You know that when it comes to fashion and style, I’m all about drawing inspiration from the past. I’m obsessed with the past, as you can tell by my various historically inspired photographs on instagram (ain’t gonna find nobody who does it like me). So naturally my wardrobe and personal style is going to reflect that love – that unwavering stream on inspiration that comes from reading too many books, watching too many historical movies, and dreaming of too many past adventures.
But I think that everyone fills their wardrobe with some sort of historical aspect, whether they realize it or not. And I’m not talking about filling your closet with costumes either – but rather certain elements, pieces, fabrics, and textures that speak to you from the past.
The First Thing You Need To Know
You gather inspiration for your style everywhere. From your environment, people around you, celebrities, places, and other creative pursuits. Maybe you really haven’t thought of it that much, but even the clothes you see on the runway (which styles you then buy later on) are all inspired by history.
This year we saw a lot of 80’s and 70’s inspired runway shows- trends that soon made their way into department stores and boutiques. But modern eras aren’t the only ones that can still inspire your style. What if you’re really drawn to Victorian era styles? Lace, pearls, large skirts. Or maybe you like the 20’s with straight tea gowns, headbands, and costume jewelry. You can even draw inspiration from the ancient Greeks: toga’s, rich silks, and gold jewelry.
And do you know what’s wonderful about creating a historically inspired modern day wardrobe? You get to be completely you with influences from your favorite parts of time and space in history. You can dream. imagine, and play any character you want while still looking super modern and stylish! So how do you create a historically inspired modern day wardrobe? Keep reading to find out.
1. Get Inspired
Think back to your favorite books, movies, and styles. Why are you attracted to them? What elements speak to you from the past? It might sound silly to be introspective about your own personal style, but it will help you narrow down where you draw inspiration from.
When creating a wardrobe, think about what era’s of history you feel the most attracted to.
Personally my favorites are:
Medieval & Tudor (I’ll explain)
The Roaring 20’s
The 40’s & 50’s
2. Find Elements & Aspects
So now that you’ve listed out your favorite eras, think about what you are attracted to when you envision these historical eras in your head. A quick exercise is just to close your eyes and imagine a character in a story and you’re making up their style (maybe you are a custom director for a new historical movie!) What are they wearing in terms of their style, accessories, and mannerisms? Can you see these same aspects on you? Do you feel happy about it? This exercise will help guide you in what pieces you will want to get when creating your wardrobe.
Victorian/Steampunk: For a Victorian look I actually think of the late Victorian period (almost Edwardian but not quite). I think of long white dresses, feathers and plums in hats, pearls, and fancy boots. Can you see where I’ve gotten inspiration from in my latest outfit? I also love the Gothic neo-victorian aspects of the steampunk movement: brass, gears, and all black!
Medieval & Tudor: I long medieval overcoats (the modern day sleeveless trench coats!). I also love the dainty jewels, intricate layers, and ornate patterns on fabric.
The Roaring 20’s: I am personally attracted to tea gowns, slim dresses and shapes, t-strap heels, costume jewelry, and art deco patterns.
The 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s: The versatility and patterns of clothes during this time really click with me. I think they are simple and functional. I think of leather jackets with patchwork, cat eye sunglasses, red lips, and classic cut bangs.
3. Start Your Collection
You can start incorporating these historical aspects into your wardrobe. Start by figuring out what aspects will go with what era. Maybe you like the look of 60’s accessories rather than the clothes. Or maybe you are actually attracted to a certain pattern. Keep an eye out for it!
So now you’ll know to look for modern designs or vintage accessories to add to your wardrobe. See what you already have in your closet and work from there.
You don’t have to write this down in any way or form, but you can definitely imagine your inspiration the next time you go shopping!
Some of the best places to get vintage or historically inspired clothing:
4. Mix In The Modern
The key to balancing a historically inspired but modern day wardrobe is being able to incorporate those historical styles with a modern twist. You absolutely don’t have to get vintage or antique pieces. You don’t even need to get the same styles! You can still incorporate historical aspects into your wardrobe. How? By thinking about shape and texture.
An easy 20’s historical modern mix: tweed jackets a la Chanel and rich playboy gentleman of that time. You can easily achieve this look by getting a modern tweed jacket and pairing it with black skinny pants, a plain and preppy shirt like this one, and cute oxfords like these. This is still a feminine, historical but modern look!
Also think about how you’ll incorporate accessories into your wardrobe. Stay on trends but add in some cute custom jewelry for a vintage look.
5. Be Creative & Be Passionate
I love going into character, matching the place I’ll be going, and telling a story with what I wear. My story is that of my personal style, personal preferences, and admiration for the past. Call me a dramatist, but I think it’s so much fun creating a character with style.
My wardrobe is undeniably me and I am not afraid to show my passion for history. Maybe you are also a bit of a history buff or maybe you love a certain historical era. Go for it! Be unapologetically you, even if others don’t get it. I think this mindset really sets people apart from one another and I can always tell when other style bloggers are truly inspired by their own unique style and not just wearing the next big thing.
And you’ll never know…the next big thing could be a blast from the past.
Shop My Look
What do you think about creating a historically inspired modern day wardrobe? Let me know were you take your inspiration from in the comments below!