Five steps to an easy vintage look
by Meagan Dill
At first, vintage style can seem intimidating. But by integrating vintage aspects into your look bit by bit, it’s easy enough to put your own spin on this style. Here are our tips for making the vintage look yours, from head to toe.
Accessories are a subtle way to infuse your own look with vintage chic. Play around with different kinds of hairpins and alice bands. Go for buttons, pearls or ribbons. Getting your hair cut into a blunt bob or getting a fringe can take your hair to next-level vintage. As for colour, it’s best to keep your hair looking healthy and natural rather than going too crazy on colour and highlights (although white-blond or pitch-black hair can work well for this look).
The two key elements here are lipstick and eyeliner. Get that right and the rest comes easy. Start with a fresh, clean face. Apply a light eye shadow up to the crease of your eye. Apply black pencil liner on the bottom half of each eye, then switch to black liquid liner to trace a thin line on each eyelid. You can flick each line up at the outer edges to create a cat-eye look, if you want. Work as close to the roots of your lashes as possible. Go over each line a few times to even them out and thicken them up. Finish off your eyes with two coats of black mascara. Subtlety is key here, since your lips will be the focal point. Get your hands on any shade of red lipstick and a matching lip liner. Carefully outline your lips with the liner. Then apply the lipstick, blot, and reapply. If you want to go the extra mile, use black eyeliner to draw a small beauty mark anywhere on your face.
Here’s the tricky part: you need to balance out vintage with your own style. Going full-on vintage is dangerous – you could end up looking like you’re off to a costume party. Not a good thing. So live by this rule: wear one statement, attention-grabbing piece with an outfit that allows that item to take centre stage. In other words, don’t overdo it. The great thing about this is that you don’t have to break your bank shopping for new pieces; rather simply add to what you’ve got and mix it up. The first thing you need is something high-waisted – preferably a pencil skirt. It’s instant sophistication and flatters most body-types by cinching in the waist. Pair it with a waist belt (another essential). Also look for anything nautical-themed, floral, or lacy. Dresses are an easy way to create a feminine look in summer, but you can still wear them in winter with a pair of tights or stockings. A cardigan or leather jacket is also a good buy for the winter months. As for colours, pastel or jewel tones work well, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule.
Anything rustic-looking will instantly add a vintage feel. Look for long, pendant chains with any of the following details: lockets, watches, keys, or hearts. The same applies to earrings and brooches. Try to go for bronze colours rather than gold or silver, as bronze tends to look a little more worn. For hot summer days, get yourself a pair of wayfarers.
Don’t underestimate the importance of shoes. They can make or break your outfit, so pick them carefully. A pair of pumps in a neutral colour (such as black, white or nude) are a no-brainer because they’ll go with anything. As for heels, go for a peep-toe or Mary-Jane style. Again, look for details like bows, lace, or buttons. Alternatively, you can pick up a pair of brogues or boots.
Photograph by Luke Marchant