Remember the time when men were men and women were women? Yeah, neither do we. But if you’re a fan of old movies and vintage styles from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, you may be wishing you lived at a time when style was more precise, tailored and dramatic. But don’t let the inevitable passage of time stop you from living the dream. The vintage and retro scene is alive and well and you can still look and even live the part if this is the look you want. From fashion to hair, makeup and lifestyle, you can add as much or as little vintage flair as you want. The following article will give you some tips and tricks on how to research and achieve your vintage look. Luckily for you, while the Internet didn’t exist in the first half of the 20th century, it certainly exists now, giving you all the information you need to go back in time. Ironic, isn’t it?
Obviously, different periods had different hairstyles, from the short crops of the 20s to the beautifully curled styles of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Traditionally women used leave-in curlers and “do rags” to curl their hair overnight. Some women still choose to do that, leaving their curlers in wrapped in a hairnet or a towel. But nowadays you can achieve the look in a faster, easier way by using curlers plus a hairdryer or a dedicated curling iron. To be honest, most women don’t have the time nowadays to start working on their hairstyle a day or so in advance. This is especially true if you have a last minute invitation to a party and want to wow everyone with amazing hair. Don’t worry if you’ve never used a curling iron before. There is plenty of info available online, such as this perfect introduction with all the basic concepts explained by That’s Foxy.
Many vintage hairstyles actually work better with unwashed hair. Maybe women in those times didn’t wash their hair as often? Either way, curling seems to take much better to hair that’s not as smooth, so keep that in mind when you’re planning your pre-event schedule.
Complete your vintage hair look with vintage accessories such as hats, fascinators (those tiny little hats with flowers and other cute things on them), bows or even flower clips for that lovely tropical look.
Depending on where you are in the world, getting your hands on authentic vintage clothes can be an expensive pursuit. The further you go back in time to your favourite decade, the more expensive the item will be. 20s flapper dresses? Expect to pay through the nose for those! You can often get some good finds in 2nd hand and vintage markets, shops or online stores (also on online auction sites). But unless you want to be 100% authentic, you can still get the look without shelling out the big bucks.
If you’re handy with a sewing machine or know someone who is, you can still buy vintage patterns online quite cheaply. Sometimes these are printable PDF files, rather than actual physical patterns. The same goes for vintage knitting patterns – plenty are available for sale. All you need to do then is simply buy some material and make your own vintage clothing item that’s also brand new.
Alternatively, there are plenty of modern day designers who make “vintage-inspired” clothes. These vary in price but are bound to be cheaper than many of the originals. They may not be as unique as your own vintage piece, but can definitely help you complete a look at the very least, if not form the basis of one. Even the most common vintage-inspired dress can be made more unique if you pair it with vintage jewellery or a hat.
Another option is to go retro rather than vintage. Styles often repeat themselves throughout the ages and many vintage styles were echoed later on. For example, there are many 80s dresses that are very much inspired by the 40s and the 50s. Unless you are a fashion pedant, they may appear almost identical to those from earlier times, or at least close enough to give you the coveted vintage look for a cheaper price.
Complete your vintage look with makeup styles true to the era. Again, each decade had its own style, but luckily there are plenty of online guides that’ll teach you everything from how to style your eyebrows to eyeshadow styles and even how to paint your mouth with lipstick. While you’re obviously not going to go hunting for actual vintage makeup made in the 50s, many makeup companies make specifically vintage-inspired styles. Lipsticks were generally matte in reds and pinks, while eyes were often smoky. Because we are living in the 21st century, you can also add a bit of sparkle to make the look slightly more modern while keeping the spirit alive.