Modernizing Your Favorite Fashion Era

Photo from

Whether you’re drawn to grungy ’90s fashion or you adore ’60s mod, shopping vintage is no easy task. But who says you need to shop vintage to implement iconic fashion features of the past into your everyday wardrobe? Join VALLEY on a trip through the decades and bring your favorite trends from fashion’s past into the modern day.

The 1920s

Nothing screams the 1920s quite like a flapper ensemble. The clean lines, drop waists, boxy silhouettes and adornments like beads and feathers are hallmarks of the decade. For men, a classic suit was the go-to image of the ’20s. Hats were popular for both genders.

Photo from

A time of glamour and change — not to mention the decade in which the world met the “little black dress” — it is understandable if the ’20s are an era you aim to reference in your day-to-day life.

In order to pay an homage to the 20s, search for pieces that capture the essence of the time. For example, a classic, drop-waist dress. A pair of slacks held up using suspenders. Pearl jewelry. Even a beret can elicit the feeling of the time while staying chic in the 21st century. When it comes to silhouettes, you’ll want to keep it loose — there’s nothing body-hugging about the ’20s! It’s also important to keep color in mind. The ’20s were a neutral decade; blacks, greys, browns, navy blues and emerald greens will be your friends.

The 1950s

Women’s fashion in the 1950s was defined largely by Christian Dior’s “New Look”, a silhouette characterized by a “nipped-in waist” and full skirt. This aesthetic was defining for the first half of the decade, followed by a shift toward straighter, slimmer, sleeker silhouettes. Femininity was the driving force behind ’50s women’s fashion, and women were expected to be impeccably groomed with sleek hair and enhancing makeup. This was a time of high expectations for women and strict gender roles.

Photo from

For men of the ’50s, the working-class paved the way for fashion. Based on the likes of James Dean and Marlon Brando, this decade was a time of tight pants, leather jackets and greased hair.

To bring the ’50s into your modern-day wardrobe, focus on silhouette and find celebrity inspirations. For example, Marilyn Monroe wore countless looks that could be translated to the current day with a little bit of modernizing. Find a dress that cinches you around the waist and a nice pair of gloves. For a menswear-inspired look, try a pair of Levi’s, a simple white tee and a leather jacket. A high waist is also always helpful when trying to capture this decade. A headband never hurt either.

The 1960s

The 1960s were largely defined by three fashion movements: “lady-like elegance” as seen on Jackie Kennedy, “fun” and “youthful” looks inspired by Swinging London and the hippie inspiration of the late ’60s.

Photo from

The caps and tailored suits famously worn by Kennedy gave way to the colorful, fun, mod looks of Twiggy and The Who. With this shift came the always-famous mini-skirt and color blocking. These styles were child-like and shifted away from the curve-enhancing fashions of the previous decade, toward a more boy-like silhouette reminiscent of the 1920s.

Along with free love, the hippie movement brought lots of color! Round glasses, flared pants, linen and fringe — there was no shortage of fun to be found among this group.

With seemingly endless 60s fashion icons — from Audrey Hepburn to Jimmie Hendrixs — there are so many different styles to draw from.

To bring the 60s into the modern day, use color blocking techniques. Buy some round glasses and a pair of go-go boots. A mini-skirt is always a classic, and a pair of colorful tights to match your outfit will only help. There are so many iconic features of ’60s fashion, that the best way to modernize the era is taking any one of them and pairing it with some current trends.

The 1970s

Much of the fashion in the 1970s was a continuation of the ’60s hippie movement. Clothing was colorful and flowy, and growingly accessible with a surge in new materials like polyester. As women continued to gain sexual freedom, menswear-inspired looks became increasingly common. The wrap dress was also a new innovation of the period.

Photo from

Men’s fashion continued to get more colorful. Turtlenecks and flared pants were the newest silhouette. Browns and burnt oranges dominated the time.

To bring the ’70s into your wardrobe, buy some brown turtle necks and jackets. Find a nice pair of flare jeans and remember that bell sleeves are a must. Wear your hair long and feathered. Try out some fun patterns and tie it all together with a nice pair of boots.

The 1980s

Welcome to the era of colorful eyeshadow, shoulder pads, leg warmers and power suits. There’s nothing quite like the ’80s. The trends were preppy, athletic and powerful for men and women alike. Give “The Breakfast Club” another watch: it covers most of the ’80s styles — from grunge to preppy.

Photo from

To channel the ’80s, buy an oversized suit jacket. Layer it over a thrifted sweater with a borderline tacky pattern. Buy a classic pair of Levi’s, one size too big, and cinch them around your waist with a brown belt. For a more athleisure-inspired look, go for an off-the-shoulder sweater and some biker shorts. Go ahead and buy a color-blocked wind breaker too.

The 1990s

The 1990s shifted towards a much more casual style of dress. In stark difference to the colorful extravagence of the ’80s, the ’90s favored simple silhouettes, dark colors and a grungy aesthetic. Thin eyebrows and dark, burgundy lips were popular. Slinky slip dresses and comically oversized jeans were everywhere. Body expectations shifted towards a “heroin-chic” level of skinny, a drastic change from the popular athletic builds of the ’80s.

Photo from

Seeing that the ’90s aesthetic is more recent and seemingly coming back in style, it shouldn’t be too hard to channel this energy into your everyday style. A classic and easy look is a slip dress over a white T-shirt. For men, oversized jeans, a pair of sneakers and a flannel can work wonders. Tiny sunglasses are quick to remind people of the decade, as are a good pair of Doc Martens. If you’re feeling bold, try plucking your eyebrows a little thinner. The key here is to keep it looking effortless — the grunge look relies on a sort of “rolled out of bed like this” attitude.

The 2000s

From Juicy Track Suits to low rise jeans, the aughts are not a decade to be overlooked. Pink the brand and pink the color seemed to rule this time. Rhinestones and tanktops were everywhere. The 2000s were a time of playfulness in the fashion world, marked by skinny scarfs and frosted tips.

Who could ever forget Ashley Tisdale wearing a dress over her jeans or Christina Aguilera with her iconic chunky highlights?

Photo from

For many of us, the 2000s were our childhood. This means we likely don’t need to look any further than our childhood bedrooms for some fashion relics.

While much of the fashion of the time can err on the side of tacky, there are some timeless features that are worth bringing into the current day. For example, a lacey tank top can make any outfit chic. A cardigan worn the right way can be timeless. A plaid mini-skirt can tremendously elevate a look. Truly, there’s no fashion move quite as bold as pulling off a pair of low rise jeans.

Tag us @VALLEYmag on Instagram with your favorite decades inspired looks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.