Saturday, June 11, 2011

Retro VS Dated

Retro VS Dated
Let me preface this with the fact that I am in no way qualified to write this, but this idea has been bouncing around in my head since reading Sal's comment from her latest article on Trend Awareness. She responded to a commenter saying, "As for the line between frumpy and retro, that is a tough one. I’ll have to give it some thought! Anyone else care to weigh in?" So here's my answer:

Head to Toe
Dressing from head to toe in a certain decades trends is the Number One way to looking outdated. Wearing bell bottoms, a fringed vest, and a headband is more likely to make a person look like they've just stepped through a time warp than out of an editorial. We've all seen "that person" who looks like they haven't updated their closet since high school - 20 years ago. There are times where head to toe vintage can come off as polished, but that brings us to:

Cut and Fit
Remember the 80s and those big shouldered blazers? Everything had shoulder pads? Look in a magazine or at your favorite fashion online rag and you'll see celebrities galore with strong shouldered jackets. What makes them look fashion forward instead of frowzy? Fit. Those jackets have slimmed down in the body and sleeves, instead of the boxy bodied shapes of their yesteryears. Wide leg pants have also taken on a new cut. The rise has risen from ultra-low, the width slimmed down, breathing new life into what was a dated cut.

Fit has changed drastically over the years to compensate for the current concept of "beauty". It never hurts to try on that vintage dress, because it may fit better than it's modern counterpart. Many current pieces are fashioned for hanger appeal, to increase impulse purchases. Vintage pieces were cut to fit bodies. So try things out, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Print
Browse through any thrift store and you're bound to find garish prints that haven't looked modern in decades. Prints can date even the most modern cut garment. There's been a resurgence of "Grandma's Couch" florals in recent years. These items look instantly dated, even on the shelf. (In my opinion) It can be hard to overcome a dated looking print.

Modernize!
Fear not, fashion-lovers! Those vintage pieces don't need to languish in your closet until the fashion cycle turns around. Refresh your pieces by pairing them with modern counterparts, accessories and shoes. Try a large statement necklace with that 50s style dress. How about that fringed vest with a pair of skinny jeans? Try vamping up that dated print with fresh color pairings. Mix a 60s dress with a 20s cloche hat. Try taking things to the tailor to be hemmed or altered to better fit you.

What you think makes a garment dated? Do you wear vintage, and if so, how do you keep it fresh? When is it time to say goodbye to an outdated piece?

Commenter Audi says: "I'd also add that fabric is another thing that dates vintage pieces. For instance I love 60's mod styles, but find that I can't get past the polyester fabrics so often used back then; I'd much rather have a 60's-style garment in a modern fabric, or else hold out for the really high quality vintage stuff in wool or silk."

7 comments:

  1. I agree so much with the "Grandma's Couch" florals. Just say no! Ha! Most of my wardrobe is thrifted, and as I am history obsessed, I LOVE vintage clothes. One of the reasons I love them so much, is that they fit better, they're tailored for real bodies. I have a classic hourglass figure, and modern clothes make me look terrible. 30's-50's dresses etc.. make me feel good, because they look so good! I look for timeless, classic fabrics, first of all, then I look at cut. If the fabric isn't great, I'll pass.

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  2. Great post! I have been wanting to wear more vintage pieces.. but great ones are soooo hard to find where I live. :(
    This gives me something to think about when I ever have the opportunity to go to a vintage shop. Thanks for posting!

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  3. what a great post! i love vintage pieces, and almost cannot buy new pieces now!

    <3 steffy
    Steffys Pros and Cons

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  4. I agree with head to toe. ESPECIALLY if you lived the decade. For example, I like all the eighties styles going around right now but if I'm not super careful on cut, style, combining it with modern pieces. I end up looking like I just never updated my wardrobe. You know that lady, I call her practical. As for the floral, grandma chic. I disagree there is a certian type of person small little sprites that can totally carry this off. My favorite is a blog called Dottie Angel. Dang that woman wears grandma chic like nobodies biz and she looks right in it.

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  5. @ Dhamma - Oh, I'm sure there are people who can totally pull off "Grandma chic", but there are also people who can pull off boho, grunge, etc without looking dated and those who can't. Which is why I qualified with *can be*. There are exceptions to every rule. ;]

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  6. This is spot on, Megan! Many people think that because 80's styles are back they can now re-wear their (or their parents') old 80's clothes, but the fact is that those styles have been reworked for modern sensibilities. I totally agree that it's possible to work individual vintage items into a current looking outfits by mixing them with modern pieces, but wearing head to toe says that you're still stuck in whatever decade you're channeling.

    I'd also add that fabric is another thing that dates vintage pieces. For instance I love 60's mod styles, but find that I can't get past the polyester fabrics so often used back then; I'd much rather have a 60's-style garment in a modern fabric, or else hold out for the really high quality vintage stuff in wool or silk.

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  7. @ Audi - That is a really great point. I'm going to add that above. Thanks for the feedback.

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