How to Wear a Vintage Dress

How to Wear a Vintage Dress

by Madeline Berger
January 4, 2020 | Last Updated: February 1, 2021

The world of vintage dresses stretches wide—some of us hunt for the presence of colossal shoulder pads while others look for the kick of an ’80s ruffle or a good ‘n’ loud floral pattern. Over the past couple of years, we’ve built our vintage dress section online to include an ever-increasing selection of vintage dresses, with most dating from the ’70s-’90s. 

While lots of us can stand back and admire a good vintage dress in all of ruffled, floral glory, it can be hard to picture how one would actually go about wearing these numbers to anything besides an ’80s theme party or literal Halloween. Enter, this small but mighty blog post; here to show you four good ways to style your vintage dress and enter the coming decade in style. 

Neutrals with a Pastel Pop

Categories: Vintage Trench CoatsVintage DressesSunglasses

Have a dress with some quintessential ’80s flair, including pastel colors, loud floral prints, or ruffles? Start by throwing on a pair of coordinating shades (like our Pastel Large Round Sunglasses). Okay, do you now feel like Easter? Never fear—add a classic trench coat in a neutral camel color (black, grey or navy also work) to tone down your look and add a bit of contrasting structure.  

Iwona throws an oversized trench on top of a micro floral dress for a very ’90s feel.
David Ross Lawn pairs a large neutral bag with a floral dress and combat boots for perfect balance.
Amy Roiland spices up a soft yellow minidress with an oversized straw hat and fun accessories.

Amp up the ’80s (With a Twist!)

Categories: Vintage Denim JacketsVintage DressesWomen’s BootsDad Hats

A short, flounced, floral dress has the 1980s written all over it, doesn’t it? While you could work to counter the over-the-top nature of the dress with a sleek coat or boots, another route is taking it up a notch instead. Throw on a denim jacket, add some chunky boots, and top it off with a baseball cap—a sporty detail to give the outfit a bit of a twist. 

Mix Those Prints

Categories: Vintage Button-Up Shirts, Vintage Dresses, Women’s Footwear, Hair Accessories

Have a vintage dress with an all-over pattern that’s maybe a bit too much? Lean in! Throw an oversized button-up shirt in a contrasting pattern to break up your outfit into shapes. Tie western-style to sit at your natural waist to give plenty of room to a billowing skirt, or leave hanging loose for oversized cool. Throw on a pair of cow boots and tie your hair up in a patterned scrunchie for extra funk! 

Weronika Bukowczan belts an oversized leopard-print shirt over a floral dress with a ruffle hem.
Weronika serves more inspo by pairing contrasting florals together for a look we love.
Iwona shows that you can still pack a punch by pairing a patterned headscarf with your dress.

Be a Bit Mysterious

Categories: Vintage Leather Trench CoatsVintage DressesCheap Sunglasses

A straight cut, lightly-patterned vintage house dress is given a completely different persona when worn under a billowing, heavy leather trench coat—sorta like I Love Lucy crossed with The Matrix. Throw on a pair of large, coordinating aviators and strut down the street in style. 

Colors on Colors

Categories: Vintage Lightweight JacketsVintage DressesBeanies

Sometimes you’ll find a vintage romper or jumpsuit in our dresses category! Take a super summer-y number like this and transition it to cooler seasons by adding a vintage lightweight jacket and a beanie. The super coordinated colors add to the vintage vibe!