Fashion Inspiration from The Past: VINTAGE & RETRO
“Using the PAST to INSPIRE the FUTURE!“
In the past, recycling of clothes has been through re-use. In the 21st century we have all become very fashion conscious whereby we pick and choose what we wear dependent on current trends, yet all arousing from past trends which have inspired many people immensely with their own style!
Have you ever thought my parents have so many traditional clothes and I want to use them but don’t know how to wear them!? Now, don’t we all love to know how we can utilise past fashion clothing into current fashion wear. A firm believer of ‘recycling past fashion styles’ and what a way to help our readers on how they can bring fashion from the past and still be killin’ it today!!
Clothing found in our parent’s wardrobe, charity shops, vintage outlets, high street shops and to the boutiques, a commitment to embrace our individual image in fashion has always existed. Let’s go back to the source for outfit inspiration and look at outfits inspired by the past decades because there is no doubt that we all need a bit of a ‘light bulb’ moment when it comes to creatively thinking of new ways to outshine our last outfit.
Inspiration from past fashion trends ranging from clothing worn by legendary iconic figures from the fashion industry to current fashionistas who represent a unique style, with a twist of vintage and retro fashion. There is a high demand for second hand clothes whereby many people go and search for the best, recycling trends are even occurring in the world of sportswear (NIKE & Adidas), day wear, evening wear and even swimwear. Let’s just say there is so much potential in recreating new fashion trends.
We had the idea of mastering a list of all inspiring clothes but we all know Going through a diverse range of past styles could take a decade so we decided to go from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s up to now. Let’s take a look as we embark on a journey into VINTAGE & RETRO fashion!!
The era of experimentation, self-expression and liberation, being bold in your fashion and a sense of having fun with style! During this decade ‘The Mini’ was most used i.e. a mini skirt or a mini dress. The inception of the mini in the swinging sixties to the crop top craze of the early 90s. This era introduced many trends that have been carried over to today. They took great risks with style and adapted new trends. Started as pricey couture to cheap and casual streetwear.
A testament into individuality, Muse to Andy Warhol, American wealthy socialite, fashion model and actress. Edie was the original ‘IT Girl’ and queen of vintage with a unique sense of fashion and style that was all about fun and yet still influential today. Known for her lashings of eyeliner, chandelier earrings, mini mod dresses with sheer black tights and platinum bob, a good girl gone bad aesthetic. She pioneered a style and made it work, from layering fur to print oversized T-shirts (worn as dresses) to exaggerated make up and false lashes – she was definitely an iconic figure in the 60s!!
“It’s not that I’m rebelling. It’s that I’m just trying to find another way.”
A London-based force with recognition within the fashion world, the world’s first supermodel and a role model for many teenage girls in the 60s. She isn’t your average model, she created an image that would epitomize an era, with a waif like figure, outstanding eyelashes, men’s accessories, loafers and boots and a boyish haircut. Many would define Twiggy as ‘The Cockney Kid’. Definitely liked by many photographers as she posed for the likes of Barry Lategan, Melvin Sokolsky, Bert Stern and Richard Avedon.
“Fashion should be stylish and fun.”
An elegant, elfin beauty and indeed very stylish in every decade. Best known to start the trend of drainpipe jeans and rocked a beautiful bold pixie cut. She had a very authentic and elegant style, think of black ballet flats, famous little black dress, high-waisted cigarette pants and crewneck sweaters. We all have Audrey to thank for the little black dress that we all most probably have in our wardrobe! Simplicity but classy was Andrey.
“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.”
Group of three coolest, baddest, sexiest and edgy version of ‘The Supremes’. These were the outspoken cool kids who would pop their gums and gossip on whatever picked their fancy. These admired bad-girl group combed their hair which formed a style-like beehive, winged eyeliner and tight pencil skirts, these simple looks always got attention and imitation has stretched so far that in 21st century everyone seems to have jumped on the bandwagon!
“No one has their own identity like the Ronettes did back in the day”
This was a fun Hipster/Punk era all about sexual liberation and feminism. The stylistic movement and where a lot of colour burst into fashion! Expect flares, platforms, colourful hippie-chic prints and buttoned down shirts. Like the 60s but a bit more flamboyant and the material most used for clothes was polyester. The style was casual yet exaggerated where nothing was off limits, you wouldn’t know whether someone was going to go out or just stay at home but that was the beauty of this era, they played with fashion and kept it comfortable!
A Nicaraguan socialite with an exotic beauty, a stylish woman known to have rocked high-waisted trousers, wide lapel suits, off-the shoulder dresses and blouses unbuttoned to her navel. An iconic fashion icon in the 70s through her choice of style, although she was not a fashionista, people admired her attires and elegance. Bianca especially stood out whenever she wore white head-to-toe.
“I don’t want to wear what every other woman wears. I won’t be dictated to.”
