Fashion & Style

Vintage clothing styles

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Vintage clothing styles have a way of becoming cutting edge fashion again

My mother always said that one day those striped hot pants would come back into style. Of course, I didn’t believe her. She tried to get me to take them with me when I left home for college. But just like any other fashion-conscious college-bound diva, I refused. I would rather have had what was on the mannequin at Macy’s than mom’s hot pants. Oh boy, did I miss it!


My mom’s taste in fashion to me was, shall I say, a little “outdated” at first glance? I mean, after all, her vintage clothing styles were from the late 1940s and 50s and just weren’t what I thought was hip for today’s (my day) young woman. If I had only known that vintage clothing styles were going to be as popular and as hot as they are now, I would have held on to them. Or, at least taken them when they were offered.

What is Vintage?


Vintage clothing styles are those pieces that are fashions from the 1920s to the 1980s. Pieces before the 1920s were and are considered antiques. In this span of 60 years or so of vintage era, there was an establishment of good, solid, fashionable and bold clothing that made an everlasting statement to the fashion world. That statement was essentially that the fashion of those times was here to stay.

From the 1920s flappers to the hot pants in the 60s, the impact that this stylish fashion era has had on fashion is here to stay. And what makes it even more fun, is that the vintage clothing styles that are sported today are really not that hard to find or that difficult to put together. Here’s how:

- Check your parent’s and your grandparent’s closets. Chance are that they will have some vintage clothes from that era, for sure. You might be pleasantly surprised at what could turn up! Ask them about any vintage jewelry they no longer want, too. Even plastic jewelry from the 1940's can be quite stylish.


- Shop at online retailers who specialize in vintage clothing sales and fashions.


- Look through garage sales items. Sometimes, there are pieces that find their way amongst the clutter that even the owner’s may not know they have!


- Consignment shops also may carry vintage items. Dig through the heap to find your treasures.

Perfect Pieces

The quest to find the perfect vintage piece can be a lot of fun and unearth a lot of surprises for your wardrobe. Vintage clothes come in so many styles and varieties, that it really all depends on your personal preferences and tastes as to what you will enjoy. What are some really cool vintage pieces?


- Sweaters with embroidered prints or patterns. These were a hot look with skinny leg tapered pants (which have also made a comeback) and flat boat shoes. Circa 1950s.

- Long-legged, laced boots in various colors, mainly white. Looks good with the mini skirt or some short shorts. Circa 1960s.

- Metallic handbags, both in gold and silver for evening wear. This was a hot item in the 80s. Remember the disco scene?

- Can you really have too many gloves and scarves to complete your look? Just about every woman in the 50s carried a pair of gloves and a scarf when she left the house. It's really a classy look.

- Not to leave the men out with the Hawaiian print polyester shirts. Great for golfing or boating in today. A fashionable look for the man of leisure. Circa 1980.


Deciphering Junk

How can you tell the difference between a piece being junk and it being actual vintage? Notice the stitching and the seams on the clothes. Is it sewn together well, with firm grips and threading along the seams? These are indications that the item is from the original era, and not a knock-off or a cheapened duplicate. Clothes that were made within the vintage era were well put together with no worries of items that were hard to move or no resale value.

Also, vintage clothing styles have a distinctive “look” that will help you determine their authenticity. Old movies, photos and films help us determine when particular fashions were in style. Usually, a couple of glances at an item will tell you about when the item was introduced on the fashion scene. 

For instance, broaches and pins became popular in the 1940s, although they’ve significantly evolved today. There is still a particular look that one from the original era has. A lot of the pieces that were popular from that area are highly-valued today and almost hard to find. The pieces are definitely considered antiques and fetch a higher price tag than anything manufactured today.

Dating Your Clothes

Even disco pants, or hot pants, have a distinctive time line indicating when they became popular. They were seen everywhere from the dance floors with strobe lights to the runway with Twiggy. The date range that pops into your mind might be the 1970s…and you would be correct!



Effectively sporting the vintage look is a tricky one, but is doable. Be careful to pair your pieces together with complementary accessories and clothes so that it will look as if you've dressed vintage on purpose and not haphazardly. If you're not careful, your vintage look can look hobo-ish if it's not paired right.

Staying in Eras

The trick is to stay in the era (or as close as you can) that you are dressing in. For instance, if you're going to sport an antique-ish drop necklace, don't wear them with disco pants. Likewise, if you are going to wear skinny-leg pants, watch out with that Hawaiian shirt. It may not do either of the pieces justice, and you could end up looking like you missed the fashion mark.

Conscientously put your pieces together, making them cohesive rather than gawdy looking. If you do mix eras, make them subtle and play down one while playing up the other. A scarf with a pair of striped pants is perfectly doable and won't call too much attention.


The range of dates for the vintage styles is so broad, yet so interesting, that it shouldn’t be hard for anyone to sport a look from the era. I just wish I would have listened to my mother when she said, “You’re going to wish you had gotten these!”
 
Boy, do I ever!


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