Vintage Trends Fashion Guide & Tips


With tips on how to

get the look on a budget and information on Period Etiquette.

For a full guide on these tips, please click the below button

Tips,Hints, & Etiquette


Tip One 

One fundamental key for achieving 

The Vintage Look, is to research and use the appropriate colours and forms. Once you know this for your chosen period fashion, you can create it by using , things you already have ,modern and original items put together.

Tip Two

Learn the etiquette for which accessories

to wear with what and at what hour.

 Please read 'Etiquette ' dotted on this page.

These are good to read for both

men and women.

Tip Three

For guessing the age of a piece,

take a look at details. Certain periods had certain patterns, motifs, designs that were vogue for the period.

See'Hints ' for details.

Tip Four

Style Resurgence's.

Some later decades had revivals of previous styles

For example The 1970s is known as the

a Fashion Revival Decade by some, although the 2000s have now taken that title I think!

The 1970s revised the Bohemian look by coping 1920s Art Nouveau,'Oriental & Bohemian fabric styles and incorporated a soft flowy look to form, added long beads and wide brim & cloche hats and hey presto! 

You have it the  1920s look.

The mid 1970s saw the return of the Edwardian high collars, mutton sleeves and the long dress

called The Maxi

And then in the late 1970s we saw the return of 1930s looks, wide leg trousers, a-line flowy dresses, cross over wrap dresses, etc.

And then in the 1980s The wonderful Lady Di

brought back to vogue the 1920s drop waistlines, Peter Pan collars and hats!

The late 80s  & early 90s saw the return of dreaded 1940s shoulder pads only much bigger!

All this makes it cheaper and easy to find the look you want by getting later versions of the original, that still have the right patterns , colours and form.

For example,a 1920s dress is very expensive but a 1970s 'version' might be a 1/4 of the price!


For suggestions on using later 'revivals'

See below.

TIP -Style Revival Match- ups

1910 & 1970s ( Mid)High collars, mutton sleeves, the maxi- Laura Ashley look.

1920s &  1970s ( early)Bohemian & wide brim hats, & 1980s ( early)Lady Di look, drop waists, Peter pan collars, Hats

1930s & & 1970s (late) & 1990s-2000s Tea Dress, beret,pleated skirt, wrap dress

1940s & 1980s &1990s(early)Shoulder pads, fur coats

1950s & 2010s ( Pin up style,Hipster)

NB: The 2000s saw revivals in fashion styles from the 1950s, 60s, 70s & 80s

as 'Vintage' was trending in the world.

This trend persists today and has grown into a way of life for some.

Now we can say it has become a movement!

Tip Five
Can you sew?
If you are a handy person who can sew, why not make your own.
There is a plethora of vintage sewing patterns out there.
Saves you a lot of hassle trying to find the right dress in the right size.
Get a cheap 1980s pattern to do 1940s
or 1970s wrap dress pattern for 1940s daytime look, or Lady Di style dress pattern for 1920s
just adjust to perfect the desired decade fashion better, by making the shoulder pads smaller, add or take away embleshiments, etc
Fabric Reverbs 
Often easier to get more recent fabric patterns than the original , which you would not necessarily want to use, as they command a high price and are seen as an investment now!
1970s 'Art Nouveau style fabric can be used for a 1910s creation


Coco Chanel

The inventor of The Little Black Dress
and suits for women.
And the use of costume jewellery,
made Vogue 
Classique Chanel Looks

1920s Classic

Black dress with piles of colourful costume jewellery.


1930s Classic

Wide leg black trousers with side zip or'double breasted' buttons and a white, navy or black blouse with pussycat bow , or a 'mans' style blazer with a neck chief.

Mid 20th Century Classic

Square cut skirt suits.

Chanel Style Accessories

Black fedora hat

long beads

wide bangles

stud earrings

Fairly big brooches

Necktie or cravat for women

Black court shoes.

Tip- With Chanel the clothing is the stage the costume jewellery are the actors.

In essences this is 'classique Chanel' from early Chanel style 'Form' was the structural basis for the design. The 'Form' was then accessorised heavily. 

The 'form was usual monotone and dark or white, colours like black,navy and white.

The jewellery, hat, bag and scarf along with shoes, co-ordinated as accent colour.

In the mid 20th century, it was the cut of the suit

( the form) that was to stand out with a simple costume brooch.

Sewing Handy Hints
1980s sewing pattern does 1940s
only has shorter hems.
Just adjust the hem length to mid calf  and soften the shoulder pads by making them smaller
and you have a 1940s look !

Laura Ashley sewing patterns of the 1970s  does 1910s

Almost perfect reverb!

1980s sewing patterns with 1920s style drop waists,

just lower the hem to mid calf.