A queen of punk, fearless and with a lot of style. Harry was a Playboy Bunny Girl with confidence who branched out and became a recognised style icon in New York. Versatile with her style as she wore spandex unitards, double denim, leggings and biker leathers to merging into the glamorous image with items worn such as beautiful catsuits and metallic make-up. Often wearing suit jackets and tailoring all from what you would think a man would wear, but she rocked it either way and we loved it!
“Nothing has changed since the Seventies, women need to shrug off the criticisms, as I did back in the day”
Front man of the greatest Rock’n Roll Band Rolling Stones of all time his influence reflected on to not just music for the people but also Jagger had a huge influence when it came to fashion. Ever heard of the word ‘swagger’ (style) well yes he invented this notion, his ‘swagger’ touched upon many subcultures who imitated his look. His look consisted of slim-cut mod suiting and detail oriented ensembles.
“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.”
We all love the notorious style in the 80s!! There is no decade better than the 80s simply due to the fact you could wear absolutely anything and still look like the part, one day you could wear skin tight pants and the next be wearing ‘MC Hammer’ pants. Hands down the best era in terms of fashion experimentation with enduring style icons. Picture bright and mixed colours, big hair, loud/ funky outfits, leg warmers and the joy of pastels. Personalities were expressed through fashion which made big statements, shirts became looser and trousers became tighter, make-up became bold with colours and well the 80s became the time of diverse trends. Artists had a huge impact upon society and many people got their inspiration from music videos. Tight era from spandex to corkscrew curls. This was the last year fashion risks were taken in this era and colourful pop culture was prominent in this decade. All about simplistic shapes and set dressing that accentuated the body.
Madonna was a pioneer of the messy chic look and was a significant icon throughout her pop music career and in fashion, she’s reinvented herself successfully throughout the eras and that is why we see her as a huge inspiration when we talk about style. Many would go to the salon and get the “poodle” looking perms so their hair was wavy like Madonna’s except she also had highlights. She rocked everything from the layered look (shirts upon shirts and coats), short pants, over-sized tops with cut off sleeves, excessive amounts of jewellery such as beads, pearls, dangly earrings and bracelets. Regardless of the switch up style everyone followed her and she was definitely one to watch!
“Looks aren’t everything.”
The king of pop was more than a music legend. He was born dancer and a style megastar! His Balmain collections were one to remember with moments in fashion that sparked the world. Throughout his life he had always favoured a groovy wardrobe, his trademark fashion was clothing such as military jackets, sequins, exaggerated shoulders, skinny silhouettes and we can’t forget about his white glove (made frequent on-stage appearances throughout his career) and pair of socks!
“My attitude is if fashion says it’s forbidden, I’m going to do it.”
Run DMC influenced fashion through music videos which represented hip-hop style sensibility, product endorsements and sneaker culture. They caught attention in the 80s wearing Adidas, which was their core brand when styled, also adding thick gold chains as accessory’s. Expect to have seen RUN DMC in full Adidas gear making the brand an all time winner in casual everyday wear, people became associated with Adidas because of these artists. They were popular and iconic who favoured street-wear on the streets. Their confidence wearing street-wear has been a big influence even today, with sportswear becoming more of ‘everyday wear’ than just worn in sports. Run DMC introduced a relationship between music and fashion, in some way or another.
“My Adidas and me, close as can be we make a mean team, my Adidas and me”
Purple was his universal signature!
A raunchy, sensual and seductive artist who took pride in fashion as much as the music. His music reflected his clothes, his clothes reflected his music, a performer who loved to break boundaries in the fashion world. He had panache as he was able to pull of any outfit and look absolutely cool. His clothes spoke for him, with great confidence he rocked outfits with ruffles, brocade, lace and sequins. Let me tell you that not only did he have his own style but he loved the fact he was the only one who had the confidence to wear them. Clothes that shocked yet excited the public were items such as contour-grazing hot pants, bikini briefs, neckerchief, with thigh-high stockings, swing y-bell bottom sleeves, fitted suits, ruffled blouses, backless pants, elongating tunics and he even wore high heels and lase gloves. Prince pulled off androgyny with such bravery.
“A strong spirit transcends rules.”
This decade was bought in by the youthful movement with carefree styles used by everyone, some would call this the rebellious era of fashion but regardless we all loved it! The return of the minimalist as opposed to fashion in the 80s with all the bright and flashy garms. Music influenced fashion massively in the 90s and this is where the simplicity came from, there was a popularity of grunge, hip-hop and alternative rock and that meant styles would change. Supermodels dominated the early 90s and wore clothes with neon colours and items such as leggings and sporty wear. In addition, the grunge look also took over in the early-90s with people conforming to the ‘casual rock chic’ look i.e. t-shirts, sneakers, hoodies and jeans but in contrast there was the glamorous and work wear. Hip hop fashion, modern preppy look and the ‘Cool Britannia and 70’s revival’ influenced the mid 90’s with over-sized baseball/ bomber jackets, baggy jeans, khaki slacks, boat shoes, Paisley shirts and Velvet blazers, to name a few. During the end of the era there was an African and Asian influence with the emergence of the rave subculture.
