Wednesday, March 23, 2011

in retrospect..

I always have a quiet chuckle to myself when I see women wearing “fashionably vintage or retro” clothing when it’s obvious they are unaware of the fashionability of the outfit and just haven’t stopped wearing it since it was originally in fashion. They are easy to spot.

Most often you will see these closet hoarders sporting 90s dresses and skirts (long, floaty and generally shapeless – particularly with a floral print). You might, at first glimpse, think that she is so on the money wearing a swing dress or button-down skirt, but then a memory forces the awful truth upon them. You envision primary school photos where your teacher was wearing the exact outfit. If the wearer was more fashionably-adept, they would have ditched the old version over a decade ago and updated their styling for today (with a generous amount of other stylings inbetween). But somehow the items have remained in the offender’s closet for all eternity (ok, 20 years, but that’s beyond eternity in fashion years) until it reverts back to “in vogue” in the fashion cycle.
Unfortunately for said wearers, rehashed styles or vintage-inspired clothing takes the idea from a vintage piece and modernises it – a fresh take on an old recipe. These ladies are sporting cheese fondue on brown and orange dinnerware.

Vintage or retro styling should be done with careful consideration. Whether you have a for-real vintage piece or something vintage-inspired, it’s important to keep the rest of your styling up to date. Wearing multiple vintage pieces at once could result in looking like you’ve just inherited granny’s closet. Contrasting a vintage dress with (for example) a legging and statement modern shoe can take your look from op-shop outcast to fashion forward. Even something as simple as adding a modern belt can update an older piece. Alternatively, keeping the rest of your look very simple (ie, plain and up-to-date shoes/accessories that don’t draw attention) take your vintage piece into the limelight.

Vintage deserves to be the focus of your outfit. Don’t rain on its parade.

I think the younger you are the more you can get away with. If you’re wearing a full-on vintage or retro outfit it’s obvious you haven’t been pre-emptively storing it since you were 2. You can probably go all out. If you were an adult when the item was fashionable the first time around, proceed with caution!


  1. Hilarious. This is so true, especially of the 90s 'grunge' revival that seems to be so trendy right now. I saw a baggy, ugly cable knit cardigan go for $101 bucks on Trademe the other day - is this for real?! 90s is not vintage, people. 90s is pretty much just last decade.

  2. That is pretty funny stuff! 90's is not vintage at all! Wish people would get the memo! There is some really cool vintage stuff on Stop Staring.