Because tweed suits aren’t just for grandmas anymore.
For the most part, high fashion has always been about the next great thing. What are the newest, hippest, most progressive ways to dress? How can we innovate basic pieces to make them look new and fresh?
But did you know that some of the most cost-effective and stylish staples for your wardrobe can actually be found tucked away in grandma’s closet? It’s true. In the past few years, fashion has seen a heavy resurgence in mid-century silhouettes – think A-line dresses, cinched waists, and cigarette pants a la Audrey Hepburn – thanks in part to wildly successful shows like AMC’s Mad Men.
While Betty Draper and Peggy Olsen may always look perfectly coiffed against the backdrop of late 60’s New York, a modern day working woman may look a bit out of place sporting bouffant hair and an apron to the office. Trying to work quirky vintage pieces into a fresh, stylish wardrobe may seem a little daunting if it’s not Halloween. In a worst case scenario, the result could turn out to be kitschy and costume-y. But there is a way to integrate darling thrift store finds and granny’s hand-me-downs in a way that looks chic and fashion forward.
Keep It Simple:
This is my style mantra regardless of what I’m trying to wear. The more complicated the look, the more it looks like the clothes are wearing you. And this can go double for the bright patterns and volume characteristic of some period pieces. So the key then is to choose one feature or piece of clothing to accentuate and keep the rest fairly basic. If you’re really into a printed pair of high-waisted, ankle length pants, keep the top simple so as not to overwhelm the outfit. If you’re in love with a beautiful 60’s-inspired dress in a bold color, choose a dress in a slightly shorter length to keep from overwhelming your frame and looking like you’re playing dress-up.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled at the Local Thrift Store:
If you know what to look for, you can create an entirely original, chic outfit out of repurposed thrift store finds. You may have completely overlooked that $12 faux fur, floor length coat without realizing that all it needs is a good dry cleaning, a pair of simple black pants, and some red flats. Boom! You’re ready for cocktails after work.
Don’t Be Afraid to Do a Little Altering:
You should know before venturing into the world of vintage that while the silhouettes are back in style, the fit may not be. And when it comes to incorporating the old and the new, fit is essential. So a little more work may be involved in your look than if you were to just go pick up something from Macy’s. But fit is what keeps the look chic instead of frumpy. It may take a little more effort, but an inch off of a hemline can completely transform a dress. Again, the key here is for you to wear the clothes. Don’t let the clothes wear you.
Divide and Conquer:
You know those horrible tweed skirt suits that your great Aunt May used to wear to church? Pretty cringe-worthy, no? Actually not. The key here is to not wear them together. A head to toe vintage look is a sure-fire way to look dated and silly instead of stylish. Instead, opt to separate the pieces to create different outfits. And remember that basics are always your friend. Solid, neutral colors act as anchors for funkier, more fun pieces. Think whites, blacks, grays, navy blues, and metallics. Yes, metallics can be neutrals. So grab that tweed jacket, throw on some dark denim, and head to the luncheon.
Most importantly, have fun. Vintage clothes are a cool and unique way to amp up everyday outfits. They have character that just you don’t find in most modern clothing. Just remember to not take it too seriously and be open-minded. And if all else fails, a little red lipstick can pull just about any look together.
To help ease you into vintage-wear, take a look at these adorable and versatile pieces from ModCloth.