Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to (Fake) Vintage

My husband and I are planning to attend a “Roaring Twenties” themed party this weekend, so I spent a good deal of time recently looking through historical fashions of the twenties and then trying to find a modern-day equivalent. It occurred to me that it might be fun to look back through other fashion eras and see what currently available fashions are based on or evocative of vintage styles. Is there a particular era that you always wish you were born in? Just check the list below and you’ll find out where you can get modern styles inspired by that era!

The 1990s
One interesting fact I discovered as I was researching was that even clothes from the 1990s are considered “vintage.” (And apparently I am considered “old.”) So I might as well start with 90s fashions. And what better archetype of 90s fashion trends than the cast of Beverly Hills: 90210? This cast photo shows it all: Baggy jeans with paper bag waists; oversized vests on both genders; tight-fitting dresses in big flowered prints; short, snug skirts; lots of layers. On the opposite end of the fashion spectrum we had the grunge look, with flannel shirts, ripped jeans and tights, oversized sweaters, combat and hiking boots, and Birkenstocks. 

Where to get it

You’ll be mocked if you try to get away with the high-waisted “mom jeans” of the 1990s, but you can pick up a snug-fitting flowered dress just like Donna’s at Forever 21. If you’re just dying for that denim, go with a classic jean jacket or a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans from Old Navy. And Nordstrom Rack still carries both Birkenstocks and Doc Martens (sadly).

The 1980s
Polo shirts with popped collars and a Shetland sweater (worn or, more likely, draped over the shoulders), chinos, and boat shoes (no socks). Neon shirts with pegged jeans and matching neon slouchy socks. Laura Ashley flowered dresses. Suspenders. Legwarmers. Shoulderpads, shoulderpads, shoulderpads.

Where to get it
Pick up a whole rainbow of polo shirts and V-neck sweaters at JC Penney, and pair them with chinos from Sears. For your neon fix, try Hot Topic for a lacy Madonna-esque crop top and two-piece Spandex dress.

Hippie was in! Flower power, bell bottoms, Quiana fabrics, culottes and gauchos, turtlenecks, platform shoes, really ugly earth tones, tribal and ethnic prints, ruffled calico sundresses, embroidery, and the boho look. And let’s not forget prairie dresses. Wait, on second thought, let’s.

Where to get it
Banana Republic carries lots of jeans that echo the 70s with flared legs and gaucho lengths. Boho dresses are everywhere, but this sweet off-the-shoulder peasant dress is from Charlotte Russe. And platform shoes are easy to find, too – check out these cuties from Payless Shoes.

The 1960s
Short, slim dresses in solids, stripes, or psychedelic prints. Middy blouses and twin sets with ankle pants and ballet flats.

Where to get it
Channel your inner Mary Tyler Moore with these ankle pants from The Loft, Peter Pan collared blouse from JC Penney, and back to Payless Shoes for ballet flats. Or go dressy with one of these eye-catching print minidresses from Neiman Marcus. 

The 1950s
50s fashions featured tiny waists, shown off either by fitted bodices and flared skirts or in slim-fitting pencil styles. A more casual look would be either a poodle skirt with a neck scarf or rolled-up boyfriend jeans and a baggy sweater, all worn with ankle socks under saddle shoes, penny loafers, or Keds.

Where to get it
It’s tough to find a full-skirted or fully pencil 50s-style dress in a brick-and-mortar store, but check out a vintage-inspired website like for some gorgeous recreations of 50s looks. To add a 50s flair to your more casual look, head over to Bass Shoes for loafers and saddle shoes.

The 1940s
Square shoulders, hemlines at the knee, A-line skirts, lots of feminine details like ruffles and bows, and oh! the hats. And let’s not forget both one-piece and two-piece rompers!

Where to get it
Hollister carries an entire line of adorable rompers. 40s-style hats are tough to find in a brick-and-mortar store, but check out for a whole collection of vintage-inspired styles, including this elegant felt hat trimmed with a pink ribbon and bow and this pert feather-topped fascinator. 

The 1930s
Long, slim, clingy bias-cut fabrics, draped shoulder details and capelets, and feminine lines were the hallmarks of the 1930s.

Where to get it
This fabulous polka-dot frock from Charlotte Russe catches the 30s fitted hip with the feminine flare below the knee. If it’s the floral prints you love, this flowy chiffon frock from J. Crew may be for you. And if you’re going for true elegance (and don’t mind breaking the bank), this stunning plum bias-cut Vera Wang gown from Saks Fifth Avenue is the ultimate in retro 30s glamour.

Straight, boxy silhouettes, dropped waists, close-fitting cloche hats, and over-the-forehead headbands marked the “flapper” styles of the 1920s. Details like layers of fringe and ruffles, handkerchief hems, feathers, and beading adorned more formal dresses.

Where to get it
Much like the 1950s-style dresses, you’ll have the best luck finding a good approximation of a 1920s dress at an online boutique specializing in vintage-inspired styles. Here are just a few of the terrific – and totally wearable! - retro pieces from and

So…when do YOU wanna be???

Bookmark and Share