There are many reasons why people opt for vintage clothing. There’s a great joy in finding something that’s original, yet feels like it was made for you. Opting for a vintage wardrobe is also more sustainable since you’re buying pre-loved clothes rather than purchasing from fast-fashion retailers. Moreover, vintage shops allow you to express yourself by harking back to key periods in fashion history. We consider the following clothes to not only be essential to any wardrobe but also a testament to the neverending appeal of vintage fashion.
No woman’s wardrobe is complete without a chic leather jacket. While you’re sure to find plenty of leather jackets on the high street, they can often be expensive. Of course, it’s always a plus to have an item of clothing you can depend on for years. However, by going vintage you’ll get a long-lasting jacket at a much better price.
For decades, the leather jacket has long been a staple of rebels, trendsetters, and fashionistas. This means there are countless ways to pay homage to the decade of your choice. Inspired by Sandy from Grease? How about James Dean or Marlon Brando? A fitted, biker-style jacket will add an edgy twist to any outfit. Alternatively, opt for a mid-length leather blazer as worn by the likes of Carrie Bradshaw and an army of 90s supermodels and style icons. Not only will you look effortlessly chic, but these jackets also are robust and often benefit from extra pocket space!
Classic Blue Denim
When it comes to jeans, your average retailer will offer a dizzying array of styles: low-rise, bootcut, flared, or wide leg. However, vintage denim has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last few years. While brands such as Vetements have looked to rework vintage denim for today’s audience, there’s no need to splurge on designer jeans if you want that premium retro style.
From the Marlboro man to Marilyn Monroe, blue jeans have become synonymous with classic Americana style. You’re sure to find many pairs in your average vintage shop, but the holy grail of vintage denim is a pair of Levi 501s. In fact, Time Magazine named them the Fashion Item of the 20th Century.
One of the hallmarks of authentic vintage jeans is a high waist. Not only do they add a couple of inches to your height, but they also sit comfortably on your waist rather than your hips. Colour-wise, vintage jeans offer a distinct faded look. Pair with an oversized white shirt for a laid-back, boho style, or dress them up with a sleek pair of heels and a sheer blouse.
How many of you, despite your extensive wardrobe, feel most comfortable in your boyfriend’s flannel shirt? Their relaxed fit, not to mention their throwback to 90s grunge fashion, make flannel shirts a highly sought-after vintage item.
Much like denim, a lot of flannel shirts look great when they’re slightly distressed. On top of that, a flannel shirt offers that winning combination of softness and durability. Any vintage shop worth its salt will have a surplus of flannel shirts, so you can take your pick. There’s no sign of the classic ‘lumberjack’ style plaid flannel going out of style. You may also want to try a thicker vintage flannel, which works wonders when layered over a t-shirt.
Concerned that a flannel shirt is too casual? Dressing it up can be as simple as adding a statement necklace and tucking it into a pair of skinny jeans. If you want to arrive on a night out looking like a retro rocker chick, consider layering it under a leather mini dress.
Whether it’s for a formal occasion, drinks out with friends, or even a day in the office, a retro-style dress makes a unique statement about your personal style.
A classic example of this is the 1950s dress. Want something more ‘girly’ whilst remaining bold and exuberant? Fortunately, 1950s women had quite the fondness for pussybows and polka dots. A flared skirt will also work wonders when it comes to accentuating your waist.
Of course, we must pay tribute to the mod style of the swinging sixties and early 1970s. A mod-style dress screams ‘vintage’ but with a flirty twist. Want to channel your inner Edie Sedgewick or Alexa Chung? Take your vintage shift dress or mini-skirt to the next level with statement eyeliner and a pair of go-go boots, and you’ll be top of the list at Studio 54!
Alex Chenery-Howes writes for eBloggers, a luxury online retailer specialising in second-hand designer clothes worn by some of the UK’s biggest influencers.