How to Dress Retro Without Looking Costumed

How to Dress Retro Without Looking Costumed thumbnail
Retro women often wore scarves to keep their hair in place.

Dressing retro does not mean you have to look like your wearing a costume. Take style advice from Katy Perry and dress in a modern-day version of the classic look from past decades. Many retro styles will come back into fashion; therefore, look through old clothing, your parents' closets or raid a vintage store for ideas and inspiration. In addition to dressing, make sure you authenticate your look with the appropriate jewelry and makeup to coordinate with your outfit.

Things You'll Need

  • A-line dress
  • Tights
  • High heels
  • Booties
  • High-waist shorts
  • Button-down shirt
  • Wedges
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  1. Dressy Retro Style

    • 1

      Wear an A-line dress with a short hemline that flares outward. The classic retro look for dresses is a hemline that hits at the mid-thigh with a scoop neck. The dress should be sleeveless or have cap sleeves, which is a classic retro style. Look for a bold pattern, such as large white polka dots contrasting against a stark black background.

    • 2

      Pair brightly colored tights with the dress to offset the standard black and white combination. Tights in teal or pink will contrast nicely against the black and white. If color is not an option, wear fleshtone tights or none at all with the dress.

    • 3

      Wear high heels on your feet to elongate your legs. Retro girls wore high heels with their dresses. Put on platform black heels or go with a bright color to wear with the dress. During the cooler months, booties are typically worn with retro dresses.

    Casual Retro Style

    • 4

      Dress yourself in a pair of flattering, high-waist shorts in a neutral color, or bold color such as blue or green. The shorts should have a short hemline and a high waist that reaches to your belly button.

    • 5

      Coordinate a button-down shirt to wear with the shorts. The shirt can have long sleeves for cooler weather, or short sleeves for warmer weather. Instead of tucking the shirt into the shorts, tie the two front ends together so they leave a small peek of your abdomen.

    • 6

      Don high wedge high heels with the shorts to complete the look. Wear wedges that coordinate with the look, such as nude heels to elongate the legs. Another option of wedges is a bold color wedge with a cork heel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear chunky jewelry in round and square shapes to add to the retro flair.

  • Polish your face with bold red lipstick and heavy black eyeliner.

  • Swap high-waisted shorts for wide leg flare denim.

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  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

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