Vintage Style by Decade

by Molly Guy

 

 

 

Early 1900s

Early 1900s

This is the Edwardian era. Picture pristine cotton dresses with embroidered pockets and genteel ruffled hem. Think Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides. We're going for the whole slutty virgin look here. Looks best with cherry-bitten nails, limp blonde hair and a bored, existential smirk.

 

 

 

 

1920s

1920s

Erase that vision of a fringed black flapper dress from your head, already! That's so Halloween party; Depression era digs were so much cooler than that. The Roaring Twenties were the first time women were allowed to show their knees in public. Think ethereal hand-painted dresses, and silky pajama sets worn with lucite stilettos.

 

 

 

1930s

1930s

Hello vampy glam. This is the age of the Hollywood golden girl. It's all about the movies, baby! Picture Jean Harlow, platinum pink curls. bright crimson lips. Bias dresses go full-throttle here: sinewy. clingy diaphanous floral printed frocks are the SFB personal fave. Best paired with pointy kitten shoes featuring rhinestone clasps.

 

 

 

1940s

1940s

No more lazy lounging for the ladies-- World Was II sent 'em all marching to the workplace. All of a sudden pants and practicality became the thing. Picture Bogie and Bacall. We're obsessed with a good high waisted pants with jewel encrusted pockets. Looks best with a tailored tuxedo jacket and a brown cigarette behind your ear.

 

 

 

1950s

1950s

Decadence returns! Men are back from the war, ladies are lunching. libidos are high. Torpedo boobs and corseted wasp waists are where it's at. Skintight compression girdles make today's spanx seem positively sweatpants-like.  Hey. who needs to breathe as long as your body looks banging?

  

 

 

1960s

1960s

Remember that scene in Mad Men when Megan Draper does that sexy little strip tease dance at Don's birthday to "Zou Bisou Bisou"? That's basically the early '60s in a nutshell. Starts out with Edie Sedgewick in gogo boots and a little mod minidress-- ends positively space-age psychedelic. By the time it's 1969 Janis Joplin is belting out "Me & Bobby McGee" in denim bell bottoms, tons of beads, and a big fringed vest.

 

 

 

1970s 

1970s

This is the era where women get all wild animal like. Picture pastel batwing dresses with plunging keyhole necklines baring major breasts. Bianca Jagger is swinging from a chandelier at Studio 54 in a lurex leotard. Pop a Quaalude, pose for Mapplethorpe, pass out on the floor of the Chelsea Hotel. You dig?

 

 

 

1980s 

1980s

Brooke Shields is cooing that nothing gets between her and her Calvins. Jennifer Beals is banging her head around a ballet studio finding her inner Olivia Newton-John and the yuppies are rushing to work in shoulder pads and Reeboks. Our fave eighties look is definitely Kim Basinger working her coquette nymph thing in 9 1/2 weeks. Picture baggy wool sweaters, mens suits, black boots. Blink your eyes and she's in nothing but a blindfold and black lace.

 

 

 

 

1990s

1990s

Who's cuter: Kate Moss or Winona Ryder? Can't deal with the debate, we're too busy listening to Kurt Cobain and tying the laces of our black combat boots. Frankly, layered flannels with huge holey jeans are so much sexier than the Betsey Johnson babydoll dress. Whichever way you swing, don't forget your blackberry lipstick and black ribbon cross choker.

 

 

 

 

Early 2000s

2000s

It's the time for twins to shine. Paris and Nicky, Ashley and Mary-Kate. Did someone say Juicy sweatsuit? The Hiltons hit the scene dripping in Louis Vuitton, little dogs and diamonds. The Olsens are traipsing around NYU in blue sweatpants, Birks and big huge hardware Balenciaga bags. Homeless hobo by day, Herve Leger at night. Starbucks cup and black sunglasses are required.

 

Originally Published on Elle.com March 2014

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