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We all have at least one fashion era that we particularly admire. ‘I wish I’d been around then so I could have rocked that look,’ you may hear yourself sigh.
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from adopting your favorite retro look from head to toe right now, if you wish. Other than perhaps a lack of confidence. Like many others, you might wonder, ‘can I pull this look off?’ or, ‘how do I avoid looking like I’m in period costume?’
You might even have a few vintage pieces sitting in your wardrobe ready to go, but you haven’t yet worked out when to wear them. Ideally, you need to shake off your reservations and go for it. There is nothing more refreshing and exciting than when a person frees themselves and goes against current fashion trends to wear exactly what they want. We all admire their creativity and confidence, right?
Easier said than done, however. Many of us need quite a few baby steps to get to a place where we feel comfortable with a more individual look.
Therefore, a good place to start is by working a few retro pieces into your everyday wardrobe. Here’s how.
1. Spot opportunities in current trends
Previous eras inspire nearly all current trends. Designers have vast fashion archives from which they take their inspiration. For example, amongst 2021’s most popular catwalk looks are pleated skirts which were big in both the 1980s and the 1920s. The 2000s baguette bags have been sought after again, as have 1970s flares.
Fashion moves at a fast pace, so your favorite look is almost certain to come round soon. When it does, make it your moment to shine and revel in it.
2. Mix and match separates
Wearing contemporary and vintage separates together is the easiest way to work more retro chic into your wardrobe. A vintage shirt or blouse with a denim jacket, or a retro dress with sneakers are more contemporary looks that make stylish use of vintage pieces.
It’s up to you to choose the balance of contemporary and period pieces, so be as bold as you dare.
3. Choose designers that do the work for you
Many designers enjoy reinventing retro looks and working them into contemporary pieces. They might take a fabric like vintage lace or distressed denim and work it into a completely different look, such as athleisure or urban street style.
For example, a tribal clothing line that incorporates traditional handwoven African textiles into urban-inspired denim and asymmetrical pieces makes for a unique look.
You could also look out for designers that take vintage silhouettes and recreate the look in a new, more contemporary fabric.
These designers do the hard work for you, so all it takes is for you to find the one you love.
4. Experiment with hair and makeup
The way you wear your hair and makeup can help elevate or tone down a vintage look as you wish. A strong lip or eyeshadow color or smoky eye are all makeup looks that can evoke certain eras. If you want a bolder vintage look, then take it one step further with a makeup look from the same era. Conversely, if you are worried about looking over the top, then play down your makeup.
The same goes with hair. Wear it up or down, wavy or straight, to play with achieving different looks with the same garments. The idea is to experiment with both hair and makeup until you have a look to accompany your vintage pieces that you feel confident and comfortable in.
Mixing and matching your vintage pieces with makeup and hair looks from completely different eras is fun too and can help to completely reinvent a look you are tiring of.
5. Accessorize to your heart’s desire
Introducing vintage accessories to your wardrobe is an easy way of adding a little nostalgia to your look. Hats, scarves, brooches, bold earrings, rings and bracelets or footwear can help you layer up the retro look as far as you want.
Alternatively, match vintage pieces with contemporary accessories to bring a look into the 2020s. Again, it’s all about getting the balance that’s right for you.
These 5 style tips will help you work more of your favorite retro looks into your wardrobe with confidence and flair.
Just remember that experimentation is key; play with different combinations of pieces, hair, makeup and accessories until you find something that truly delights you.
Ethiopian-born and Dubai-based fashion designer Feiruza Mudessir discovered her curiosity to mix the traditional with contemporary at a young age, and this has become the trademark of her designs for Finchitua today. With her unique style standpoint, she served the VIP Color Forecast Panel 2017 for Al Jazeera Paints Company and VIP Color Forecast Panel 2019 for Asian Paints Berger. Ms. Mudessir is a shortlisted nominee for the prestigious Fashion Scout London 2018.