From the deep, deep, corner of your grandmother’s closet, she appears with a pair of pants she used to wear. Perfect. Just the high waisted style you were looking for. She’s more than happy to help, and you’re more than happy not to pay for such a trendy “new” style!
Vintage trends are coming back. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and even second-hand apps and websites have had quite the last few years. Clothes once thought of as ‘totally over’ have resurfaced in these purchase locations and us fashion lovers are eating it up. Over the last five years, sales for stores selling second hand items have skyrocketed. So much so that the Chicago Tribune even wrote a piece about the phenomenon last year. According to thefashionlaw.com, theRealReal already had over 9 million users by the end of 2018 with numbers climbing, and apps like Depop are following suit (a very plaid, vintage suit, of course). Experts at ThredUp, the largest online consignment and thrift store, claim “the Secondhand market [is] set to hit $64B in the next 5 years”.
The second hand, thrift, vintage shopping phenomenon is great for many reasons. One, it is so much better for the environment. The fashion industry has only become more unsustainable over the years. So anything to limit the amount of production, usage of toxic dyes, fast fashion underpaid and overworked labor, and so many more issues the fashion industry faces today is a very good thing. Second(hand) of all, shopping this way is often very economically savvy, too, as second hand prices often reach more than 50% off retail prices! Not to mention the plethora of fashion history knowledge you gain from shopping brands once at the top of designer charts (and many still there!).
As if these benefits weren’t reason enough, vintage trends aren’t only present in thrift situations, but regular retail stores and brands are designing pieces and lines with a ton of vintage inspiration too. So regardless of whether or not you buy the vintage trends from your local designer’s boutique, Target, or a second hand store, here are some of the vintage trends you should keep an eye out for.
1. Historical High Waist
Starting off with one of the most popular vintage trends on the market right now- high waist. A nice high waist can be found in almost any genre of bottom. Pants, jeans, shorts and skirts all have entered the high-waist space recently. High waists can be super flattering and (for the shorties like me) help give our legs an illusion of length! Up for a pair of mom jeans, anyone???
2. The Choker
90s kids where you at? The choker necklace is back!- for one of the most fun vintage trends resurfacing. 2020s chokers are coming in more varieties than the Tattoo Choker popular back in the day. Now, the tattoo choker is a vintage trend that’s come back, but it’s brought some friends with it. Chain chokers, beaded chokers and even tie chokers are some of the new options to go for.
3. 70s Floral Skirts
This decade it’s coming back in the form of midi skirts, the once popular “hippie skirt” is another vintage trend making a comeback. Midi skirts are essentially the most comfortable and fun skirts on the market. Falling right below the knee, just a bit higher than the 70s skirts, midi skirts have come back in a variety of patterns, but oftentimes florals (just like those 70s skirts). The midi skirt is such a fun vintage trend to try.
4. High necks and Turtlenecks
I know you know that Dwane Johnson picture I’m thinking of. That photo is the epitome of 90s turtlenecks. And guess what, that vintage trend is back too. This year the runways displayed countless examples of high necklines- sometimes in the form of a turtleneck, sometimes in another way! Regardless, the returning high necks this year are totally giving off Dwane Johnson 90s vibes.
Can you believe it? Capes are a vintage trend returning to make sure you feel like a superhuman every time you walk out of the house. While capes have been around for an extremely long time, it’s no doubt that the trend has provided some much needed warmth and comfort for wearers throughout the years (er… centuries). Any of the many new cape styles seen on recent runways will do just the trick!
Reining in as one of the most historically loaded trends of the fashion world- plaid has made its mark countless times over the years. Initially the criss-cross patterns were known as Tartan (which, by the way was banned in Britain throughout the 18th century as it was associated with the Scottish Rebellion of 1745). The native-to-Scotland term “plaid” actually referred to Celtic Kilts, as opposed to the pattern of the fabric. But like many things, “Plaid… was later appropriated by British and American manufacturers, who created patterned fabrics” to look like tartan. All this info and more about the vintage trend can be found on Bustle’s Plaid Story here. Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, plaid again became an expression of rebellion, resistance and revolution. Today that might just be what plaid expresses too! The pattern has recently heavily influenced countless fashion houses and styles around the western world. From full-on plaid suits to plaid pants, skirts, tops and blazers, the pattern is taking over once again!
A century later and the 1920s polkadot has come back for the 2020s. Once the polkadot’s purpose was to show just how youthful fashion could be. Today, polkadots are showing youthfulness yet again, with a chic twist this time around. From sheer shirts to full dresses the polkadot is back (and tbh, I hope it’s here to stay!)
Culottes originally graced this great Earth in the 1500s, when men would wear them as knee-length pants that tightened at the knee. Mainly worn by European male aristocrats, the term soon made its way to the woman’s wardrobe. Hanging just at the knee, falling like a skirt, but split off into two legs, the historical culotte style changed a bit as a woman’s pant. And they’re back and better than ever this year. The (very very) vintage style is popping up in designer clothing culture- where culottes and similar-looking baggy bermudas made their way onto the SS 2020 runways. Here’s a statement pair found at Bergdorfs, I told you they’re trendy!
9. Statement Socks & Sneakers
Back in the 70s, Adidas and Puma ruled the sneaker game. Recently, they’ve reestablished their position on top. The tennis sneaker vintage trend has turned into countless sneaker looks to choose from today. Chunky sneakers from Fila and stark white from Nike- whatever sneaker you chose, don’t forget to pair it with some matching socks to stand out, too.
10. Environmentalist Fashion
Arguably the most important vintage trend coming back is environmentalism. When the Environmental movement began in the 60s- focusing on clean air, water and stopping littering, the fashion industry paralleled these social concerns in many ways. Natural hues were popular among all genres of clothes, and more natural feeling fabrics were used (because they felt more natural and because the fabrics used were often more sustainable). Today we see this vintage trend in a very non-vintage way. The fashion industry is having to completely revamp itself in many ways due to consumers demands for a more sustainable industry. While we still have a long way to go before fashion can be considered completely sustainable and environmentally friendly, changes for more naturally and ethically made clothes are being pushed. Hopefully this movement isn’t a trend, at all, and rather a very long term solution to a very prevalent problem.
These ten vintage trends are some you should definitely look out for and try to recreate in your own wardrobe!