Old is the New New: The Ingredients of the Retro Style
Few things are as creatively liberating and individually expressive as playing around with different styles. While trends change and evolve, some classics virtually transcend time and remain a source of inspiration for both modern-day fashion aficionados as well as those who simply want to express their personality in a subtle yet sophisticated way.
This is precisely the case with retro style, that timeless blend of classic pieces and period details from decades past – a contemporary amalgamation of the most iconic elements throughout the years. Some of them have a funny way of re-emerging as new trends, long-forgotten patterns and fabrics that are suddenly back in vogue.
What Does Retro Style Look Like?
While there are no hard and fast rules in fashion and what retro entails is a matter of personal interpretation, the most common pieces associated with this style are undoubtedly seen across all eras and decades. Their silhouettes, colours and materials may vary but they share the same vintage essence.
Nothing screams vintage chic more than a classic pair of retro sneakers that is highlighted by the unmistakable lines and details. These shoes often feature slightly bulkier soles, along with materials such as cotton and canvas for a distinct sports-inspired look. They’re also marked by their colourful and daring designs, with eye-catching hues and patterns that allow you to express your individual fashion sense.
Perhaps the most widespread example of retro trainers is the Nike Air Jordan 1 series. It features both high and low-top versions which pay homage to the original 1985 design. The colour scheme and its signature Nike Swoosh logo often have contrasting tones, such as a classic black and red, or a more daring blue and yellow combination.
The low-top models have a slightly different profile, with the upper part reaching just below the ankle and a unique lacing system. They also have a chunky rubber sole, which is one of the main characteristics that makes them so recognisable. Despite this, they don’t feel heavy when worn, and even provide extra cushioning for your feet.
As for high-top versions, their unmistakable style is characterised by a higher ankle design and appealing colour combinations. They also have the classic Nike Swoosh logo which runs along both sides of the shoe, from the toe to just below the ankle. The rubber sole has the same chunky profile as their low-top counterparts, with a slightly higher platform for added stability.
Another classic piece of retro sneakers is the Shimmer model, which has a bubble-like sole and a canvas upper that provides excellent breathability. The side panels also feature a reinforced rubber patch, another detail that helps increase the shoes’ durability. It comes in different colours and designs, with subtle beige and black variants as well as more vibrant ones.
Vintage Dresses and Skirts
When talking about retro style, you can’t possibly pass over vintage dresses and skirts. They’re characterised by their long, flowing silhouettes and timeless prints that are often seen in vintage magazines and catalogues. The fabrics used to make these garments tend to be lighter with a smoother texture.
Most of the dresses feature an A-line silhouette, which is defined by its slight flare just below the waist. This helps create a flattering look that is perfect for all types of body shapes. Some models also come with long sleeves, or can alternatively be sleeveless with a V-neckline.
As for the skirts, they usually have a high-waisted fit with either a straight or A-line shape. The former follows a more rigid design, while the latter is slightly wider at the bottom. They’re also available in different lengths and prints, with classic floral patterns or more daring animal prints being some of the most popular choices.
High-Waisted Pants and Jeans
Another design that goes high above the waistline are retro pants or jeans. This type of trousers is usually represented by a baggier fit and slightly longer length that reaches just above the ankle. The material used for these garments is usually a comfortable blend of cotton and polyester, which gives them a softer texture and increased breathability.
One of the most popular designs is the mom jeans, which have greater flexibility and feature a higher waistline. This style was created in the 1950s and has been making a major comeback since then. The bottom part of these jeans usually has a slightly tapered fit, and they can be paired with almost any type of top.
Classic Tops and Blouses
Retro tops and blouses can be seen in almost any vintage magazine, as they are the quintessential pieces for creating a timeless look. Tops tend to have an oversized fit, which is usually complemented by a longer length that reaches just below the hips. The sleeves normally come with a tapered design, and the material used is usually a lightweight blend that has a silky consistency.
Blouses may also have a longer length, but they tend to be more fitted around the waist. They usually feature small buttons along the front, and some models may also have a V-neckline. The pattern is usually printed directly onto the fabric, and it can range from subtle monochromatic designs to more daring multicolour prints.
Timeless Accessories and Accents
Finally, accessorising your outfit is the cherry on top of a retro look. Gold necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings are the perfect way to add an extra dose of glamour to your style. Whether you’re a fan of chunky chains or delicate pendants, you’d certainly have no shortage of options when experimenting with your look.
While gold jewellery is generally seen as the most prevalent choice, silver and bronze pieces can also be used to create a different kind of statement. Some designs feature intricate details such as filigree and engravings, while others have a more simplistic yet sophisticated aesthetic.