How to Dress Vintage Chic Style in Everyday Clothes

Are you wondering how to look vintage chic wearing smart everyday clothes and fashion accessories? Do you want to change your usual dressing style for a sophisticated and classy look?

If you want to dress classy in a vintage-inspired way, even with some of your everyday clothes, you will find some helpful tips on how to achieve the style.

You don't really need to change your entire wardrobe, neither do you need to have a hefty budget for this. Rather, what you need are some basics in your clothing collections and a good number of accessories.

Classic Vintage Fashion Accessories

We all know how accessorising can help dictate a vintage style; shoes, jewellery, hats, bags, etc... and as long as you take care of these finer details, you’ll be able to achieve that lady-like charm that’s so characteristic of vintage fashion.

So, how do you create the style of fashionable women of old with your modern clothing? By adding the most unexpected details to your ordinary-looking outfits.

Let us see some of the basics first.

  • Wear items that are made with classic fabrics like cotton, linen, tweed, silk, wool, and linen. Clothing made of any of these fabrics always gives off an elegant flavour of their own.
  • Bold patterns and prints are very vintage and work well for a stylishly sophisticated look.
  • Neutral colours like black, white, cream, navy blue, emerald green, and grey are colours you must think of. You can, if you wish, dress head-to-toe in any of these colours but there is no hard and fast rule about your colour combination. Your combination can also be different shades or tints of the same colour (monochromatic dressing).
  • Your outfits must be tailored and form-fitting so they can show off your figure and follow the curve of your waist. This is typical of vintage clothing. If need be, wear body form shapewear to give you the required curves. You can have some of your looser modern clothes altered to fit properly. If you are not a sewing enthusiast, get it done by a local tailor or seamstress.
  • Simple jewellery is the best way to go when aiming for a vintage-chic style.
  • Vintage fashion is synonymous with modesty. You can't wear crop or tank tops if you desire a classic style. Dresses and skirts hemlines should not go more than a couple of inches below the knee for day wear and full-length for formal wear and can be sweeping floor-length for evening wear.
  • Don’t underestimate the clothing you already have in your closet. You can integrate and combine owned items in many ways you didn’t think possible.

The following type of clothing will give you that vintage chic look you aim to accomplish. You don't necessarily require every item listed but the list will give you a good idea of what will work best for your new classic look.
  • Tailored pants - Ankle, slight bootcut, straight, skinny, or wide-legged.
  • Informal pants - Pedal pushers, culottes, jumpsuits, and shorts
  • Skirts - High-waisted pencil skirt, midi, and ballerina-style skirt, full-circle skirt, swing skirt, flared, and wriggle skirt
  • Dresses - Swing, shift, peplum, coat, and sheath dresses, ball gown, polo dress, shirt-waist dress, drop-waist dress, or flapper style dress.
  • Tops - Long, short, cap, and sleeveless blouses, shirts with tiny buttons, cardigans, knit tops, puff-sleeve shirts, peasant tops and halter blouses.
  • Jackets and Coats - Frock coat, blazers, faux-fur collar coats, wool long coats, swing coats, and trench coats, car coat, hooded cape coats, and vintage tweed coats in short jacket or long coat lengths.

Identifying features of vintage clothes include:

  • Necklines - square, sweetheart, cowl, and scoop necklines, collared necklines, V-neck, boatneck, or crew necklines.
  • Collars - Peter Pan collars, embellished detachable collars, classic, portrait and boat-neck collars
  • Cuffs - Traditional white cuffs, French, square and Mandarin cuffs, double cuffs, high 3 buttons cuffs or long pointed cuffs.


Vintage Chic Style with Classic Accessories

Nothing can throw off your vintage-inspired style than using the wrong fashion accessories. The shoes you wear and costume jewellery you adorn yourself with must round up your entire ensemble.

There are other good-to-haves too. Scarves, sunglasses, hats, purses, perhaps a parasol (if you want to fashionably dramatic), and purses are items that are best had in your vintage-inspired wardrobe because they are the finishing touches for all that's been spoken about.


If you endeavour to achieve a classy and sophisticated style, 'glam-up' your attires for that Va-Va-Voom look by investing in some classic style costume jewellery that fits within your budget. Vintage-inspired costume jewellery doesn't have to cost you much but you'll need some pieces because they are the easiest and most affordable items you need to create a vintage-inspired stylish look.

The following items are what you should look out for:

  • Earrings - Small hoops, cameos, studs (faux pearl or Swarovski), and chandelier earrings.
  • Bracelets - Cuff bangles, cha-cha bracelets, tennis bracelets, and a wristwatch with metal or leather band, name bracelets, charm bracelets, wrap, and clamper bracelets.
  • Necklaces - Long gold or silver chains with pendants made of faux pearls, birthstones, cameo, diamond solitaire, or gold cross including choker necklace, lockets, or bib necklaces.
  • Rings - Delicate or statement rings, thin bands, heirloom rings, art deco rings, and the cocktail ring.
  • Brooch and Pins - Whimsical and flirty pins, cameo brooches, personalised brooches, and gem-set pins.


If you love to wear classic style apparel, you will love shopping for affordable vintage style shoes because you know that shoes (and handbags) make the most impressive statement in your dressing. Wear a nice suit with the wrong pair of shoes if a fashion faux pas.

Finding a fabulous pair of vintage-inspired shoes that fit in well with a wardrobe from another era is easy because there are lots of vintage-reproduction shoes that you’ll find to buy, the ones referred to as modern vintage shoes.

Women's vintage shoe style reproductions to look out for are:
  • Espadrille wedges
  • Sling-backs
  • Lace-up Oxfords
  • T-straps
  • Mary Jane shoes
  • Saddle shoes
  • Peep toe shoes
  • Patent pumps
  • Lace-up boots
  • Ballet flats
  • Kitten heel pumps or boots
  • A pair of red shoes
  • Animal print flats
  • Stiletto heels(for evening or occasion wear)
  • Loafers
  • Moccasins
  • Sandals

Handbags and purses

Either with modern apparel or vintage-inspired clothing, adding a vintage style handbag or purse to an outfit is a unique way to set yourself a fashion signature.

It’s a good thing that vintage style leather and beaded bags, and clutch purses are constantly in style. Classic handbags are popular and never go out of style so it’s possible that many die-hard vintage fashion enthusiasts have a couple in their closets.

Today’s reproduction of vintage handbags now has special pockets for cell phones and other modern devices as you will find in many of the following bags and purses.
  • Retro bags
  • Lucite handbags
  • Beaded flapper purse
  • Floral bags
  • Coin purses
  • Sister Jane handbags

Other vintage style fashion accessories that are good to have are:
  1. Vintage Style Sunglasses – 50s cat-eye sunglasses and browline sunglasses, 60s over-sized and retro square glasses, 70s tinted lenses, 80s aviator sunglasses, and 90s round wire-framed glasses.
  2. Hats – 20s cloche, 40s hats and berets, 50s pillbox hat, cartwheel, boater, fedora, half hats, fascinator hats, and retro pagoda hats.
  3. Vintage style umbrella – heart, parasols, and pagoda umbrellas (ruffle-edged, plain, stripes, or polka dots).
  4. Scarf - Scarves in solid or monochromatic colours made of cotton, light silk, or wool and patterned with florals, green foliage, stripes, paisleys,  or block colours.
The vintage-chic style demands that the clothes and fashion accessories you wear are neat, clean, stylish, but simple. Clothing should be wrinkle-free and colour coordinated and it is important not to over-accessorize for a vintage-inspired look.


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