Styling Retro for Girls: Wilding Out to the Eighties and Nineties

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If there is one thing that won’t go out of fashion soon, it’s retro. Fashion trends come and go, but retro would always occupies a warm, sweet spot in people’s hearts because it brings back memories and feelings that are both unforgettable and nostalgic.

There is something inexplicable about the fashion of bygone years: they make lots of people feel grounded and happy. For many who embrace retro fashion for women, it’s a personal choice they would never regret.

2022 has been the year of retro

Typically, celebrity A-listers take a pick from the season’s current offerings, and they take inspiration from Parisian runways and the nouveau trends of the day. But the fact that the paparazzi have spotted the likes of Bella Hadid, Natalie Portman, and Zendaya on the red carpet with retro-inspired fashion proves that eventually, retro makes itself known regardless of the time of the year.

Image Source: Go Fug Yourself

We can’t say that retro is a fad; we think it’s a movement and a worthy one at that.

If you’re feeling like Zendaya, who rocked a Bob Mackie at the Time 100 Gala, you’re in the right place. Zendaya’s strapless silhouette, completed with teal padding, came from Bob Mackie’s fall collection in 1998.

And Zendaya isn’t the only one, either! Who could forget Cardi B during the Grammys in 2019 when she wore Mugler couture straight from the brand’s 1995 collection?

The nineties are extremely interesting nowadays, and eighties babies born at the tail end of the 1980s probably are still in denial that the nineties were a sweet twenty-plus years ago. Talk about an entire generation gone by!

So How Can You Style Yourself Retro?

Pexels: Mart Production

It’s already the end of the year, and everything in 2022 is starting to look a bit tired. But, ironically, injecting some retro into your life will likely refresh your fashion sense and bring back that jubilant energy you’ve been craving.

Fortunately, styling retro doesn’t involve too many steps, and you can approach as simple or ornate as you want, just as we do anything with life.

The first thing you need to know about retro is that you shouldn’t feel obligated to stick to one era, fashion trend, or style. Retro is about having fun with the past. While the purists will always put specific labels on what is vintage and retro, for the rest of us, just looking the part and sporting the retro look is enough.

We want this vibe, hoping more people will appreciate renewing fashion and sporting a fresh look every season or more frequently. The important thing here is you always have fun styling yourself because, ultimately, you’re out to please yourself and not anybody else.

Styling the Eighties

You were styling yourself retro means taking inspiration from bygone eras and having fun. However, you can’t have fun with anything if you don’t know how fashion trends went in the first place. Let’s start with the 1980s. The 1980s was the culminating point in fashion, where the excesses of capitalism and the punk movement clashed daily.

This was also when popular culture exploded, leaving behind a legacy that still influences artists today. Was the eighties the best era? We don’t know. But we can tell you that sporting an eighties look can be incredibly easy.

The eighties were about self-expression and having fun against the backdrop of Reaganomics and political unrest in the US. We mentioned punk earlier because you can’t talk about the eighties minus the punk movement.

Ladies, if you want to sport a retro look inspired by the eighties, follow these steps:

1. Check out retro jewelry like Far Fetched Imports which was made in the seventies, eighties, and nineties. Of course, the seventies inspired the eighties, and the nineties took some inspiration from the preceding generation.

In a big way, fashion trends give rise to the next one, so be sure to look at different jewelry collections to get the feel and vibe of the era that produced them.

Jewelry is critical to personal fashion, as a single, perfectly selected piece of jewelry can define an entire look.

Source: Xinar.com – Far Fetched Imports

2. You can sport a retro eighties look even if you wear daily or regular clothes. Go for oversized sweaters and tees, baggy pants, and most of all, don’t forget to make your outfits colorful.

One of the defining fashion trends of the 1980s was the definite overuse of bright colors, and they splashed everywhere. Oranges, pinks, and yellows were everywhere. Bright neon colors can be found on posters, notebooks, pants, sweaters… You name it, and they made that object extra colorful and bright.

Bold shades were all the rage, and color was seen as beautiful self-expression and a definite reaction to “the establishment.” As we analyzed previously, the 1980s was a melting pot of ideologies, and it is incredible what fashion can come up with in reaction to the times.

