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What goes around comes around, especially in the fashion world. While designers are constantly looking for innovative new ideas to make their fashion a statement, they also rely on the past to inspire their latest looks. Particularly for 2018, fashion is circling back to the 1950s through the 1990s, making vintage the hottest new accessory. With all the retro revivals coming up for next season, it might be time to raid Mom's closet for the retro fashions that are finally making a comeback.
Nobody can argue that a kicking pair of bell-bottom jeans was the style staple of the 1970s. The versatile style suited both men and women alike, and flattered a wide variety of body types to create the ultimate denim dream. While nobody expected the wide-legged style to make a major comeback, the retro cut has been slowly replacing skinny jeans as the pop culture’s reigning trend.
To update the vintage look for 2018, search for a pair of high waisted jeans to emphasize a feminine waistline. For those concerned about the heavy aesthetic of bell-bottoms, consider complimenting the outfit with a pair of sleek high heels, as the added inches will help stretch your proportions and lighten the look. As with any flared pants, be sure to tailor your denim to your perfect height to prevent tripping over your own legs.
Following after the revival of the romper just a few years ago, jumpsuits have been making a comeback as an effortless and comfortable alternative for cool girls across the nation. Jumpsuits are an easy all-in-one option for both day and night that looks daringly fashion-forward.
While most of us think of Elvis Presley’s iconic glittering white ensemble when considering this vintage inspired clothing, today’s jumpsuit is available in a wide variety of silhouettes and materials to flatter all women. While all women will have their preferred style that can ultimately only come from trying on multiple pieces, one overarching rule to remember is to seek out jumpsuits that define the waistline. Furthermore, solid jumpsuits are a great option for those looking to casually attempt the trend without overwhelming their body.
While this warm and cozy fabric has been around since the 12th century, velvet is best known for dominating the 1990s as the top material for the fashion forward. Who could ever forget George’s infamous velvet tracksuit on Seinfeld? From major pieces to the tiniest of accessories, velvet has always been a wardrobe staple for anyone looking to exude luxury.
While draping yourself in velvet like George is still not socially acceptable, there are many alternatives to wearing this vintage fabric today. Seek out bold colors and patterns in smaller items to add a pop of retro to any modern outfit, or look for velvety pieces in modern cuts to keep the style from feeling outdated.
While athleisure has made recent strides as the chic alternative to workout clothes, a new revival of vintage sportswear has also been stirring up the scene, particularly among college students. Harkening back to the 1980s and 1990s when fitness gurus ruled the airways, vintage sportswear focuses on incorporating bright colors into comfortable pieces for everyday use.
The biggest element of this retro trend is the focus on tracksuit bottoms, which have been modernized into today’s slimcut joggers. To keep the ensemble from looking fresher than Fresh Prince of Bel Air, balance larger, bulkier pieces with slimmer cuts. While the retro sportswear trend is an excellent excuse to break out your old letterman jacket, inexpensive stores such as Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 have begun to carry their own throwback pieces to help you look good while working out.
Following in the same vein as the comeback of super wide-legged pants, bell sleeves bring us back to the era in which bigger was better. Borrowed from the 18th century but popularized in America in the 1970s, bell sleeves dominated the scene by providing a simple yet dramatic element to any top. This flowy, breezy look is the ultimate feminine staple.
This season, bell sleeves can be found on every type of garment, making the trend easily accessible and very versatile. To modernize this vintage fashion, look for simple pieces and outfits that allow the bell sleeve to shine as the centerpiece. Try to avoid loud prints and colors, as too much detail combined with extra fabric can easily overwhelm any frame.
For those who obsessed over Olivia Newton-John’s ultra-feminine costumes as Sandy in Grease prior to her bad girl transformation, the classic 1950s swing skirt is coming back better than ever. Popularized during the 1950s as a light and comfortable alternative to heavy petticoats, swing skirts were perfect for the multitude of dancing teens at sock hops.
While a tea-length skirt may have been risqué back in the day, swing skirts are now the epitome of elegance and class. Much like flared jeans, swing skirts create a ladylike shape by cinching at the waistline before flaring out to the knees. To keep the look young, seek out lightweight materials in simple patterns to create a feminine aesthetic, and pair with daring modern pieces such as fun high heels, tight tees, and statement jewelry.
Have band tees ever been outdated? Band tees have been around for decades, serving as both a representation of the personal style and cherished concert memories for many. One of the most versatile trends, band tees fit in a variety of style aesthetics. Pair with chunky heeled booties, dark jeans, and a cool jacket for a cool rebellious look, or throw on joggers and crisp white sneakers for a comfortable athlete-chic.
Many clothing stores, such as Urban Outfitters, sell replicas of classic band tees so all generations can embrace the trend. However, the absolute best place to find vintage tees is a local thrift store, where bargain-seekers can pick up piles of shirts for a few dollars. You may have to spend a few hours digging through racks to get to the good stuff—like shirts with some of the best band names—but a good vintage band tee will never go out of style.
Ruffles are one of the oldest fashion trends on the list, dating all the way back to 15th century aristocracy. From European queens to America’s very own Prince, ruffles have always served as a whimsical, eye-catching element in any outfit. Today, oversized layered ruffles serve as the centerpiece of many of Rihanna’s most memorable red carpet looks. This ultra-feminine trend can serve as either a small detail or a large statement, making it one of the most wearable retro fashions.
Although it is easy to classify ruffles as childish, there are many unique applications that allow for a more mature look. For those hesitant about the trend, try starting with smaller elements, such as trimming details or collar accents, and slowly build up to a bolder ensemble. Be sure to incorporate more sophisticated accessories, such as a great pair of high heels or elegant statement jewelry, to prevent the look from appearing too girly for an adult.
The peasant top has always been around in some form or another, but has recently resurfaced in its original hippie glory. As discovered by the counterculture of the 1960s and reinvented by boho-chic brands such as Anthropologie and Free People, peasant tops are vibrant yet comfortable option for nearly every fashion situation. Consisting of lightweight materials and often including intricate detail work, these tops are the perfect transition piece to take all wardrobes from summer into fall.
Since they are available in so many different styles and patterns, peasant tops flatter every wearer. When shopping for this trend, be sure to understand how different waistlines will shape your body, particularly since some tops may include adjustable drawstring closures. For those seeking a more authentic look. Many vintage stores have rows of shirts dedicated to this style, as it dominated the markets for nearly three decades.
Slip dresses are the perfect excuse to wear your pajamas out of the house. Consisting of a lightweight fabric cut in a simple, straight pattern, slip dresses provide comfort while also maintaining an air of risqué. In true 90s fashion, the slip dress was commonly paired with chokers, chunky heels, and butterfly clips, but has now grown up into a sexy yet demure fashion essential.
To keep slip dresses appropriate for the daytime, be sure to incorporate a second layer, such as an embroidered denim jacket on top or a long sleeve white tee underneath. The relaxed fit is also perfect for a night out, as it can easily be paired with heels or booties for. As a result, the slip dress is the perfect day-to-night piece for anybody with a work hard, play hard attitude, and the perfect example of the many retro fashions returning in 2018.