Fashion has changed a lot since the ‘50s, and each of these decades had a defining aesthetic and trend. And while not many of us would want to walk around in full-blown vintage outfits, there are absolutely ways to incorporate vintage trends into your clothing while still feeling modern.
There are lots of places to shop for vintage or even vintage-inspired clothing. Poshmark, Ebay, and Etsy are all online options where you can find vintage clothes. But if you aren’t in the mood to hunt, Unique Vintage and ModCloth both have some great vintage-inspired options. And then there’s always the old-fashioned way — head out to your local thrift store and see what you can find.
But even if you’re not shopping at actual vintage or vintage-inspired stores, fashion is circular, so if you keep your eyes open you’ll probably be able to find a lot of these trends at regular stores for a modern take on all these looks.
A-line dresses were the classic ‘50s cut, and with how flattering this style is there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be today. It helps to create that hourglass figure no matter what your body shape is, and it’s the perfect spring choice, especially in a floral print.
Puff sleeves can also give a dress an added retro touch. For classy dresses with a bit of a retro feel (but that still feel modern), I love to shop the Rachel Parcell collection at Nordstrom. But her line sells out quickly, so you have to be fast!
And while we’re at it, let’s bring back the house dress. There’s no reason why we can’t wear a dress in our day-to-day life.
One-Piece Bathing Suits
With spring coming up you’ll probably start to think about swimsuits again. But before you go out and pick up an itsy bitsy bikini, consider bringing some 1950s style into your swimwear and op for a one-piece. Retro-inspired suits are super flattering and can still look very modern.
Styles that have skirts or a boyshort cut can also help to give you that hourglass figure and were common swimsuit styles in the ‘50s.
High-waisted shorts are seriously the best thing! If you were to search ‘5os spring outfit, I promise you it would not be long before you came across these babies. The high waist will help make your legs look longer and help you avoid the dreaded muffin top. So if you’ve been a low or mid-rise girl your whole life, it might be time to make the switch.
Dress Up More
One big trend of the 1950s was dressing up! They didn’t wear casual clothes the way that we do now and instead embraced looking put together for virtually all activities, even sleeping. A pretty nightgown or chemise is always the way to go!
Go All Out In Mod
One mark of the ‘60s was the mod influence entering fashion for the first time. Spring is the perfect time to play around with that a bit! Big and often funky prints were really in. So for an old-school take on boho, find a print like this but in a more structured fabric.
The Mini Skirt
You can’t talk about ‘60s fashion without the miniskirt. That’s when it was first invented! We can actually attribute a lot of modern fashion to the ‘60s. It doesn’t have to be super short either, just structured and a little above the knee. Add some funky boots for a true ‘60s vibe!
The Layered Mini
'60s girls loved to layer under their mini dresses, and you should too! It actually makes the perfect transitional outfit for spring, when you're trying to mix it up between your summer and winter wardrobes.
If the miniskirts of the ‘60s had a counter-reaction, it was definitely the bohemian maxi dresses of the ‘70s. This is very much in style today and is an easy outfit in the spring or summer. Just add sandals!
A simple graphic t-shirt quickly became a casual style essential for the ‘70s. You can easily find lots of cute options in stores or online. Bonus points if the collar or sleeve is a different color than the body of the shirt!
If there was a go-to hairstyle for a girl in the ‘70s, it was the long waves, maybe with a loose, bohemian braid added. This is your sign to grow out those locks!
Corduroy was huge in the ‘70s! So consider switching out your jeans for a pair of corduroy pants this spring. Although, I will say that when I wear them I notice they’re warmer than my jeans, so you may want to trade out the pants and overall version for a corduroy skirt on warmer days.
And hey, because a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few different ‘70s style looks that emulate that era really well.
Every Girl Must Own a Scrunchie
I’m pretty sure owning a scrunchie was obligatory for women in the 1980s. The fun accessory is not only cute, but it’s also better for your hair than normal elastic hair ties! So while you might not be hoping for the big teased hair to come back, the scrunchie is always a good look.
'80s ladies were all about those brightly colored geometric prints. I mean, what else can possibly compete with the scrunchie holding up your high pony? Or make a powerful impression on the men at work? A power print.
Another trendy item during the ‘80s was the oversized blazer. I think this look is really cute, especially if the bottoms you choose are more fitted to help balance it out. It’s perfect for that transitional period of spring as a layer for when it’s chilly out.
If you want an in-depth rundown of the ‘90s fashion that’s coming back into style, I have a whole article on it. But one thing that was trendy during the ‘90s and that’s come back recently is animal print. You might traditionally think of this as being for fall and winter, but it can just as easily work in spring with an animal print sweater or top over shorts or a skirt.
If you’re lost on how to wear boyfriend jeans now that skinny jeans are out, we’ve got the answers right here. This style was super popular during the ‘90s with everyone from moms to non-moms, and we love the classic Americana look that’s come back into style.
Fashion has changed a lot since the 1950s, and I think everybody probably has a decade they love the most. The great thing is there’s no reason why you can’t adopt the bits and pieces you love from each!