The Story Behind Vintage & Retro Fashion

The Story Behind Vintage & Retro Fashion

Retro and vintage fashion has experienced a tremendous resurgence in recent years, and it's easy to understand why. From classic silhouettes to timeless prints, these styles have a unique character and charm that can bring a modern edge to any wardrobe. But where did these looks come from, and how did they become so popular? In this article, we'll take a look at the fascinating story behind retro and vintage fashion.

Vintage & Retro is fun, bright and a great window into the past.We see many celebrities in different vintage inspired outfits. There are many ways to achieve a vintage style, whether its patterns or hair bands it is a classic look. The most important thing is to understand and identify with the retro style, is the style and how it came about. This article will introduce you to the Retro & Vintage fashions from the 50’s to the 80’s. We will guide you through how fashion has changed and the different styles that you can use to complete your Retro look.

The 50’s

Marilyn Munroe

Christian Dior inspired a glamorous look in the 50’s, having created his iconic style in 1947 before encompassing the 50’s retro as a style icon and inspiration for women everywhere.

The ideal body was defined by an hourglass figure, with voluptuous hips and small shoulders, and this was reflected in the fashion. With belts and corset underwear, this helped shape the body making the waist look inches smaller.  The 50’s was a time of much social and radical change and like today, many looked to fashion as a way of expressing themselves. Although still a very conservative era, sexy became something that was understated yet prevailed in the cut of a 50's retro dress or a skirt. Women begun to take care of how they looked. The world looked to Paris to emulate dressing styles. Elegance was in fashion for women with icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe setting the trend.

Grace Kelly

The suburban style, or leisure wear, was popular as well. It was quite a casual style, with sportswear and blouses, along with the corsets and stockings that were still left over from previous fashion eras. The bodice, full hips and waist were accentuated in gorgeous pencil skirts, corseted waists and fitted dresses.

Large coats and umbrella’s were recurring fashion motifs in this era along with glossy high heels the 50’s was a time for high fashion and elegant, flowing dresses. Jeans also increased in popularity paired with saddle shoes and bulky men’s shirts or sleeveless collared tops for a casual look. 

Dress coats became a trend then. These coats were cut with a nipped waist and had a full skirt adding style and figure.


Edgie Sedwick

The swinging sixties was a rebellious, seductive and fun time. John Lennon and The Beatles were at their creative peak. Dark, high, leather boots and patterned shirts, skirts and bandana’s were in as the hippie culture grew larger. Twiggy was a style icon, encompassing the ultra skinny sophisticated look that was the inspiration of the 60’s. Edgie Sedwick and Anita Pallenberg we the it girls.

This was the era of the sexual revolution, fun and frolicking were the order of the day and the fashion reflected this with the use of bright colors and expressive patterns.


Farah Fawcett

The seventies was a time of floresent flowers and the hippy culture. Having come from the swinging 60s, pleated patterns and bright colors were all the rage, and barrets, headbands. Like the 60’s, patterns and the peace symbol were stylish in this time.  Icons such as Farrah Fawcett, Liza Minelli and John Travolta were all setting trends. Hot pants, bell bottoms, platform shoes and flared jeans were all born.

Long, patterned skirts were in style, giving models and every day girls alike a slender, elegant look with a splash of fun.

The glam rock style became featured with many rock bands making their way through. The 70s fashion was expressive and fun.


Princess Diana

The 80’s was a time of psychedelic patterns, big hair and disco fever, following on from the colorful times of the 70’s with flared jeans and large Mohawks it only evolved to even bigger style. 80’s icons like Madonna sported the fun, seductive look of torn jeans and big dyed hair that is iconic of the era. Studded vintage jewelry and clothing also appeared with celebrities lie Cindy Lauper. 

Princess Diana's fashion also cut some trends. Princess Diana gained confidence in her own style and soon began to wear pieces by international designers including Versace, Christian Lacroix, Ungaro and Chanel. At the peak of the Eighties, Diana had developed the Dallas look of big hair, huge shoulder pads, sharp edges and glitzy earrings. 

Michael Jackson also played a pivotal role in the music and fashion world. With his red 'Thriller' jacket and white gloves, he set a signature look for the 80's. 

Not only is the 80’s era great for inspiring a fun retro look, but many of the vintage fashion styles are still in wide use today, such as jersey’s & jock jackets

Want to know where you can find these Vintage & Retro women fashion looks today? Look no further than RebelsMarket.

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About the Author

Riley Davis

Writing allows me to express my creative thought process through words. I hope you enjoy my style! Go Rebels!