to find the cut that will flatter your body best.
That’s where our guide comes in. Here’s what you should consider to find the perfect cocktail dress that suits your body type on any occasion.
What’s Your Budget?
No matter your budget, you should be able to purchase the perfect cocktail dress for your high-fashion needs. However, first you’ll want to decide how much money to spend on the gown.
You’ll be wearing this to several events and parties, meaning that you want something that pops. If you want to splurge a bit, no one would blame you. If you purchase a gown that is made of high-quality and durable material, you’ll be able to keep the piece for years.
Go for something classic and ageless, so that you’ll always have the perfect cocktail dress to whip out for a party or different occasion. Avoid trends and you’ll probably be more likely to stick with the same cocktail dress for a long while, meaning that your initial investment paid off.
If you have a strict budget to adhere to, you’ll be able to find plenty of discounts dresses online or in your local stores, you just need to know what to look for.
Know Your Body Type
When searching for the cocktail dress that blows your fellow party goers away, you need to know your body type. No two bodies will look the same in a cocktail dress, though certain body types tend to look better in certain cuts of clothing.
Let’s dive into some body types and what gown styles work best for them:
- Pear Shaped: If you have a pear shaped body, you’ll want to find a cocktail dress that accentuates your amazing hips and slim upper body. A low neckline will show off your chest and look superb.
- Inverted Triangle: Go for a cocktail dress that cinches in at the hips, showing off your killer waist. If you’re a fan of embellishments and accessories, feel free to decorate to your liking.
- Hourglass: Go for something fitted and strapless if you feel called to. You can also go for something flowy to show off your legs.
Whatever your shape, it’s crucial that you feel good in the cocktail dress that you’ve chosen. Find something that you’ll be excited to pull out of your closet and wear out to a party or event.
Trust your gut and buy a piece that makes you happy and confident. Sometimes it’s less about the shape of the cloth and more about the confidence you bring to the material.
Determine the Ideal Length
Length is another aspect of the ideal cocktail dress that you should figure out ahead of time. Fortunately, discovering the right length doesn’t have to be a tricky ordeal. If you follow a few guidelines and answer a couple of questions, you’ll determine the best cocktail dress for you.
If you’ll be wearing the piece to more formal occasions, something longer will be better. Consider gowns that go below the knee.
For more casual events, you can go with a cocktail dress that ends above the knee. That way, you can have fun dancing and show off your legs. Gauge how formal the event is and what length of dress is appropriate.
Pick Your Favorite Material
Time to pick the fabric for your cocktail party dress!
The materials suitable for evening gowns varies depending on the occasion and on your personal tastes. You should keep in mind the specific event or occasion that you’ll be wearing the gown out to. From there, you can choose the material.
For winter events, going for a heavier material cocktail dress is best. If you’re going to something outdoors, go for a material that feels good and doesn’t feel heavy. Splurging on a cocktail dress is the ideal time to try out a little black made of crushed velvet or silk.
With all the information listed above, you’re ready to find the perfect cocktail dress to suit your needs! Hopefully, now you’re ready to step into a little black cocktail dress and take on the world. Or maybe you’re going for a long flowy number to storm the outdoor wedding.
Whatever event you need the cocktail dress for, remember that the most important thing is to feel confident and comfortable in the gown that you choose.