Wearing vintage clothing without adding a modern touch can make you look like a fashion victim. With a little savvy styling, however, your favorite vintage pieces can look current and classic. To upgrade your vintage pieces, mix your retro dresses, handbags and outerwear with current trends for an eye-catching and elegant look. Whether your style profile is bombshell, edgy, feminine or old-school glam, the right drop-dead details can elevate your vintage pieces from nostalgic to new!

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Shorten the length of your vintage skirts and dresses. Rebecca Daly, editor of “Real Simple’s Simply Stated,” recommends that you raise the hem of your 1950’s tea length dresses or skirts. Transition your vintage pieces into the 21st century and beyond by layering an attention-grabbing jacket and a modern statement necklace over your retro frocks and circle skirts.

Revamp your vintage clothing with modern jewelry and accessories. Wearing colorful and on-trend accessories are a simple way to take your clothing from the previous decade into the current one. Pair an embellished necklace and a silk cardigan over your Jackie O-inspired sheath, or wear a sleek, designer leather handbag with a tweed, Chanel-inspired vintage jacket and round, tortoise-shell sunglasses.

Mix one vintage piece with a current clothing trend. The editors of Glamour magazine suggest that you skip the “head-to-toe vintage look.” Instead, wear one vintage piece– a coat, dress, pair of pants or a skirt– and add a trendy clothing option to balance the outfit. For example, to accent your retro 1960’s leopard coat, pair it with black skinny jeans and a crisp, white blouse for casual outings or a black wool sheath and nude patent leather pumps for work.

Add a little feminine polish to your retro, tweed two-piece suit. For a fun evening out with friends, add a faux fur collar to your vintage tweed jacket. Pair this old-faithful classic topper with dark-colored jeans, a silk top and leather high-heeled booties. Pile on three or four gold bangles at the wrist for added flair. For work, your tweed skirt looks current when worn with a cashmere cardigan twinset, pearl earrings and ladylike, pointy-toe flats.


  • The quickest way to recharge classics is with color. Add a high-voltage pair of trendy red or yellow pumps or a vibrantly-hued necklace to create major impact with your vintage clothing.