Vintage dresses usually fall into two schools of thought: 1) You think of Doris-Day-like figures in gingham dresses canning jam and college girls in berets bent over cups of cappuccinos, discussing Proust, or 2) you think frump.
You're either romantic or frumpy, but in either category you have no idea what to do with the piece. If you haven't had a chance to dabble in vintage yet and allow yourself some trial and error, then the whole thing can seem intimidating. Some girls can pull it off but I'm just not one of them, you think. It's pretty, but just doesn't fit your style.
Want me to prove you wrong? Keep reading.
It's all about having a few vintage styling tricks handy. You need to know what to slick down and what to modernize to not feel like you're wearing an estate sale costume, and I've found that the easiest way to do that is to focus on one thing: Accessories.
It's really as simple as that. Take this look for example. This full number has the potential to be overwhelmingly feminine, but I gave it a quieter voice by matching it against modern, minimalist pieces. For shoes I went with something on-trend and chose two-strap sandals, and continued to pull the look through to the twenty-first century by pairing it with a simple circle purse and sunglasses in a trendy shape. To tone down the girliness factor I swept my hair up and slicked on some dark, vampy lipstick and called it a success.
Now to imagine how you yourself could style a piece like this, have yourself walk through the possibilities:
- What sort of shoes can you contrast against something so sweet and feminine? How about clunky sandals, pointed lace up flats, gladiator sandals, white sneakers? Try to stick to shoes that not only add a fun contrast against the dress, but are also on-trend styling wise to give it a more obvious modern twist.
- What kind of bag would make this piece feel more modern? Maybe a small leather backback, a clean-lined cross-body bag, or maybe something with some personality like a fringe purse? This way you're either trying to subdue the flamboyancy of the dress (by pairing it with simple, unassuming bags) or you're trying to give it a playful juxtaposition by clashing it with something a little more loud (like a fringe bag or something with pattern or color).
- How else can you make this dress feel more you and more on-trend? Think of what's both popular and timeless right now. Are you known to wear a few dangly necklaces? Do you like to stack rings on your fingers? Love colored aviators? Baseball caps?
By taking some time to figure out the answers to these questions, you can just about make any vintage dress feel not only more modern, but more like you.
For more inspiration, here are some other vintage inspired looks. Study them and think about why they work: (ONE| TWO| THREE| FOUR)
Let's discuss: What's been the most game changing vintage styling tip you've learned?
Want more vintage styling tips? Continue reading:
- The One Tip That'll Finally Get You to Try Vintage
- This Is How To Take Dress Layering to the Next Level
- Don't Like Layers? Experiment with Colors
Purse: c/o New Old Fashion Vintage