How To Dress Vintage
It’s no surprise that here at Hell Bunny, we love vintage style. We’re obsessed with 50’s starlets, craving those classic silhouettes and mad about our retro prints. If you’re already a fan of the vintage style or you're looking for some vintage inspiration to add to your wardrobe, we’re going to cover the basics you need to channel your favourite pin-up.
From patterns to prints and everything in between, let’s step back in time and find out how to recreate this must-have style.
Vintage Fashion Silhouettes
There’s no one way to dress vintage. The term spans multiple decades and one person's view of vintage fashion could be totally different to another. With that in mind, we’re going to focus our guide on 1950’s fashion. It’s our favourite decade and the inspiration for the Hell Bunny collection. In our first 50’s vintage lesson, we’re going to look at some of the most iconic 50s fashion shapes and silhouettes that remain effortlessly stylish, even today!
Fit & Flare
With a fitted bodice and a flared skirt, the fit and flare style became popular in the late 1940s and remains a staple silhouette today. This flattering style can be created through 50’s style dresses or by teaming a flared skirt with a fitted top. For extra oomph, add a petticoat underneath the skirt for an extra feminine look that’s made for dancing!
Ideal for day-to-day wear, the shirt-waist silhouette has a collared bodice that buttons like a shirt with a naturally fitted waist. The bottom can range from full, flared skirt to a-line. This look is often associated with 50’s housewives but today this is a great choice for workwear or casual days out.
One of the most iconic shapes, the pencil silhouette is associated with starlets such as Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and more recently, Joan Harris from Mad Men. Fitted from top to bottom, the pencil shape accentuates curves. Effortlessly feminine, this is a flattering silhouette for any shape and can be created using either pencil dresses or pencil skirts.
Some of the most iconic vintage prints are ones that are just as popular today (hello leopard print resurgence!). 50’s vintage prints are incredibly diverse, with everything from soft pastel shades to bright, bold patterns used to create stunning looks. Our favourite vintage prints are fun, colourful and incredibly easy to style, perfect for anyone looking to add instant retro flair to their wardrobe.
Leopard print, or any other animal print is the calling card for any 50’s bombshell. Sophisticated whilst still having that all-important ‘edge’ - this print was loved by starlets such as Elizabeth Taylor who knew the impact of this bold pattern. Leopard print is incredibly versatile and looks incredible paired with a striking red lip - we are definitely ready for our close up.
Tropical prints and patterns were a big hit in the 1950s with actresses like Debra Paget and Bettie Page embracing this delicious mix of palm leaves, hibiscus flowers and tropical fruits. Ideal for summer months, you too can give off Carmen Miranda vibes (with or without the real fruit) with this vintage 50’s print. Go bold with a tropical print dress or add a subtle element into your outfit with a tropical top or skirt.
Classic polka dot prints will never go out of style, whether you opt for black and white or add in a splash of colour. Starlets such as Jill St. John and Audrey Hepburn all rocked the dots and even today, polka dot is the print of choice for anyone looking to replicate 50’s style. With plenty of variations of the pattern to choose from, polka dot can be worn all over or as a subtle accent piece.
Nautical inspired clothing was a huge trend in the 1950s, with many starlets such as Bette Davis and Doris Day showing their love for stars, stripes and sailors. Nautical clothing has always had a place in the heart of modern fashion and many of the sailor dresses and tops give a nod to the women in the 50s who blazed their trail. The rule of thumb for nautical vintage clothing is to not go too OTT, it’s an ode to sailor fashion - not a Popeye costume!
Any vintage clothing aficionado knows that the key to a retro-inspired look is the accessories. From head scarves to cinch belts, it’s all about creating that all-important silhouette. Our favourite vintage accessories are ones that complement the overall look, not it. A scarf of bandana tied in your hair that accentuates colours in a dress or a handbag in a matching pattern or motif can tie a whole look together and give it that extra authentic air.
With a selection of vintage accessories in your arsenal, you can even add retro styling to an everyday look. We’ve picked some of our favourite Hell Bunny essentials to get your collection off to a good start.