5 ways to style your vintage outfits

Fashion trends come and go throughout the years, but vintage fashion never really goes out of style. Truly, vintage outfits are still going strong, especially among celebrities. In fact, recently, it was almost like the entire internet was absolutely obsessed with the current ‘it girl’ Sofia Richie’s vintage fits- especially the captivating vintage custom fitted fall 1993 Coco Chanel dress that she wore during her wedding. Gone are the days when the ‘Kim Kardashian-esque’ party girl outfits ruled the fashion world, now more and more people are leaning into the more sophisticated vintage chic look.

Feeling like changing up your current style? What better way than to dig around for your mom’s or even your grandmother’s closets for some gorgeous vintage clothing and accessories to spruce up your modern wardrobe! However, it is important to note that having a stylish vintage fit is much more than just throwing on your grandma’s old cardigan and calling it a day. Scroll away to find out our top 5 ways to style your vintage outfits!

Start small by centering around one vintage piece

For those of you that are complete novices when it comes to mixing and matching vintage garments with your outfits, you can not go wrong by centering your modern outfit around one vintage piece. The thing about vintage pieces is that pairing two or more of them can actually break a look- if you have a vintage item that you love but does not fit into the rest of your wardrobe, our best advice would be to wear it on its own, or just keep it simple. It may be a piece with a bold print, vibrant shades, embroidery, lace or ruffles or whatever the style was ‘in’ at the time- simply pair it with a neutral piece.

In other words, tone it down by selecting the simplest modern pieces in your wardrobe. If it’s a vintage blouse, try it with a pair of classic straight cut jeans, or wear a simple, neutral dress underneath a bright, beaded cardigan. Shirt-waist dresses look great on their own, and high-waist swing skirts are the perfect vintage piece to be paired with printed t-shirts, modern cardigan or a black leather jacket.

Moreover, you can always start off by rocking a vintage accessory instead of clothing.

It is even easier to create trendy combinations with vintage bags, sunglasses, belts, and more. In fact, vintage bags and sunglasses are often utilized by designers on the runaways all the time, as they add elegance to the combinations, despite those pieces not being available for purchase anymore, unlike their runaway pieces. So don’t be afraid to subtly add some vintage to your modern outfit, like a vintage scarf or bag. For a novice, we advise that you start with something straightforward such as pairing a mini dress, skirt or slacks from a contemporary designer with a vintage bag or scarf. We also recommend matching instead of contrasting the colours of your modern outfit and vintage piece in this instance, for a more seamless and put together look. Truly, when it comes to rocking only one vintage item, it is best to look at Audrey Hepburn- nothing says elegance more than a touch of vintage, such as a neatly bow-topped alice band or jaunty striped silk neck scarf.

Other than bags and scarves, you could also rock vintage jewelry. Whether it is a classic piece or representing a specific era, earrings, necklaces, rings, or bracelets can all work well with your outfit. You can even try playing with the antique brooches that your grandmother is so fond of- those quirky little pieces would look great when added to tops, shirts, a hat, or attached to a material belt. You would be surprised how much a vintage brooch can elevate the most basic outfit.

In a nutshell, using multiple loud vintage pieces can easily drown out any contemporary items you add. Keep in mind that you want to blend vintage and modern for the outfit. Some vintage pieces may look too outdated on their own, but once you combine it with simple, clean, and modern elements, it turns into a trendy outfit that everyone would absolutely die for.

Keep your hair and makeup looking clean and modern

While vintage garments are always in fashion, our mom’s thick blue eyeliner and 70s shaggy hairdo unfortunately do not make the cut. While there are some vintage makeup and hair styles that are still considered trendy these days, rocking it with a vintage fit can be entirely too overwhelming. We recommend a style of makeup that is fresh, simple, and natural-looking. Focus more on enhancing all of your natural features without looking heavy or overly made-up.