Selena took fashion into her own hands and looked great no matter what she wore, red lipstick was her trademark. She made everything look good whether it was when she more ruffles or sparkly bustiers, she had an amazing physique. What we admire about her is that she even designed her own clothes which allowed her to express her unique sense of panache. She kept it simple wearing such items like black skinny jeans, crop tops, waistcoats and leather wear. Although she had a simple side of fashion, she also switched it up and wore bright, shiny and sparkly clothing; sparkly jumpsuits, rainbow playsuits, large hoop earrings and padded retro blazers. Selena was one to remember!
“I eat anything, and I’m not preoccupied with my figure. The most important [thing] is that the people accept me for my music, not for physical appearances.”
Fresh Prince of BEL Air star had a wardrobe everyone wanted there’s no doubt about that. His style still resonates today, he made colourful clothing look cool and fun. Jordan’s were a must have, multi-coloured vests and jeans were pushed into trend, pattern vests and hats quickly took over, he was also never afraid to bring the denim on denim look in fashion. His ability to look dressed up and casual at the same time was so contagious and I can guarantee you every vintage and retro piece was worn by this very iconic figure.
“You’ve got to get out on the edge. You have to try things, you have to be comfortable doing things people don’t agree with and you have to be comfortable with doing things that you could fail.”
Aaliyah the all-time princess of R&B and a woman of great style one by which we follow. We never forget Aaliyah and the aura she bought into fashion with her stylistic garms which she sure rocked to the fullest. Aaliyah always making the flat abs with crop top, boxers, and baggy pants look so sexy even still to this very day. Half tomboy half simple she would style herself in bandannas, baggy pants, chunky boots and sexy dresses! She always looked bold and amazing we will never forget the style she bought into this world and even from such a young age!
“I see myself as sexy. If you are comfortable with it, it can be very classy and appealing.”
L O N D O N R E T R O I N S P I R A T I ON
V I N T A G E F A S H I O N T I P S
WHAT CAN I WEAR TODAY?!
- Jack Kennedy’s pillbox hats
- Audrey Hepburn’s drainpipe pants
- British style influence of the Beatles and Twiggy
- Plaid and paisley prints
- Loose dresses
- Turtle neck tops
- Knee high socks/ funky tights
- Shoes: low heel/ Flat shoes/ T-strap/ Sling backs/ Loafers’/ Ankle boots/ GoGo boots
- Rectangular bags
- Bell bottom jeans
- Batik fabrics
- Paisley fabrics
- Mini skirts
- Bell bottom pants/ combat trousers
- Big collars/ Leisure suits
- Sportswear jersey T-Shirts
- Tank/ tube/ crop tops
- Platform shoes
- Feathered hair/ Fringes/ Tassels/ Tennis headbands
- Tracksuits/ pant suit/ leisure suit
- High cut boots
- Bright and colourful polyester clothing
- Pant suit
- Floppy hats
- Wrap dresses
- Hot pants
- Maxi dresses
- Suede material
- Ripped tights
- Leather/polished over-sized blazers
- Fanny packs
- Slogan T-shirts
- Male ponytails
- Four-finger rings
- Velour (especially on tracksuits and shirts)
- Reebok’s/ Sneakers
- Dookie chains/ Huge earrings
- Shoulder pads
- Silk shirts
- Mini skirts
- Parachute pants
- Permed hair
- Finger-less gloves
- Parachute pants
- Fauz-fur coats
- Trench coats
- Kitten heels
- Jelly shoes
- Thin necklaces
- Small watches
- Overalls with straps down
- Crop tops/ handkerchief tops/ over-sized t-shirts
- Skate tees/ turtleneck jumpers
- Bike shorts
- Parasuco jeans
- Snapbacks/ slouch socks
- Neon windbreakers
- Ripped jeans/ cargo trousers
- Combat boots
- Skidz and Zubas
- Cross colours
- Leather jackets
- Baggy jeans/ popper joggers
- Bucket hats
- L.A. Lites
- Wallabees/ Kickers/ platform trainers
- Shirts around the waist
- Tartan ruffle skirts/ sarongs
Why not merge some of these clothes to make your perfect work outfit?! Or even something for your Interview!
So we have all looked back to go forward and play with fashion, we can incorporate practically any item of clothing into everyday dressing. Our advice to you is to play around with items and have fun with it, let your clothes speak for itself, never limit your chances of expressing your own unique style through identifying what looks best on you. Recycling revolution is happening now and don’t be afraid to take risks with it. Women and even Men today still clamour for vintage.
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L: CVUK Fashion & Retail Recruitment