Whether it be the grunge movement in the 90s or the Victorian era of the 1800s, fashion has always been a mode of self-expression. Throughout the years the design and essence of fashion has been shifted, merged together, and in some cases, completely transformed.
In today’s culture, we revel in the nostalgia. Vintage clothing stores have become a booming business and “thrifting,” a pop culture sensation (cue Macklemore’s infamous track). Our society has fostered a love for the old and romantic, bringing back the 1920s in the remake of The Great Gatsby and highlighting the 60s with the TV show, Mad Men. And of course, the elegantly stylized vintage clothing within these films and shows has sparked our interest. As the history books become thicker and internet image searches become all too easy, many of us are struck with a deep yearning for the past, a way to become part of a time so different from our own.
However, there comes a point when we realize our love for “vintage” fashion is not always practical. Falling too far into one time period or another can be seen as frumpy and out-of-style, or worst still, costumey. We obsess over the glamour and the history, but making it ready-to-wear and accessible in today’s fashion is somewhat of a challenge.
But it’s not impossible. I find myself constantly searching for that “vintage” look, driving hours to different shops and Salvation Armies in order to add a hint of the past to my wardrobe. The desire to find the looks worn by iconic symbols such as Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe have fashionistas everywhere spending top dollar for the perfect penny loafers or high-waisted bathing suits. The closet of the modern fashionista is essentially a time machine, taking elements of the past and blending them into one cohesive wardrobe.
By looking at all of the tiny things that come together to create a time period, we can learn how to apply the old to the new—creating fashion-forward looks with the essence of nostalgia. All we have to do is look closely at the details. What makes pearls reminiscent of the 1920s? What makes an outfit echo the look of 60s supermodel Twiggy? What can we do to make our love for vintage clothing a reality? The answers are held within the details.