How to Wear Vintage Clothing Without Looking Costumey

For those who want to take retro or vintage style seriously, the first thing to avoid is looking like you’re dressed up for a costume party – unless that’s really the idea; to step out of the conventional a bit and play with something new in a festive moment. Otherwise, there are some ways to include the references of the past in your daily life, mixing them with your personal style and what suits you best, without looking like you are dressed up for a theme party. Check out our tips and go wild!

Be proud of your style

Pin-up photographers on another working day in New York

First of all, you need to accept and be proud of your own style. If the idea is to adopt a look inspired by women of the 40’s or 50’s, for example, it is not worth being ashamed to go out in the street with a more elaborate hairstyle or a godé skirt. Of course there will be those friends who still think you are “featured,” but if you feel good about what you wear, no one has any business getting involved. Be proud that, unlike other people, you make your own fashion and are happy with it.

Check your true tastes

If in your day to day life you can’t insert any reference, no matter how small, that reminds you of your retro style and you still find it strange to see a person who keeps a look like that even to go to work, it means that this is not your true style – sorry to be the person to tell you this. Take a look at your tastes, your references, and see if you are going the right way. Just because you think it looks good on others, or all your friends wear it, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to dress that way. Find what fits you best and be happy.

Your clothes carry culture

50s fashion vs. 60s fashion

Before adopting a style based on a certain decade, it’s important to research what was worn in each period so as not to pay the price. It is very valid to mix references, but to say that you have a super “60s style”, and that your clothes are all inspired by the 50s doesn’t make much sense. For those who still don’t know, the fashion of the two decades is super different from each other. A simple example: Midi skirts, 50s. Miniskirts, 60s. Do you understand the difference?

Use small details in everyday life

Try to adopt small retro references in your daily life and, if you want, be more daring on party days. This way, you’ll establish your style little by little and won’t run the risk of looking like you’re in costume every time you get a little more dressed up for an event. After all, the idea is to live the retro rather than to dress up for a themed event, isn’t it? If not, continue the production only for party days and everything is fine. The important thing is to be happy, without labels!

Beware of excessive clichés

Impossible not to love, right? But, if the idea is to adopt a retro look, inspired by the fashion of the 1950s, go far beyond the famous “little yellow balls”. So don’t fill your closet with polka dots and forget about the wonderful florals, plaid, and so many other prints, patterns, and fabrics? The vintage and retro style is so vast that limiting yourself to a single pattern or piece is nonsense. Go for it!

Avoid excessive information

Scarf around the neck, flower in the hair, kitty glasses, heavy makeup, godé dress with a corset, fishnet stockings, stilettos, gloves, super elaborate hairdo… All this in the same look. Easy, girlfriend! You don’t need to use all the pieces of your closet at once. Always use common sense and balance when composing your look so that it doesn’t look caricatured. By knowing how to balance the information, you will achieve that classic and elegant look you have always dreamed of!

Don’t limit yourself to stereotypes

Be careful about highlighting stereotypes. For example: The idea that women only wore pencil skirts in the 1940s and goddess dresses in the 1950s is very limited. At that time, besides other models of dresses and skirts, different styles of pants were also worn, such as high-waisted and “short legs” (aka capris) or high-waisted with wider legs, which almost resemble a pantalone. A tip is to research and always have cool references at hand so as not to fall into a stereotypical look.

Vintage is much more than a passing fad

For many people vintage/retro is much more than just a fashion trend to rescue the past, it is a true lifestyle. So, in addition to all the aesthetics and fashion trends of an era, it is also worth looking deeper into music, movies, decoration, behavior, among other things that influenced the way people dressed in those times.

But most important be yourself, always!

Of all the tips, this is the most important: be yourself and follow your own tastes! There is no point in “putting yourself together” and buying tons of vintage clothes if you are only going to wear them to a certain party once or twice a month, and in your daily life you prefer to wear something completely different. Wear what makes you feel good and beautiful, whenever and however you want!

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