Fashion Forward: Why Retro Look is Never Out of Style

“Written by Kathleen Mulvihill”

Mom was right. Never throw anything out; eventually your clothes come back in style. That’s why retro fashion is always hot. When designers run short of innovative ideas they can always reach back into the closets of yesteryear and come up with a look with a new twist. Voila – fashion that is both nostalgic and hip. Some examples:

The pencil skirt is the new hobble skirt of the 1920s; bootcut is the new bell-bottom; spandex is the new girdle; ballerina shoes are the new flats; the chunky high-heeled oxford is grandmother’s shoes from the fabulous 40s; capris are the new pedal pushers; and black is, well, the new black. Call it indie, vintage or retro, it all adds up to apparel that is timeless.

Labels by designers such as Marc Jacobs, the master of mash-up fashion, define the retro rack. In a New York Magazine article, Jacobs was quoted on his passion for the past: “I like romantic allusions to the past: what the babysitter wore, what the art teacher wore, what I wore during my experimental days in fashion when I was going to the Mudd Club and wanted to be a new wave kid or a punk kid but was really a poseur. It’s the awkwardness of posing and feeling like I was in but I was never in. Awkwardness gives me great comfort.”

Retro fashion is the brainchild of the “retro chic” concept of the Parisian avante garde. Today it refers to apparel that imitates a previous era associated with a post-modern stylistic trend. While vintage spans the 1920s to 1050s, retro or indie represents the pre- and post-1960s fashion. Look around – it’s everywhere. If not in consignment shops (the new thrift stores), then look for a vintage store in your metropolitan area, even in suburbia. There’s a plethora of sites online, including which offers the top 20 retro fashion sites with popularity ratings.

The fashion truth is: The way we wore is the way we are. Retro is here to stay.  So if you’re feeling the pinch in these troubled economic times, there’s no need to fret when it comes to your closet. Take a close look, visualize that 80s ribbed knit sweater with a long wrap-around scarf, and you just got a new leash on an old look. Dress it up with a piece of glam jewelry from your grandmother, slip into those skinny jeans and any kind of boots and you’re ready to step out on the town. Looking good has never been so easy.



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