Have you ever stepped into your closet, found your favorite vintage dress, curled your hair up into darling pin curls, slapped on some red lipstick and thought you looked divine? Then, you look in the mirror and look like you just stepped out of a Halloween costume catalog? There’s a difference between rocking a fabulous vintage look and looking totally overdone. More times than not, it’s a fine line to walk.
Personally, I feel my best when I’m able to get up, shower and pull myself together before the day begins. As a stay-at-home mom of two children younger than five, that does not happen every single day. Wrangling them, feeding them, dressing them and entertaining them while trying to get ready myself means that I’m usually in leggings and an oversized t-shirt more times than I’d like to admit.
Still, for a special date night, presentation or day out on the town, there’s nothing like adding a little pizzazz to your look. Special, strategic vintage touches are a great way to achieve this! Yet, to avoid looking like someone trapped in a time machine, it’s helpful to add the effect in small stages. Here are a few ways to inject a little throwback personality into your wardrobe, hair and makeup in a way that’s still totally modern and “you.”
1. Always go for a bold lip.
Nothing gives me confidence like a great, bold lipstick. Wearing one just automatically makes you feel more vibrant. Even if you aren’t wearing a lick of makeup, a bold lip takes care of everything else and completes your face. While the most true-to-vintage tone would be a bright cherry red, you don’t have to stick with this shade.
If you’d rather go with more of a nude tone, try a deep mauve. Those dusty pinks are perfect for autumn and give you color and definition without going over the top!
2. Try a little curl.
You don’t have to do a fancy updo straight out of the 1950s, although there is certainly a time and place for such elegance. Nor do you have to do all-over ringlet curls reminiscent of Shirley Temple, even though today’s clamp-free curling wands have brought those voluminous waves back in style! Rather, start with just a little bit of curl, focusing on the strands that frame your face.
Doing so gives your hair a soft, touchable appearance and still makes it look like you spent some time on it. You can also incorporate a few fun braids and incorporate some seventies vibes into your look! Today, you can find almost any way to wear any hairstyle. From colored tips to fauxhawks, there is a slew of edgy looks that can work well with a vintage wardrobe.
Of course, if you’re going to be applying any kind of heat treatment to your strands, be sure they’re protected first. It helps to make sure your hair is as strong as possible before you begin, so it can withstand the application. The folks at Cuvee recommend mixing a moisturizing solution of hyaluronic acid and B vitamins into your shampoo and conditioner to give your hair a break and treat any damage.
3. Wear shoes you can walk in.
Nothing ruins your vintage look or kills your confidence like a wardrobe that includes shoes that wreck your feet. Though they can look fabulous, sky-high stilettos are only truly appropriate and practical in a handful of situations, none of which most of us encounter on a daily basis.
That’s not to say you have to totally ditch style for comfort and leave the house wearing your slippers every day! Now, there are plenty of cute, affordable footwear options that include vintage touches. From flat Mary Janes to wedged espadrilles, you’ll have your share of options. The top rule of thumb? Just be sure you can walk comfortably and confidently in them and you’ll be turning heads in no time.
4. Find one feature to flaunt.
Do you love your legs? Why not rock a miniskirt from the nineties (now considered vintage!) and show off those gams? Crazy about your neckline? Choose a pretty, lower-cut blouse from the 1950s and let it shine!
One of the great things about vintage clothing is that most of it was designed to accentuate a woman’s assets. That’s why those semi-sheer, button-downs are so gorgeous. They aren’t form-fitting. They hide a multitude of shortcomings and look great on just about everyone. The same goes for cigarette pants, tweed blazers, pleated day dresses and more.
Think about which parts of your body you’re most proud of and what you want to display, then look for a few pieces that allow you to do just that the next time you’re at your local thrift store. One way to keep your vintage look from venturing into over-the-top territory? Stick to one or two areas. That means if you go with a shorter skirt, consider opting for a more modest blouse, and vice versa.
Finding Your Vintage Look and Never Looking Back
We all want to feel and look our best, though most of us are hard-pressed to find the time and energy to do so. That’s where vintage comes in. Inherently stylish, the designs of bygone eras were infinitely more intentional, creative and well-made than most of the items you can find today for the same price point.
Whether your idea of a great vintage look is a floral day dress with pockets or a rockabilly checkered blouse with a bandana, you can’t go wrong if you follow this one cardinal rule: Dress for you and no one else. Invest in the pieces that bring you alive and make you smile. That way, regardless of what anyone else thinks, you’ll know you’re rocking it.