Wearing vintage fashion in everyday life: How to feel more comfortable in your retro clothing

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Everyone should wear exactly what he or she wants. Remain true to yourself. These words are absolutely true, but let us be honest: it actually is not always that easy to dress like we really want, especially when we don’t want to get all the attention. This is why I would like to share some tips with everyone who loves vintage (inspired) fashion but doesn’t always has the courage to dress in this style. Step by step, I want to inspire you to integrate vintage fashion into your everyday life and help you to feel better in your clothes. The good news: Feeling good in your clothes has a lot to do with self-confidence. And one can definitely learn to be self-confident.

PS: This blogpost is for everyone who wants to try the vintage style, but doesn’t feel very comfortable in it. If you already wear vintage and retro fashion in your everyday life and feel great in it, you can definitely skip this post and read my some of my (vintage) fashion know-how articles, instead. 😉

Wearing Vintage Fashion in Everyday Life – Tip 1: Start with elegant Classics

RetroCat mit einem knielangen Swing-Rock, einem Cardigan und schlichten Vintage-Accessoires
Swing skirt, a black top, a few accessories, and curles: This outfit looks subtle, but elegant – a perfect look to start dressing vintage.

One can definitely dress vintage or retro without looking super showy. To get used to the (vintage) inspired style, I always recommend to start with elegant but subtle classics like a chic black dress or an elegant combination consisting of a knee-length swing skirt* and a blouse* or top* together with pretty shoes, red lipstick, and, if you like, stockings. This is an outfit, I also like to wear when I want to dress elegant, but don’t really want to stand out.

Straight hair or a recent hairstyle look more modern and therefore more inconspicuous than a vintage inspired hairstyle. As soon as you feel a bit more comfortable in retro/vintage clothes, I recommend to try a vintage hairstyle in everyday life. A very easy one that doesn’t take that much time and exercise are lovely curls. I usually start to set my hair with sleep-in rollers* after washing my hair in the evening. In the morning, the only thing I have to do is to put out the rollers and brush my hair – that’s it. You don’t even have to do this every day, such a hairstyle usually lasts at least two to three days in my hair.

On sunny days, you can also try if you feel comfortable with a hat. It is best to start with a subtle summer hat and a matching, easy hairstyle.



Wearing Vintage Fashion in Everyday Life – Tip 2: Make sure everything fits perfectly

RetroCat mit einem perfekt sitzenden Wickelkleid von The Seamstress of Bloomsbury mit einem Oldtimer-Motorrad
If your garments fit perfectly, you will immediately feel more comfortable in them. Wrap dresses are always a good choice, as they can be easily fitted to the body.

A very important tip is to make sure your clothes fit perfectly (this not only applies to vintage fashion, of course). You will never feel 100 percent comfortable in an outfit that is too short, tight, long, or wide. So if something doesn’t really fit, I recommend to not buy it. If something doesn’t fit anymore you you found something very special that unfortunately doesn’t really fit, I recommend to search for a good tailor shop. (If you are able to alter your clothes by yourself, this doesn’t count for you, of course.) Made to measure garments are a great alternative. Brands like Atelier Belle Couture or Grünten Mode, for example, offer bespoke garments for very fair prices.

Furthermore, make sure your clothes feel good on the skin. A scratchy garment, for example, may not only make you feel uncomfortable, it can also ruin a whole day or evening, as it is hard to focus on anything else when you are busy scratching yourself.



Wearing Vintage Fashion in Everyday Life – Tip 3: Wear conspicuous Garments in the Evening or on special Occasions, first

It is always a good idea to wear a very special or glamorous outfit in the evening or on a special occasion, first. In this case, you can get used to the look without completely standing out from the crowd. A wedding, for example, is a wonderful event to wear a beautiful flower-printed dress* and maye even a petticoat, without getting too much attention. On glamorous evening events or an elegant dinner occasion, on the other side, you can wear a super chic dress with your most glamorous vintage jewellery and still most likely won’t feel overdressed. These are also great occasions to try more elaborate hairstyles or maybe even dare to wear a glamorous cocktail hat or fascinator.



Wearing Vintage Fashion in Everyday Life – Tip 4: Take heart and simply wear it!

RetroCat in einem Kostüm bestehend aus Rock und Jacke, dazu trägt sei einen kleinen Hut
Although it might take some courage, but such an elegant outfit usually mainly receives positive reactions on the street.

