Vintage Clothing Style Guide: Everything You Must Know in 2022

There are many different aspects to look at in the vintage scene, especially now that it's back in fashion. Wearing old clothes is not in trend for the first time but was already known in the 60s and 90s. The most important things you need to know are very diverse, and we will discuss them today. Whether it's the different trends catching our attention on social media, general tips on searching for and combining outfits properly, or a guide to vintage clothing.

Trends come and go but also leave a lot of things unnoticed. If we look at the earlier trends, then today, we think about how we could possibly have allowed this to happen. That's how it will sometimes be, but some decades did have very cool outfit hits. Most importantly, wear what you like and what has the most benefits rather than social media telling you and young girls and boys what to wear to look good and cool. If you're not confident and comfortable in your clothes, it doesn't matter if you're wearing trendy outfits. 


There was no decade without real trends. There was always some communication about what's cool and what's not. Since it's not really easy to find your own style, you usually follow the existing trends. 

In 2022 the biggest trend is the vintage clothing style. We go back in time with fashion - when? That's up to you. I like this trend a lot more than the trend in the 2010s. In the 2010s, the Victoria's Secret Model Body was praised, and every other body type was ignored. Accordingly, more one-size clothing, skinny jeans, and small tops came into vogue, leaving many people unsure of themselves. 

For men, the 80s and 90s are trending – cool vintage t-shirts, leather coats, college jackets, retro shoes, etc. For women, this time, the 70s are taking over with flared jeans, small colorful tops, and a lot of polyester. Here, second-hand is often confused with the 70s fashion trends because a vintage clothing shop only has very few goods from the 70s, and if they do, they definitely look different from those we see on social media. What we are shown is the fast fashion industry, producing and selling funky gaudy tops inspired by the 70s. 

The 70s is also known as the polyester era. At that time, it became known to obtain cheap but cool clothing. We still have that mentality today. However, this is exactly the opposite of the actual vintage fashion idea because second-hand only became popular again when we became aware that there were environmental problems and that we had to take care of our planet as much as possible. After that, the second-hand industry boomed, and then all the trends came along. 

1. Flared Pants

Flared Pants have become super popular, going hand in hand with the 70s trend. Unfortunately, most of this pants model is modern because, as I said before, it's pretty hard to find original 70s items in a vintage store. But if you want second-hand vintage jeans, the Levi's 565 would be ideal since they have a flared cut, which is quite subtle.  

I would recommend searching online but first, check your jeans size!

In addition to flared pants, leather pants are also super trendy. I put them under this heading because leather pants are the most liked in this model.


2. College Jackets

The varsity looks from the 90s have also become more and more popular today. The jacket is often worn over mini tops or t-shirts and gives your outfit a direct pop-out effect. A genuine college jacket is quite expensive, but it's worth investing in. You can tell the difference between modern and vintage right away. 

The college jackets originally came from the 50s, and designers are still inspired by them today. 

I understand why – the trend came back in the 90s and now again. I'm sure this one is quite serious and will last long.

3. Leather Coats

Yup, leather is everywhere - it is one of the most popular vintage items. This material can be seen continuously on the city streets, whether coats from the 90s or biker jackets from the 50s; the look definitely makes a statement. Although leather pants are not often found in vintage stores, jackets and coats are a different matter. 

When you compare the leather materials between modern and vintage, you realize what a huge difference it makes. So, for a vintage outfit, I would strongly recommend buying an original piece. 


4. Y2K

Everything around the 2000s here. Who would have thought that this decade would be trending again? Mini t-shirts, hair accessories, scarfs, and lace conquered the 2000s era. There are some outfits from back then that we should stay away from, but like in the 80s, there is still a cool vintage clothing style that you can gladly wear again nowadays, such as the modern vintage dresses or the low-waist jeans. 

Flashy colors are also nothing new after the 70s and 80s. Our eyes got used to it, and it also gives an outfit a certain character. One accessory that could never be missing was glitter – which describes the 2000s as dazzling, pink, and glittery, which also lets me only think of Paris Hilton or Christina Aguilera's iconic outfits.

Shopping for Vintage Clothing

Now, the question is where to find vintage clothing

If you want to follow the 70s trends, then thrifting in second-hand stores wouldn't be the right thing because you're more likely to be disappointed. If you are still looking for clothes from the 80s and 90s or even the 50s, this branch is for you. There are still differences between the respective second-hand shops. Some focus on quality – that would be the boutiques, while others focus on the quantity – that would rather be thrift stores. 

You'll also find real treasures in a thrift store if you're lucky, but you should be aware that it's time-consuming. So, only go there if you have time and enjoy the searching. 

If you're not sure whether an item is vintage or not, check out the label since it's suitable for identification. A vintage label often has a thicker fabric, and the production is usually made in Mexico or in the USA. If you're still not quite sure, there are also RN calculators online where you enter the RN numbers given on the tag. There it is then shown when the product has been produced. The result is only valid from 1998; everything else is approximate. 

It's easier to find vintage clothing if you have more of a 90s sporty style because 90s items are sold in more places. However, when viewed individually, the products are rare, making the whole process much more exciting.

If you don't have a vintage store nearby, there are numerous platforms and online shops that offer second-hand clothing. Again, you have to know what kind of online shop you want to visit that offers your favorite clothing genre. 




Meet The Author

Dan Shewan

Originally from the U.K., Dan Shewan is a journalist and web content specialist who now lives and writes in New England. Dan’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Pacific Standard magazine, The Independent, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and many other outlets.

See other posts by Dan Shewan