Designers love looking to the past for design inspiration. There’s so much to be inspired by, whether it’s street style from back in the day or the imaginations of legendary designers. Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele is currently having a ’70s moment, offering up duds that would look perfect at a summer festival. Versace and Zara (and Rihanna) went back to the future (or just the ’90s) with their athletic wear-inspired collections. And just like designers comb the archives to find new things to be inspired by, we have too. Here are 18 retro and vintage pieces from the Roaring Twenties to the Aughties to inspire you this fall.
1. Express Ivory Floral Lace Mini Skirt ($40): This lace skirt, with its art deco-inspired hem, is giving us major Great Gatsby vibes. Wear this to dance the Champagne-soaked night away.
2. Marc Jacobs Imitation Pearl Rope Cuff Bracelet ($175): The 1920s woman loved her pearls. Instead of throwing on a been-there-done-that pearl necklace, rock this cool roped bangle instead.
3. Solace London Denim Kriece Pencil Skirt ($270): In the ’30s, women loved tea-length skirts that sat on the natural waist. This denim pencil skirt, complete with gold buttons down the front, has just the right amount of vintage charm.
4. Tobi Madison Wide Leg Pants ($48): We’re talking about the era of women’s liberation, when we imagine wide-leg trousers must have helped. This cobalt pair is so 1930s while also being totally now. That blue would look great with a white pussybow shirt with black piping.
5. Zara Golden Skirt ($50) and Blazer ($129): The ’40s woman went cuckoo for Coco Chanel, and the boxy skirt suit was so in. This metallic gold ensemble taps into that cool, and it’s like three outfits in one: Wear the pieces together, throw on the blazer with a tee and jeans or wear the skirt with a leather jacket.
6. French Connection Cecil Drape Shirt Dress ($158): Who doesn’t love a shirt dress? The 1940s woman did. This brilliant orange frock is perfect for transitioning from warm summer days to crisp fall ones. Just add tights.
7. Bernie Dexter Red Kitten Kelly Cap Sleeve Swing Dress ($158): At mid-century, post-war life included luxuries that had previously been rationed, like nylons and fabric. The style world celebrated by pushing fashion to the max, including full skirts. Get into that spirit of sartorial freedom with this swing dress with adorable kittens on it.
8. Jeffrey Campbell Escuela Loafer ($150): While the dresses got bigger, the shoes surprisingly got tamer. Comfort was cool and shoes were casual. These leather loafers are as comfy as they come, with a little bit of edge thanks to the silver tips on the kilt.
9. Obey Nomad Suede Side Zip Mini Skirt ($158): We all have Mary Quant to thank for starting the mini skirt trend. How else would we be able to show off all the hard work we put into leg day at the gym? Unlike the original, this one is made out of suede, the perfect texture to go with cooler temps.
10. Aldo Rixon Boots ($200): These suede over-the-knee boots were made for walking down Abbey Road and going gaga over the Fab Four. Wear these sixties-style with a micro mini, or slip them over a pair of dark wash jeans.
11. Soul Purpose Jacket ($60): Make love, not war, in a comfy floral kimono that channels the psychedelic seventies. It looks equally good with flared jeans (see below) and clogs as it does with a crisp white shirt and black trousers.
12. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Noha Mid-Rise Sexy Flare Jeans ($255): All the hip cats wore ground-sweeping bell-bottoms in the ’70s, along with sky-high wedges. This pair from Derek Lam come in the perfect comfy wash for days when you just want to slip on your rose-colored glasses and chill.
13. Nasty Gal Tux Be a Lady Cutout Dress ($88): Women hit the workforce hard in the ’80s with the power suit, complete with padded shoulders, that gave women the confidence to succeed in male-dominated industries. Bring the look into the now with a sexy cut-out blazer dress.
14. Atelier Wonder Scribble Denim Skirt ($109): Does this skirt give you Saved by the Bell vibes? It should. The Max, and many other ’80s hot spots, were decorated with pastel doodle designs. Pair this white denim skirt with an over-sized white sweater for major retro vibes.
15. Zara Mini Fabric Quilted Bag ($54): Who knew those tiny backpacks would make a comeback? Zara makes them cool again and perfect for fall in this quilted bouclé fabric with chain straps.
16. Dr. Marten’s 1460 Arcadia boots ($140): Flashback to the ’90s, when we were in love with Nirvana, Joey from the TV show Blossom and grunge. And just like the ’90s, these wine-colored combat boots go great with a band tee and a plaid shirt tied around the waist.
17. L’Academie The Ruffle Boho Blouse ($170): This shirt blends two huge aughties trends: bohemian chic and lace-up everything. We were absolutely mad about all things flowy or peek-a-boo, and this shirt is so spot-on — yet also so modern that it hurts. Get into it.
18. Urban Outfitters Tattoo Choker Necklace ($8): Back in the aughties, you weren’t cool if you didn’t have one of these stretchy faux henna chokers with the matching bracelet and ring. Unlike many retro things, this is one of the instances where you can dig it out of your basement, shake off the dust and wear it again like nothing ever happened.
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