Fabric & Pattern Handy Hints

See 'Tip Four' to the left, for helpful information


1910s- Nymphs or Avand Garde.

Art Nouveau, Oriental, ethereal ( Heavenly, fairy-like, Nymph-like)

Heavily decal-embellished with sequins & beads, feathers or furs, juxtaposed with ethereal fabrics.


Silk, chiffon, lace, taffeta, real velvet, furs, delicate knitted wool, embroidery, needlepoint.

New Dominate Style:

Empire waist, hobble & lampshade skirts.

New Fashion Garments:

Low back evening dresses.

Long line cardigen

1920s- Its about exoticism.

Oriental, Egyptian motifs, Chevron,stripes, checks, two tone eg: black & white together, tartan,argyle ,herringbone, geometric  patterns Stylised leaves,twigs, flowers.

Motifs, floralettes, bows, ruffles, fringes, frills,pleats, collars, belts were embellishments.


Cotton, wool, Georgette, rayon, silk, linen, gingham,voile,crepe.

New Dominate Style:

Drop waist, square & boat -neck necklines, peter pan collars,diagonal hems, shorter hems ( mid calf) and ankle length for evening wear.

New Fashion Garments:

The shift dress.

Kimono jackets 

1930s- All things Latino

Spanish style-small polka dots and layers of frills. Small stylised patterns in gingham checks,stripes and small stylised flowers.And plain smooth satins and silks ( faux or real) for evening wear, liquid satin, shiny silk.


Cotton voile,crushed velvet,rayon, chambray,Georgette, nylon,crepe,fine silk, liquid silk,cotton/wool blends.

New Dominate Style:

Balloon & lantern sleeves, V -neck, A-line skirts, Chinese collar,wide leg trousers for women,skirt suits, halter neck, caped shoulders & sleeves, pointed collars, pussy cat bow necklines. on blouses and dresses. Very long flowy, flouncy hem or fish tail evening dresses.

New Fashion Garments:

Blouse and skirt combination.

Beach Pyjamas.

Bolero &  Cape Jacket over evening gowns

1940s- Its about Hollywood

Stylised flowers on stripes or checks,colour mixed stripes,checks or dots.Large and small floral, tropical floral and leaf patterns, tartan & argyle. And plain  heavy satins and silks ( faux or real), & damask  or flock for evening wear, whos hems now stop just above the floor.


Velvet,satin, sateen, silk, nylon 'silk', Rayon, wool, cotton, voile, seersucker, wool flannel & twill, damask, flock.

New Dominate Style:

Shoulder pads,wrap front bodice, fuller skirts, shorter hem ( to knees), knot tie.Over all tighter bodice fit, queen Anne , shawl Mandarin & sweet heart necklines.

New Fashion Garments:

The Tea Dress,

The Swing Dress.

Sailor suit- trousers or dress

1950s-Its about quality & variety!

Faux or True. You cannot tell?

Monotone, bi-tone, multi coloured, striped, motif, big polka dots, patterned, tartan, floral, animal print, doggy, cat , horse motifs.


Taffeta,satin,sateen,silk, nylon, rayon, damask, flock, shot silk, organza,faux velvet,Chambray, crepe, denim, seer sucker.

New Dominate Style:

Wide full circular skirts with tiny waists or sheath dresses/skirts, pointy busts, boat neck & scoop necklines, off the shoulder & strapless bodice,

New Fashion Garments:

The pencil skirt

The Prom Dress ( wide petticoat )

Strapless Evening Dress

Colours of The Decade


Most colours were used but they were softer in tone, more natural, like cottage garden flower colours.

 Favourites were light salmon, chalk & beige pinks, apricot shades, buttery yellows,cream, ivory,light lilac, eau de nil & many soft shades of soft greens & blues.


Pastel palette continued in this decade, but black was used freely , no longer reserved for mourning, it could be found accenting main colours.

Evening wear was more daring in silvers, golds, bronzes.

Think- Gemstones.

Favourites were misty greys,rose,

jade green ,peach, topaz yellow, aquamarine,creamy coffee, turquoise, amethyst,black,sandy beige,cornflower & sapphire blue, ruby & wine red, lilac, lavender.



Well saturated pastels, deeper and richer in hue than previous decades.

Think sun, sea & the Mediterranean! 

Favourites were  greens like deeper eau de nil, sea green, pea green, racing car green,deeper pinks of chalk  & rose,orange shades like apricots,mandarin and burn't sienna, rich cornflower blue, navy,wine, rich brown, beige,gun metal greys & deep violets & lavenders


Primary colours-Hues are strong, bold, and vibrant.

Think abstract art!