After starting with more subtle vintage outfit in everyday life, and wearing more glamorous looks on special occasions, it is time to take heart and wear something special on the street. Although people might be looking at you, stay cool and always remember: Most of the reactions to an elegant vintage style are positive. Maybe you will even receive some compliments! In this case, try to accept it, and don’t start with saying things like: “oh, that’s nothing special”, or something similar. (Of course, you don’t have to accept rude comments, though. I mean real compliments, here.)

All in all, however, I always recommend to not pay too much attention about other people’s reactions and never start to ponder about what they might think of you. This most of the time only makes your feel unsecure and is of no significance. The only thing that really matters is that you like your outfit.


Wearing Vintage Fashion in Everyday Life – Tip 5: Be self-aware

Last but not least:

It is absolutely fine to dress up in everyday life! I even believe this shows self-esteem.

If you receive negative comments or people are staring at you, keep your chin up. As long as you feel good, you definitely should exactly wear whatever you want. No matter if this might be a dreamy tulle dress, a huge hat, a very voluminous petticoat, or just a simple combination of jeans and shirt. You are great and everyone who really likes you is going to accept your style and hopefully even support you.

In all those years I’ve been dressing in vintage style, by now, I’ almost only received positive feedback. Furthermore, I don’t care anymore if people are staring at me. Since I’ve started to dress the way I really want, I also got so much more self-confidence. It is easier for me to create an outfit in the morning, as I love my garments and feel great in them. Another positive effect: I wear my clothes much longer than I used to before starting to dress vintage. My garments are timeless classics, I don’t have to replace them every season by a new, more fashionable piece. So here is my most important advice on how to feel better in vintage fashion:

Be self-aware and stay true to yourself.

When you wear your clothes with confidence and grace, you most likely will receive respect and maybe even admiration, which most likely will make you even more self-confident. I’m sure, negative reactions will be an exception. With starting to wear what I really like, I gained so much self-confidence and therefore can definitely live with the few negative comments I receive. So just wear what you really want! And also don’t feel the pressure to always have to dress authentically vintage. It is absolutely okay to only occasionally wear vintage pieces and dress modern as often as you want. Because in the end, this is what really makes a personal, unique style: Wearing exactly what you like and dressing in a way you feel beautiful in. It doesn’t matter what others say about your style.

RetroCat in einem langen hellblauen Vintage-Kleid aus den 1930ern


And now, I’m curious: Do you wear vintage (inspired) clothes in everyday life? What kind of experiences have you had?

By the way: In my shopping tips, I tell you where I buy my vintage and retro garments.

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8 thoughts on “Dressing up on everyday Life: 5 Tips on how to feel better in Vintage Fashion

    1. It is actually often impossible to wear exactly what one wants. Safety and climate often come in the way. (And now I mean safety as in working safety etc, not as a women on the streets.) At work there may also dress code. For example I cannot wear high heels to work – certain staircases require sturdy shoes.

      1. Dear Milja,

        thank you for your comment! Of course it is not always possbile to wear exactly the clothes you want, especially in work. But this blogpost is mainly meant to help the ones who want to dress in a specific way, but not dare to do so.
        I also published a blogpost a while ago, addressing business dresscode guides, by the way (you find it here: https://retrocat.de/2018/10/12/dress-for-success-buero-outfits-im-retro-stil-business-dresscode-guide/).
        So with dressing how one wants, I mean dressing in a specific style (vintage style, for example), here. And when possible, of course. 😉

        Best wishes
        Sandra

  1. Very nice article and great advice. I will add one thing in that I agree you should wear what you feel comfortable wearing but I think it can go beyond that in doing it for someone whom you love as well. I think sometimes we forget that love requires commitment and compromises. Love is special and both partners need to fulfill each other’s needs. Lastly I would say don’t be afraid to challenge yourself in small ways and step outside of your comfort zone just a little from time to time.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Michael!

      I agree with you to the point that dressing for your love can be something good. However, you still should be yourself and only dress yourself in a way you feel confident in. It doesn’t make sense to dress for someone in a way you absolutely don’t like, because in the end, this will make noone happy.

      Best wishes
      Sandra

  2. I think of my wardrobe being vintage-inspired rather than true vintage, but all those tips apply equally. I don’t really have a defined image, but I am conscious sometimes when I go for something a bit different – but then I just take a breath and go for it. Usually it works, and then I get that real buzz of self-esteem. Thanks for another great article! Kk

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