What about makeup? The eighties were all about looking bright and glam, so if you want to instantly “look eighties,” you need to make a sharp turn to bright oranges, pinks, and yellows, and we also recommend matching your retro outfits with necklaces, headbands, and earrings.

Don’t be afraid if the look sounds ‘bulky’ because that’s what the eighties were truly about – standing out, or in this case, sometimes even sticking out for all the right reasons.

3. Are you thinking of something outrageously cool? Try the acid wash look. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “acid washed” as a look defined by discolored streaks due to being washed with bleach. Of course, we won’t use actual bleach or any acid. However, you can accomplish an acid-washed look with your makeup.

What kind of makeup accomplishes the acid-washed look?

Grays, blues, and greens all help accomplish that counter-culture look that was so popular during the eighties. We know it’s as distinct as the bright colors discussed before. Regardless, it’s a good pick if you’re looking for a unique face look that’s not too bright but continues to scream the eighties throughout. Be as experimental as the folks in the eighties, and you’re sure to gain ground in styling yourself retro this season!

Styling the Nineties

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A recent Marie Claire report on the one hundred most iconic nineties looks ever features Princess Diana in a navy-blue sweater, shorts, and sneakers.

This alone should speak to you about the fluctuating energy of the nineties, which swung from super homey fashion to neon-space-age-metal-all-around looks that baffled everyone as they watched on MTV. Oh MTV.

Any nineties kid worth their salt will know how heavy MTV was in terms of influencing popular culture. Boy bands debuted on MTV, and the channel made them international icons.

But how can you look the part of someone who lives and breathes the nineties?

The fastest time machine to the nineties would have to be overalls. Overalls were everywhere in the nineties, from the streets to popular TV series posters. Even The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air wore overalls. It’s just something that people in the nineties loved because it was hip and super functional with those huge pockets everywhere. Now ladies still have to contend with jeans with no functional or real pockets. What a shame!

Source: Public Domain Image

Anyway, you can wear your overalls with both straps up or one strap down. After that, what you want to wear is up to you. It could be an ordinary shirt, a sexy tank top, or just about anything comfortable for you. The important thing here is you’re rocking the overalls like an actual nineties, baby.

Next on our list of must-haves for nineties styling are biker shorts. We know biker shorts don’t sound glam, but hear us out: everyone also wore biker shorts in the nineties. They exuded a brand of sexiness that was different from all other types of sexy in that era. So if you can look hot in pair of biker shorts, you probably have your life priorities right. And hey, if celebrities didn’t mind them back in the day, they would look fine on you.

Match a retro shirt with your biker shorts and walk around the neighborhood with that classic Spice Girls vibe, and you will be all right. Of course, it’s not just us who are enamored with nineties fashion. Just ask Naomi Campbell, Off-White, and Kim Kardashian, and you know you are already in good company.

The third item on our list is, surprisingly, another sport-related apparel: oversized headbands.

If the 1980s were all about bulky headbands in bright and bold colors, the nineties were more subdued colors like grays and whites, and wearing an oversized headband or even a bandana on your head was acceptable. The thickest headbands became the most acceptable headwear choices even on Parisian catwalks, and you can’t also go wrong if you can match that oversized headband with the color scheme of your tight pants and long sleeve shirt. This type of look emphasized the entire body shape and look and made your makeup pop like nothing else.

For footwear, we recommend combat boots. Now hear us out, brethren of heels: combat boots can be sexy! Moncler, Sergio Rossi, and Doc Martens are still in after so long because they look iconic regardless of the decade. Just try a pair and see the difference! 

Dare to Be Different!

Today’s fashion is eclectic, and you’ll get all sorts of vibes and energies from TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and the more traditional sources of glam and fashion, like Paris Fashion Week and fashion magazines.

We say go for it if you feel like you need to do retro! The items you need are all over department stores and street fashion outlets, and should you see something glam and retro on eBay, then go for it, too!

Retro fashion goes more than skin-deep: it’s something you craft with love and a sense of who you are. That’s why we’re so excited to see so many folks still going for a retro look and making it their own.

Whether you’re raring to look like the Spice Girls during their heyday or want to be punk 100% just because we’d love to see your look, email us your retro fashion look, and we may feature you on the blog!