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Styling Tips For A Retro Look

Written by La Petite Pinup

Whether you’re just starting your vintage journey or looking for some inspiration for new things to try, here are some easy ways to create that classic retro look. You may find you prefer a particular decade, so firstly look at the styles of the era and pick out key elements from 40s, 50s and 60s fashion trends.

Classic shapes in the 1940s included simple shirtwaister day dresses similar to the Gayle which features pretty gathered details to the front and small puffed sleeves. It’s made from a lovely light fabric and paired with the Lily faux snakeskin heels with their low wedge would make a great authentic look for warmer days, accessorised with the Gloria roux snood and Natalie bead necklace.

Wide-legged trousers were also very popular and the Jacqueline jumpsuit captures that land girl look perfectly, especially with the addition of the Cherries field scarf. With its open neck and light fabric, the jumpsuit is a great transitional piece. To make it less casual and a little more glam, you could add the Ada Heels and on cooler days, add the Poppy Gab jacket for a pop of colour but in keeping with the overall 40s aesthetic.

In the late 1940s, dirndl styles became popular with their ruffled skirts and peasant tops. For a similar look, try the Katherine humbug skirt with its fun, frilly, hem and pair it with the Lorena top which has an off the shoulder detail and sweet tie to the front to compliment this 40’s style. To contrast with the mint and white, add a fresh zingy yellow to lift this outfit by adding the Veronica yellow heels with their low heel and pretty cut out tbar details, as well as the Sherry yellow sunglasses for a fun and flirty 40s look.

The fifties saw some fabulous shapes appear like the bateau neckline inspired by Audrey Hepburn. The Brielle Love Heart dress perfectly encapsulates this, especially with its swing skirt which was so popular in this era too. Featuring sweet pink hearts all over with a typically 50’s cinched in waist and using the same pink for the belt, it’s an easy way to add some vintage fashion into your wardrobe. Wear it with the cropped Evie cardigan and Deborah wedges to highlight the pink elements and add the Midge bag and Valerie Hair flower to compliment the white aspects of the dress for a really pretty outfit.

Capris were also a staple in this era, combined with a short sleeved top tucked in or tied to accentuate the waist. The Gracie capris in gorgeous teal work so well for this and can go with so many things which are already in your cupboards to get that 50s look. Wrap tops were very popular at the time, and the Ashley top looks great with these capris, adding a fresh pop of a gingham to this fifties inspired look. Nylon scarves were seen a lot during this decade and worn tied to the left on the open neck, so add this turquoise one to match the capris and pick out the gingham details with the Loretta gingham bag. Accessorise with the mint Kane earrings and add the matching bangles combined with a wider black bracelet to tie everything together.

A wiggle dress was a must and the Mirtilla Bandana pencil dress is a fab shirtwaister style with pointed collar, emulating the California Ranch lifestyle which was longed for by so many during this period. For cooler days, look effortlessly chic with the Korrina trench and add the Nancy mules to continue to pick out the black detailing while keeping it authentic. To compliment the burgundy of the dress, wear with the Bordeaux bangles and matching earrings and to finish off the look, add the Bandana drawstring bag.

A mini skirt was all the rage back in the sixties and the Judy herringbone with its a-line shape and pleats to the front are really reminiscent of that iconic style. Add the Juniper cardigan on top as cable knits with a peter pan collar in a block colour were very popular. Low heeled shoes finish this typically 60s style outfit and the Georgia block with its t-bar fitting works really well by adding a bright pop of colour into the mix. This continues with the Nicole bag which would have been a popular choice with these sort of skirts. To finish the outfit, add the Melina hoops which give a little hint of Quant.

Trousers were still slim legged in the 1960s and fastened at the side so try the Dolly Bow jeans as your base. Tops had become more boxy and less figure hugging, with colourful prints making their way into sixties fashion. The striped Sue Carnival blouse is a great example of this and works well with the jeans for a relaxed, casual look. Sneakers were also making an appearance so to finish this look, team with the Grace pumps which pulls the rainbow inspired outfit together. The Sun Jellies purse is a classic bag from this decade and picks out the pink from the rainbow while keeping it fun but practical.

Bold floral prints made a big impact in the 60s and the Annabelle dress perfectly encompasses this mood. Matching white cuffs and pointed collars were also a statement found on dresses of the day. It’s a light fabric so it’ll keep you cool in the warmer weather as well as looking fabulous! Pick out the green details and wear with the sweet Malia heels with their super sixties style block heels and the Kim bag with its amazing bamboo handle. To continue the tropical vibes, add the Aaliyah hair flower and some bamboo earrings.

If you prefer not to be hemmed in by one era, try some other typically retro styled looks which are a bit looser in interpretation and can easily be incorporated with some modern day items for a vintage twist.

For that classic pin up appearance which features sweet but sexy vibes, try the Sadie dress. Bring on the sass in this gorgeous red pencil dress with sweetheart neckline and cute bow detail. The Jemima high heels ensure a wiggle in your step! Combine with polka dots which feature heavily with the pin up look and accessorise with the Carrie bag and Love is the air sunglasses for that essential cat eye finish.

For a super easy rockabilly style outfit, you can never go wrong with a great pair of high waisted jeans like the Rebel Kate combined with a fabulous tee with attitude, like the Arizona Western t-shirt.  Just pop a turn up on the bottom of the jeans and accessorise with the Rebel Girl pin and a classic polka dot bandana to complete the look.

A nautical nod is so simple but so effective. Combine the basics of navy and white stripes with a little dash of red to create a winning look. With a few pieces in these colours, you can make multiple outfits too so they’re a great investment. The Matilde skirt is a great staple to have and will go with so many tops, but works particularly well with the Shelly for this look. To keep shoulders warm, you can add some sailorette chic with the Doreen cardigan and finish off with effortlessly cool espadrilles.

If you’re on a budget, look at expanding your vintage accessories range. They’re cheaper to buy but really make an impact. Whether it’s adding a hair flower, some jewellery or a vintage style hat, they’re simple ways to change the styling of your existing wardrobe without breaking the bank. Also consider your hair and make up which makes a huge difference. Red lips and black eyeliner will instantly give that vintage feel to your outfits as will practicing your perfect pin curl set.

It’s easy to create a retro inspired look and I hope you enjoy trying some of these ideas out and finding which one (or more!) is your vintage style.

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