Favourites were Navy blue, brown, beige, black, red, greens  grey, rose pink, coral, cobalt blue, aqua,white and butter & mustard yellow


Mid tone hues of most colours in light, mid and dark shades. Deeper for winter.

Think happy colours of spring& autumn richness.

Favourites were warm red, steely to greeny blues, chalk pink,  aqua & pea greens, butter, & sunflower yellow, dark creams, coffee & mink browns, battleship grey,very dark navy, black


Going out for Dinner?

Dinner for Two at a Restaurant at Night

Ladies as you enter let the waiter or your gentleman, take your coat but not your hat & gloves or handbag. Be seated, wait for the gentleman to pull out your chair and then sit, he should then push your chair in but not too close only enough so that you can reach the table but also place your napkin on your knees, which you do just before eating.Then you remove your gloves at the table, lay them alongside your place setting. Your handbag should be stowed away under the table. You keep your hat on. Never cross your legs, put your knees together and direct your feet slightly to the right. Sit with your back straight and do not lean on the chair back or even touch it with your back! 

If you should need to adjust your lipstick, replenish your perfume, powder your nose, pick your teeth,relieve yourself or make a phone call, go to the Ladies Lou to do it, do not do these things at the table. Excuse yourself and wait till the gentleman rises first, then leave the table. Once you return, apologise for keeping him and settle back down to conversation.



Conversation, or as it was known social intercourse

 at the dinner table.

Never speak about , religion, work,politics, rude things, your clothes or toilette, your mother, your girlfriends, sex , or yourself.

Do ask him about himself. Be engaging and polite, smile a little sweetly( but not broadly, unless he makes a joke then laugh appropriately)

If he asks about you, answer him truthfully without bragging or rudeness.

If he is rude, excuse yourself and leave the table, taking your gloves and bag with you.

Finally make him pay  for the dinner,always 

The Appropriate Attire for a Formal Dinner

Ladies- A long evening gown, ( keep to one colour) long gloves, evening purse and shoes, which should be sandle type, jewellery especially around your neck and ears.Layered pearls or diamante 

( diamonds if your lucky)with earrings to match. If its winter a fur coat, if its cool but not winter a fur stole, if its summer a silk or satin stole,this can be patterned or a co-ordinating colour, but not tarten ( unless it is a Scottish affair) or a' country fabric'.


Smoking-If you smoke socially use a cigarette holder and only smoke cigarettes offered to you by your gentleman. Never completely finish your cigarette and never smoke alone, it is for socialising.


Gentlemen- A black dinner suit with black bow tie and black shoes with cufflinks and a white handkerchief.Rings can be worn on the ring or pinky fingers but not both together, this is too much.


Smoking-If you smoke socially use a cigarette case and matching lighter. Always offer your lady a cigarette first ( if she smokes)Never smoke alone, it is for socialising.


For a Simpler dinner

Ladies- A cocktail dress, shoes with a moderate heel, elbow ( forearm length) gloves, bag, hat, jewellery- single strand of pearls or cocktail necklace and earrings to match

Gentlemen-A day suit with tie ( not bow), appropriate to the weather, dark colours for winter and autumn, light colours for summer and spring. 

Discourse- here you can talk about most things that are deemed appropriate by yourselves.

This would not be a first date.

For a Picnic

Ladies- wear a day dress like a tea dress, or wide legged trousers  and a blouse,short gloves, summer hat( straw)hand bag, simple jewellery & sunglasses  in the shape for the period.

Always be the one to offer the food. Heres the time to show off your baking skills ( most foods should be home made by you)It times gone by this was done to impress a future husband!

Gentlemen- wear a nice shirt ( open necked) a cravat ( if desired) or open necked, trousers ( not jeans), sunglasses, a hat if desired

( straw or cloth).

Lay out the blanket and let the lady sit first.

Always pour the wine/beer into a glass for the lady first. In fact you should bring the wine or beer and the blanket would have been stored in your motor car, anyway.

Do not help yourself to the food, wait to be offered and handed the food by your lady.

Discourse-Here you can talk about love romance, nature, hobbies, sport and all things happy.Get to know each other.

Picnics are never the first date, usually it is reserved for 3 or 4th date.

1920s Chanel, modelled by Coco herself
1950s Chanel suit
Coco Chanel in trousers 1939
1980s Sewing Pattern
1970s Laura Ashley Sewing Pattern
1980s Drop Waist Sewing Patterns
1930s Evening Dress Sewing Pattern
1930s Beach Pyjamas
1940s Shawl & Mandarin collars
1940s Cocktail & Evening Dress
1910s Paul Poirot Designer Fashions
Pastel Shades of 1910s
1940s Nautical Look
Vintage Fashion Resurgence
1950s cocktail dresses