Think ‘off duty model’ vibes, like a natural-looking beat that focuses on dewy, glowing skin. The best way to achieve this is by putting on some tinted moisturizer, slightly darkening your natural brows while keeping it fluffy, dabbing on soft pink liquid blush, muted rose gold highlighter and chiseling your jaw and nose contour very lightly with a subtle, warm toned bronzer. Throw in some slicked-back hair, delicate gold accessories and you’ve nailed it. If you find the quintessential “clean girl” hair style not very flattering for your face shape, you can always jazz it up- instead of slicked- back hair, try a sleek bun with a center part, leaving a few wispy strands out to frame the face. You could also switch things up from the sleek bun with a polished pony worn low, right at the nape of the neck, that radiates glass-like shine.

Rock the vintage statement jacket

There’s something about a vintage statement jacket; it can completely transform your look, taking it from good to fabulous in an instant. You can throw one over jeans and a turtleneck and look put together without feeling overdressed.

For example, if you have a beaded or embroidered jacket, pair it with a pair of neutral tone bottoms- to look even more put together, make sure the buttons on your jacket and bottoms match, and always allow the jacket to be center stage by toning down the rest of your outfit to better highlight your gorgeous vintage piece in a harmonious way.

If you’ve ever looked at a vibrant-hued vintage coat and thought “Can I pull that off?”, we’re here to tell you that yes, you can, just make sure to contrast the bright tone with neutrals like white, beige and black. To sum it up, the rule of thumb is if your vintage jacket is a hot color or a bold print, stick to neutral or dark pieces. One of our favourite ways to rock a vintage jacket would definitely be to pair it with a mini jumper dress and knee high boots with a small heel, for that subtle, sexy yet elegant look.

Mix vintage tops with modern pieces

In our opinion, the best way to mix vintage tops with a modern piece is to go for the contemporary look. All the best designers love to do it, such as Ralph Lauren, who often adds a touch of vintage and antique to his overall, ultra preppy ‘American dream’ aesthetic. The best way to emulate this is to pair a light denim jacket over a vintage top, straight cut neutral pants with a pair of saddle shoes. For those of you that prefer a more feminine vibe, try rocking a vintage collarless jacket with a plain white tee and black midi skirt, making sure to give it an edge with a large tote.

If you prefer a more modern street style take, we recommend just rocking a vintage top with a modern pair of pants. The iconic Jennie Kim from Blackpink completely nails this combo- who could forget her legendary combination of cargo pants with a vintage, 1990s Chanel ribbed crop top? Absolutely chic and stunning, as well as quite easy to recreate. One of our favourite laid back and casual looks that mirrors this would be to pair a vintage shirt with a pair of boot cut jeans and pointy toe boots or neutral, strappy sandals.

Bear in mind that when it comes to mixing vintage tops with modern clothing, it is important to pick timeless vintage pieces, as you want something that is well made and will stand the test of time. Hence, make sure to double check if you are planning to rock a vintage t-shirt, as there are some logos and designs that can be rather problematic these days if taken out of context.

Mix vintage bottoms with modern pieces

When it comes to mixing vintage bottoms with modern pieces, a plain white-cotton blouse or t-shirt is an essential piece to a modern vintage wardrobe. It is basic enough to be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the cut and material of your vintage bottoms. When it comes to choosing vintage bottoms, it is better to go for high-waist pants and shorts over low-rise bottoms, as high-waist bottoms add a vintage signature to any outfit. The cut is often very flattering on any body type because it elongates the hips and waist, and can be paired with just about any modern top.

That being said, be more daring! Vintage bottoms don’t just mean old school denim cuts- it also means cigarette pants, high waisted trousers, dungarees, french silk high waist midi skirts, you name it. It is a lot easier to put together a cohesive look when you are pairing a modern top with a vintage bottom, so don’t be afraid to rock some fun eclectic fits. Some of our favourite modern vintage fits would be to pair a simple white collared blouse with a vintage silk skirt with structured ruched detailing along the waist, for an ultra feminine yet effortless date look.

Modern vintage is all about blending vintage-style garments with high-street clothing, so you should not worry too much about whether your outfit is the ‘right’ mix of the two styles. Fashion is always, first and foremost, personal and fun, so we hope you can take some inspiration from our tips here and curate your perfect vintage outfit.

If you don’t own any vintage or modern garments that would go great together, worry not- you can always get gorgeous vintage styled clothing as well as key modern pieces from Isetan or Pedro, right here at Atome.

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