Retro Dressing, Now

I know how the saying goes – if you’re old enough to remember that decade the first time around, you really shouldn’t be wearing it now….

Few of us can have failed to notice the 70’s and 80’s influence in current fashion trends.

Culottes, jumpsuits, flares, blue denim (and even puffball skirts at YSL at Paris Fashion Week if I’m not mistaken?)!

I know how the saying goes -‘ if you’re old enough to remember that decade the first time around, you really shouldn’t be wearing it now’… but I do love these clothes. And to be fair, although I remember the 80’s vividly and had a fantastic puffball skirts and some enormous shoulder pads (see below, I have no shame…!) – I was only just born in the 70’s, and that decade is largely pre-‘conscious recollection’?!

For someone who is doing their very best to wear what is already in the wardrobe, rather than buy new stuff, dressing with a slightly retro look can be a sheer joy.  Keeping the look current, however, is more of a challenge.

Yes, I have older clothes and some I have had for a long time – but not originally bought 35 years ago…..

I had a good sort through my wardrobe the other day and came up with the following:-

Knee length camel leather coat (Cos Stores c. 2016)

Denim culottes (MiH jeans)

Denim shirt (H & M boys’ department – a ‘hand me down’ my 12 year old son!)

Gold bomber jacket (Cos stores, last year)

Knee high, square toe, black boots (purchased with what remained of my Erasmus grant when I first arrived in London, September 1996)

Leopard print dress (70’s,80’s, 90’s, 00’s…. for ever!) (Moschino Cheap n Chic)

Camel suede jacket ( holiday purchase in 1997 – see below)

White denim flares (Jil Sander – gifted to me by a dear friend, from her late mother in law’s wardrobe)

Leopard print velvet biker jacket with fur collar (Shrimps)

And I also have a Brora silk blouse, paisley print, in greens, orange and brown.  My youngest son wore it on World Book Day last year as part of his Gangsta Gran outfit (David Walliams) – which somewhat gave the blouse the kiss-of-death, but I’m thinking with the right outfit – it could still be a go-er?!

I’d like to tell you a little bit about the longest-hanging item in my wardrobe – the camel, suede jacket purchased in June 1997.  I bought it from an artisan vendor in Menorca on my very first holiday with my now ex-husband. I loved it and wore it continuously for the first twelve months.  Inevitably, it was replaced over time, but I never got rid of it.  It has been on various holidays with me, and seen me through every season.  I rediscovered it more recently, and in the pocket I found a couple of receipts. Not unusual, I know, but these are in fact ticket stubs from a trip to the top of the World Trade Centre in April 2000. I’ve put them away safely, but I feel as though they have given the jacket added significance and I’m excited to wear it again this season.

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Continuing with the 70’s theme, I watched ‘American Gangster’ (Ridley Scott 2007) the other night with my middle son. Great film, and the 70’s styling is brilliant. The parties Frank Lucas throws are a perfect showcase for that era’s glamour – deep v necks, glitter, sequins, satin. Exciting and inspirational.

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In deciding what to wear this season, a lot has to do with colour. Whilst I do still revert to black from time to time, it doesn’t feel quite right at the moment. Spring is finally here (I’m being optimistic – just ignore last weekend’s weather travesty!) which makes me want to dress more brightly.  There seems to be a definite shift towards softer colours, and a move towards browns, greens and orange – (those colours that ten years ago I may well have written off as rather aging?!) And, my current favourite – pink, in every shade and hue.

I wore the denim culottes last week with the knee high black boots, and a short jacket.   The culottes will work just as well with bare legs and sandals when the weather picks up.

I’ve worn the leather coat recently, too, with jeans and a polo neck – (and several layers in between!).

As for accessories – this is the way to keep your look as current as possible.  Try to avoid head to toe retro dressing, unless you want to look like a) you’re stuck in a time warp or b) you too are heading to a fancy dress event.

A pair of 70’s shades would update things for now.  Or mix a slogan white tshirt with your denim skirt.

Footwear can sometimes be an issue. My personal favourite right now is trainers by Brazilian company Veja. They ethically produce great looking trainers, using raw materials from organic farming. See their website and Project information at www.project.veja-store.com.

Clogs are cool – try Swedish Hasbeens (the fashionistas amongst you can pair with socks for now). And flatform sandals (give the weather a couple of weeks ladies!) look great with flares.

Happy Dressing… x

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