Vintage Fashion Guide For 2022

Fashion has been big for a very long time, and it has changed throughout the years, but the phenomenon of wearing vintage clothes isn't new. In the 90s especially, the people began to wear the 70s fashion again, so the second-hand companies boomed back then. If you are interested in vintage fashion, this blog is an excellent way to read about the history, the trends, and a comprehensive guide to vintage clothing.


Already in the 60s, people wore vintage fashion by trading and wearing old clothes. They had large warehouses for vintage clothing in the United Kingdom, but the trade wasn't popular anymore while wearing vintage still became bigger. After the trade-in marketplaces fell, vintage clothes were sold in boutiques. In the hippie era, wearing old clothing was a protest against consumption; the environment played a significant role back then. In 1988 the Women's Environmental Network was founded to send a message about human rights and saving the environment. Due to the Network, people became more aware of sustainability and women's rights. The first wave of body positivity also started in the 60s, and fashion began to change due to the movement. 

Designers in the 70s took inspiration from the 1940s but only in daywear. Stars like Mick Jagger or Brigitte Bardot were the ones who inspired most people in the fashion world.

The era was called the polyester era: due to the synthetic fabrics, people bought cheaper clothes for their evening going outs. Fabrics like sequin, velvet, and satin were normal for the women's evening wardrobe. In the late 70s, the typical 80s looks were created then, like the bandeaux tops or the famous jumpsuits. 

While the 70s expressed women's sexual freedom in the clothes, the 80s was one of the boldest eras with the huge shoulder pads, parachute pants, and bigger hair. But not only the over-the-top look was popular back then – we still wear some of the it-pieces from the 80s like the colorful windbreakers, leg warmers, leather jackets, and even oversize blazers are pieces for the women's vintage clothing wardrobe.

Wearing gym clothes in everyday day-to-day life was also a fashion trend with dancing clothes. The new romantic style with prairie dresses was the fashion trend in the first half of the 80s, while in the second half, "Power dressing" became its value. At the same time, women wanted to be taken seriously by their fashion with the shoulder pads since they symbolize strength and boldness. The 90s, on the other hand, went after the minimalism look, which still lasted till the 2010s. The media, especially models or stars, were the influencers for the fashion trend back then like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, or the "Heroin-Chick" Grunge look by Kate Moss – the vintage fashion was inspired mainly by them.
Today still, we wear
popular vintage items influenced by the 90s fashion – whether it's the jeans look, baguette bags, or the ripped jeans. We also take our inspiration from the media or TV shows like "Friends."  



The media, for instance, Instagram, is full of pictures from influencers wearing vintage from different types of decades. Second-hand clothing had its peak when the environment began to be in danger. People became more aware of the situation, so they informed themselves on how to be more conscious about it. The fast fashion industry primarily sells clothing with cheap fabrics like polyester or elastane, which don't last long, so the young people needed to buy clothes over and over again, which is not only bad for the environment but also for their wallets. It is tough nowadays to know what the personal style is, but the vintage clothing from the different decades helps since there are more varieties than the minimalistic modern look.

Since it is pretty hard to find original items from the 70s or 80s from a vintage clothing shop, the fast fashion industry takes the trend to its advantage. It produces more retro clothing like modern vintage dresses, 70s tops, and band T-Shirts which attracts the younger people. 

The vintage trend began very slowly, but the whole game changed after being inspired by many more styles and looks.

As I mentioned the wave for equality and body positivity in the 60s, the problem became at hand again in the 2010s with Victoria's Secret models and companies like Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister. It was huge at that time and took over the fashion industry – small tops, one-size clothing, and skinny jeans. People began to feel bad about themselves because of the society. Fortunately, the tables have turned, but the insecurities are still present since they don't go away that fast. The beauty standards changed, but they were never healthy. Having big curves is the new beauty standard which is not better because it's starting to skinny shame. The body shape was a very difficult topic for the fashion industry because not every trend fits everyone.

How To Shop For Vintage Clothing

It is essential to know what kind of style you would like to wear. The selection is very big, so I would really invest some time to know exactly which one fits your personality the most. Fashion plays a significant role in our lives even if you don't care about your looks or outfits – people tend to judge by the looks, and it is the sad truth. Your style shows who you are, and you can help with knowing exactly what you like. If you don't know where to look for inspiration, apps like Pinterest may help, shows from different eras (70s/80s/90s) or the famous outfits from models or stars from the eras. After you realize what kind of clothing items you need, it is vital to find a second-hand store that meets your needs because not every store is the same. 

Every vintage shop focuses on something else. Some sell more modern second-hand clothing; others rather sell street-style clothing. There are even a few shops that sell way more women's or men's vintage clothing. Urban Outfitters also offers redesigned second-hand clothes, but without permission, redesigned clothing from famous brands is not allowed in Germany. Thrift shops tend to have everything, but they are usually flooded with clothing which means you must invest a lot of time there. The benefit is that when you find a really cool 90s t-shirt, that is sold for a very low price, while in second-hand boutiques, it is much more expensive due to the costs. 

After finding your favorite vintage store nearby, consider cleaning your wardrobe first and looking at what you already have. 

The fashion trends from the different decades had their big comeback, whether it's the colorful neck holder tops, the 90s T-Shirts, jeans, leather jackets, mom or flared jeans – all had their personality and still kept it until today. Since the trends are coming back, the need for inventing new looks and styles is not present at all. Even big designer companies like Gucci take inspiration from the bright colors and patterns. I am very sure when the vintage trend is gone, it will definitely come back as it always did.




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.

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