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A Guide to Creating Retro Styles by Mixing Vintage and Modern Clothing

Mixing the old and the new is nothing new, but in terms of fashion, it’s an amazing way to provide contrast and make a stylistic impact. For anybody looking to get the balance right, here’s how you can create striking retro styles by mixing vintage and modern clothing.

Start Small

There is no need to overhaul your wardrobe completely; make the most of what you already have and see how you can supplement it.

For example, if you have a men’s Harrington jacket, this is considered both modern and retro in men’s fashion and was incredibly popular in the 1950s and 60s, being worn by icons like Elvis Presley and James Dean and was a key part of the Mod culture in the 70s and 80s. You can combine this jacket with modern basics like a t-shirt and jeans, creating a balanced look that incorporates the vintage element without looking too costumey.

You can also start smaller by incorporating vintage pieces like sunglasses, hats, or scarves into your wardrobe, in doing so, you can experiment with vintage fashion without getting overwhelmed by the overall look.

Get the Balance Right

In addition to combining pieces, for example, a vintage waistcoat with modern trousers, there are other approaches that you can take. For instance, if you have a vintage piece like a maxi dress, you can have it altered by a tailor. Proper fit is key when it comes to mixing vintage and modern, and lots of people use a vintage item of clothing for its impact without necessarily paying attention to how it fits them. The right fit is key because this adds that extra polish when you’re mixing the vintage and modern.

Likewise, you should steer clear of wearing vintage pieces that are too oversized, especially when you compare this with modern, looser items, which can result in an overall sloppy look. When you’re pairing a vintage piece that is oversized, and you are not having it altered, you need to ensure it matches slim modern items, for example, skinny jeans with a Harrington jacket.

When putting together an outfit, consider the overall balance of proportions and be aware of the overall silhouette. Creating that balanced look is so important, and this also means avoiding wearing all loose or all tight pieces- balance can be about fitted and flared or long and short and other contrasts.

Combine Textures and Patterns

Combining both textures and patterns can add depth and visual interest. For example, vintage textured gloves with a 1940s lace dress or velvet with leather.

When you mix textures, this creates distinct layers resulting in a more dynamic look. However, when mixing patterns, you need to vary the pattern scales as this will avoid clashing. When creating visual interest, be sure not to overwhelm the eye, so if you are new to mixing patterns, choose one standout print as the focal point of your outfit and then build the rest of your look around this statement piece, as competing patterns look very muddled and chaotic.

Additionally, when you are incorporating patterns, you don’t have to alter the clothing, as accessories are an easy way to incorporate them without going overboard. Statement earrings, a printed scarf, or a patterned bag can add that pop to an outfit. As you gain confidence, you can be bolder with colour combinations, but at the very outset, work pairing prints and textures in similar or contemporary colour palettes, and these complementary colours can make a big difference to the overall aesthetic.

Opt for Statement Pieces

When you are incorporating vintage into your look, be sure to choose one or two bold pieces as the focal point, like a waistcoat or a dress with an eye-catching print or figure, which is key to mixing vintage and modern.

You can build the rest of your outfit around the statement pieces with modern basics and accessories, but avoid mixing too many of these bold vintage items together. When looking for vintage pieces, do not be afraid to have fun. Choosing statement vintage pieces is all about expressing your personal style, and it can be very easy to be modest, but mixing both styles is about adding those perfect finishing touches.

The great thing about vintage is that it’s always going to look stylish to you because that’s how you view it. Creating your own distinctive retro style by blending vintage and modern fashion can be a case of trial and error, but regardless of how you feel, the most important thing is to express who you are. Enjoy the process of finding vintage items that you can pair up with your modern clothing, and as you increase in confidence, you will develop that sense of adventure and, more importantly, your own signature style.

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