How To Dress Retro Without Overdoing It

One of the things I get asked the most when it comes to blogging is why I chose to have a retro vibe.

Which is kind of funny, because I never claimed to have one – but time and time again, I find myself in the same situations

“Love the retro look!”

I guess you can say I like retro fashion? But I’m not a solely retro/vintage blogger. Like…at all.

I write about things that bring me happiness, but I LOVE being a journalist and writing articles for YOU, not me. I like to provide help. I like to provide inspiration.

The fact that my readers are loving this retro vibe I have going on is actually really amazing. I don’t know too many bloggers that are this modern retro mix like myself (if you are, let me know!). Most bloggers are either solely one type of fashion or the other.

I could NEVER squeeze myself into a box like that. I love being able to dress “retro” one day and modern the next. Or even better, together!

So today I’m sharing some of my best tips on how to achieve the perfect balance between retro and modern. If you like a classic look but don’t want to overdo it, this post is for you!


1. You don’t need retro/vintage clothes to look retro

I don’t really buy vintage clothes – if I do, it’s for collection purposes and not to physically wear. It’s either headed towards an archive box or model for display purposes. The only time I have bought vintage to wear was for special occasions where the quality of the piece is something I wanted.

That being said, you don’t have to buy vintage clothes to look retro. Most of my clothes come from Nordstroms y’all. If I do want to buy “retro” looking clothing I shop from Unique Vintage, Modcloth, or Francesca’s.



2. It’s all about dress shape

Not body shape, but dress/clothing shape. For example, a really retro look can come from different shapes of dress.

Fit & Flared works well for a 40’s or 50’s look (click here for examples)

A line dresses work well for a 30’s or 40’s look (click here for examples).

Blouson and Sheath dresses work well for a 20s look (click here for examples).

So you can get dresses in these shapes to fit the era you feel attracted to the most. Personally, my style is almost always a 30’s or 50’s look. It’s totally up to how you want to look and feel, but dresses are the best way to look retro.



3. Use unique accessories (can be vintage) to draw the eye in

Vintage accessories are a much cheaper and small but effective way to make a retro look complete. You can be wearing jeans and a t-shirt and adding in vintage sunglasses to get that vibe going. Great vintage accessories to get are: gloves, sunglasses, purses, scarves, and hats.

Vintage or not, just make sure of two things:

1. You’ll actually wear these items – don’t get a hat if you’ll only wear it once.

2. It can possibly be mistaken for something modern. That’s the key to not overdoing retro. Is it vintage? Is it modern? If no one can tell, you have a nice timeless accessory on hand.


4. Retro inspired makeup will take you a long way

Circle blush, red lips, and a retro cat eye will take you really far in achieving a modern but retro look. It’s all about balance! Like I said, you can wear jeans and a t-shirt with red lipstick and still have a timeless vibe going on

Think of it this way: you can add a touch of vintage through makeup or through clothing. You can do both and still have a modern look. But as soon as you add only vintage clothing with only vintage accessories and vintage makeup you get overdone.

So keep everything you do simple, including your makeup. But don’t forget that balance rule.

Here’s a post on achieving my vintage makeup look.


5. Get that #aesthetic just right

So you like the retro look and want to achieve a really timeless aesthetic..

I wrote the perfect post for you to make this happen right here.

It’s about telling a story with your clothes and makeup. It’s about setting the scene just right – like you may be a time traveling fashionista holding that iPhone X in one hand and a cute vintage purse in the other.

So what? If that’s your aesthetic, then rock it! And most importantly, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for liking a retro vibe. There’s nothing wrong with appreciating a different era. Anyways, modern clothing is not always stylish – with a retro twist, you will never run out of styles to choose from that you know look amazing!


What do you think of the modern retro look? Are you a fan? Or are you solely modern? Solely retro? Would love to know! Leave a comment below.

Behind The Blog

The Petite Bijou is an online destination featuring wholesome yet sophisticated living and styling tips for women. The site is run by survivor, lifestyle influencer, and writer Mariam, who also runs The Bijou Show, a self help podcast.

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