How To Style Retro Fashion Trends

Fashion is a pretty funny thing. One minute you’re rocking a certain trend 24/7, but as time goes by, the look fades out and you can’t fathom ever wearing it again. Then, 10—maybe 20—years later, you find yourself ordering said trend off of your favorite websites to sport around town and on the ‘Gram. Sooner or later, pretty much all retro fashion trends end up becoming cool again. It’s the circle of style!

Sometimes you see a completely laughable trend from a decade you weren’t even alive during, and wonder how it was ever cool—but all it takes is a modern-day twist on that trend on your favorite sites like ASOS, Revolve and Lulus to make you rethink your original dislike. Somehow, you always justify buying the piece, and for a least a few months, it becomes your new favorite thing.

Moral of the story? Trends are ever-changing, but sooner or later, they almost always come back in style. Just because a certain trend was popular in, say, the ’60s, doesn’t mean it’s gone away forever. While you may look back at the trends from previous decades and wonder how the heck anyone could ever incorporate them into their modern-day wardrobe, you might be surprised how easy it is to do. Not to mention how great these retro-inspired outfits can look!

Today, I’m sharing all my favorite ways to bring these retro fashion trends into your 2020 wardrobe without looking like you time-traveled from a different century. Let’s go decade by decade and break down the most popular trends, plus how to style them now for a modern, stylish look, shall we? Read on for five looks inspired by the ’60s through the good ol’ ’90s.

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The 1950s

Courtesy of Kristen Bousquet.

There’s something about the styles of the ’50s that just scream romance to me. I immediately think about The Notebook and Rachel McAdams prancing around the south in a flowy midi dress covered in flowers—almost always a halter-top bodice, with some sort of detail about the chest.

When I saw this dress from Lulus, I knew it would be perfect to bring that 1950s spirit into 2020. Couldn’t we all use a little romanticism and happy prancing this year?? Paired with a funky pair of shoes, my favorite Lack of Color hat, and bright earrings, this look was immediately made more appropriate for modern style.


Courtesy of Kristen Bousquet.

I’d be lying if I said the 1960s wasn’t my favorite fashion decade to live vicariously through. The bright colors, groovy patterns, and peace and happiness have always caught my eye. I’ve pretty much made it my goal in life to bring the funky prints from the ’60s into my daily life without looking like a wannabe hippie, and I think I’m doing okay so far.

In order to make the floral prints of the ’60s feel more modern, I opted for this Petal & Pup printed jumpsuit (it was under $60!!) plus some pastel green square-toe sandals (here’s a similar pair) for a vintage touch that looks chic even in 2020.

The 1970s

Courtesy of Kristen Bousquet.

While the 1970s were a time of bohemian vibes, when it came to getting dressed, there was also a surge in casual wear as well. This look that I put together for this era features these slightly cropped wide-leg jeans (the modern bellbottom, if you will—here’s another similar pair!) and a fun band tee (here’s one more with additional sizes still available) modeled after the ones sold at actual live concerts at the time. Add in a pair of platform sandals, and boom—you’re a ’70s babe through and through.

The 1980s

In the ’80s, bright colors were everywhere, and shoulder pads pushed past the other trends to become one of the hottest styles of the era. Very recently, a resurgence of shoulder pads has been seen on the runways and in street-style photos from around the world, so I opted for this padded-shoulder white muscle tank for my look.

To add in that element of bold color that defines ’80s aesthetics, I paired my top with this breezy floral midi skirt (currently sold out, but here’s another similar option!) and some eye-catching white sneakers with colorful striped detailing.

The 1990s

You can’t talk about ’90s fashion without mentioning rainbows and denim, am I right? Whether it was the hip-huggers you wore to look just like Britney Spears or multicolored tube tops that resembled the ones Christina Aguilera wore on stage, all true ’90s kids have denim and rainbow prints in their closets.

For a true homage to ’90s fashion, I went for a fun take featuring these Levi’s overalls layered over a rainbow tee and finished off the look with my platform sandals and a pop of color via my handbag.