Fashion Editorial

How to Dress Vintage Without Looking Costumey

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Wearing vintage clothing is a great way to express your individuality, help conserve the earth’s valuable resources, and ensure you don’t show up at an event in the exact same outfit as someone else. However, some people feel intimidated by the prospect of donning this style due to the fact that they fear appearing too much like they’re wearing a costume. When you step out in a look, you want to wear the outfit versus the outfit wearing you. Luckily there are some relatively simple ways to avoid this pitfall.

Start Out Small With Accessories

If you’re just dipping your toe into vintage for the first time, it’s smart to begin in a modest way by choosing accent pieces from an earlier era. If you’re wearing a plain shift dress or suit, add some 1920s glamour with a vintage beaded evening clutch. Try a vintage Hermes scarf and add a brooch for some sophisticated glamour. If you’re feeling bolder, skip these smaller pieces and go straight for a sparkly head adornment.

Build Around One Statement Piece

One easy way to make sure you’re not going overboard and looking like you stepped out of a period play is to choose one part of the outfit to be the focal point. Whether it’s an eye-catching pin, a fringed dress that looks great on the dance floor, a retro print on your trousers, or something else, limit the standout items to one or two and put your outfit together from there.

Choose Items That Resemble Current Trends

As fashions are cyclical, many of the styles that are currently on-trend have already come up in history before. Therefore even when you’re vintage shopping, you’re likely to see styles that you can find in any contemporary magazine. Choose these looks to flirt with vintage while still staying current.

Be Strict About Fit

Nothing says costumey more than an article of clothing that’s ill fitting. Make sure you buy garments that fit you like a glove. If it’s bigger, take it to the tailor for alterations. Even if you love the dress, if there are wrinkles going across the stomach or around the backside, it’s likely too tight. If you’re having a vintage purchase altered, make sure to ask them not to remove the extra fabric that’s left after the hems or seams are taken in – that way you can always have it let out later.

Follow Your Intuition, Not the Fad

As with any time you’re buying or putting together a new outfit, it’s important to think about what suits you specifically, regardless of what others look great in or what specific era you’d like to emulate. Vintage fashion has countless unique subsections, and whatever your inclinations, there’s something for you.

Choose Modern Hair and Makeup Styles

Another easy way to ensure you take a vintage look into modernity is to simply make sure your hair and makeup are onboard with current trends. Follow the hottest styles in these areas when you wear vintage clothing and you’ll definitely avoid looking dated.

Prioritize Comfort

Last but certainly not least, put the emphasis on comfort above style. If you feel like yourself in an outfit (albeit hopefully a more stylish self), then you’ll radiate confidence and look fantastic. Style works best when it uplifts the wearer and also appears effortless – so make certain you’re at ease in an outfit to guarantee you’ll look and feel your best.

My name is Angela Ricardo Bethea and I am the founder and editor behind ( and many other online publications ) ... I love the finer things in life, I'm quite a shop-a-holic and a certified jet-setter. So if I am not behind my laptop to blog, I'd probably be shopping if not traveling.

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