The Retro Fashion Trends That Are Having A Major Style Moment

When it comes to fashion, what’s old is usually new again. The clothes that are in style at any given point were probably popular years or even decades earlier. When designers and style-makers get inspiration from previous eras, trends are reborn and become the next big thing all over again.

Whether you’re into thrift store chic or if you prefer to buy your clothes brand-new, you’ll want to check out these retro fashion trends that are all the rage today. From kitten heels to tweed coats, can you see yourself in any of these flashback looks?

Platform Shoes

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Amy Sussman/Getty Images for eBay

During disco’s heyday in the 1970s, platform shoes were the “big” thing. The tall shoes made a reappearance in the ’90s and today they’re back and better than ever.

These swanky shoes make legs look longer and they’re way more comfortable than stiletto heels – just look at actress Mary-Kate Olsen in her hot pink version. If you’re going to dance the night away, do it in some platform shoes.

Round Sunglasses

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Melodie Jeng/Getty Images

Just like every other sunglass shape, round shades have their fashionable moments every few years. One of the most famous fans of the round eyeglass shape was the iconic Beatle John Lennon, who started wearing them in the ’60s. These glasses have certainly been making a comeback lately.

As a bonus, round sunglasses are flattering to many face shapes. Opt for an oversized pair to help give the illusion of more width from cheekbone to cheekbone.

Mini Skirts

2012 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet
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Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

While skirts hitting just above the knee had been around for a while, it was the 1960s that saw miniskirts take on a life of their own. These flattering (and very daring) skirts, made popular by people like supermodel Jean Shrimpton, were a staple of the “swinging London” style.

Miniskirts haven’t really dropped in popularity much since then because they’re such a fun style to wear. Actress Emma Watson is a big fan and frequently shows up to award shows wearing super-short dresses and skirts. She always looks great!

White Dresses

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Dave M. Benett/Getty Images for Rimmel

It used to be an unspoken rule that fashionable people didn’t wear white after Labor Day. Luckily, that style “suggestion” is completely outdated today, and we can wear the flattering color whenever we choose!

The fabric makes a big difference when choosing which white dress to wear. In the summer, it’s best to stick with something lightweight such as linen, while velvet or another heavy fabric is perfect for winter styles.

Pearls

Grace Kelly
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Just like gold or diamonds, pearls will never go out of style. They’re not as flashy as some jewelry which means you can dress them up or down, depending on the statement you want to make.

Grace Kelly, who many people consider the epitome of high-class fashion, was a huge fan of pearls and it’s easy to see here why she liked them so much. Invest in a good pearl necklace (or pair of earrings) and you’ll wear it year after year.

Hats

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Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Back in the day, women were expected to wear a hat when they left the house. Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore but for someone who’s into fashion, hats are like the icing on the cake.

The perfect hat is a stylish way to “cap” off a gorgeous ensemble, and can also do double duty by covering up evidence of a bad hair day. There are so many styles out there to choose from, so find a few you like and rock them proudly.

Animal Prints

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Han Myung-Gu/GC Images

Animal prints have gone through some serious highs and lows over the years. Once the epitome of high fashion, prints like leopard and cheetah have also been seen as cheap or tacky at different points in history.

Today, however, leopard and other prints are having a major comeback. Celebs like Chloë Grace Moretz can’t seem to get enough of the look, which can be found in statement items like coats and dresses, as well as accent pieces like handbags or headbands. This is a flashback fashion trend you won’t want to miss out on.

Head Scarves

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Michael Bezjian/WireImage

We’re so glad to see headscarves making an appearance here. These versatile scarves can keep your hair out of your face on a windy day (or while you’re riding in a convertible!) and they also look super glamorous as a fashion accessory.

Choose a color and pattern you like and tie it in a face-flattering way. You can wear a headscarf while you’re running errands, doing some gardening, or during a photoshoot for your perfume line if you happen to be Kim Kardashian.

Leather Jackets

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Fashionable people have been wearing leather motorcycle jackets for decades. Just think about icons like James Dean and Marlon Brando in their iconic black leather coats.

These aren’t just for men, though, and can be paired with everything from jeans to red carpet-worthy gowns. Actress Olivia Wilde is a big fan of the style and is often spotted out and about in hers. There are plenty of simulated leather options out there too, so what are you waiting for? Get one and join the “in crowd” today.

Kitten Heels

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

When it comes to footwear, it doesn’t get much cuter than the kitten heel. This demure yet sexy style is often linked to Audrey Hepburn. The tall beauty wore it frequently because they didn’t make her tower over her co-stars the way a regular high heel would. Leading lady Nicole Kidman is a fan for the same reason.

The ladylike silhouette is a sophisticated alternative to the flat and is having a serious fashion moment right now. Bonus: they’re also super comfy for hours.

Overalls

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Christian Vierig/Getty Images

Some might be surprised to see overalls make the list. After all, they’re often associated with farming or other non-glamorous activities. But it turns out that overalls can be worn in any season depending on what they’re worn with… which makes them super fashionable in addition to being extremely comfortable.

Dress them up with some fun accessories, a sweater, and heeled boots. Or you can keep it casual in the summer with sandals and a tank top underneath. It’s going to look chic either way!

Gloves

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Chances are that you already wear gloves in the winter. If so, you know that they’re nice for keeping your hands warm. But gloves have another benefit: they’re incredibly stylish and are making a very retro comeback.

Gloves aren’t just for cold weather, either. Depending on the thickness of the fabric, they can be worn year-round as a chic accessory that will also help protect a manicure. Victoria Beckham is just one modern celeb who’s known to rock gloves wherever she goes.

Flared Pants

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RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Some people call flared pants the “anti–skinny jean” look. A throwback to the days when Cher and Farah Fawcett ruled, these curve-accentuating pants can be worn with a variety of shoes, from platforms to sandals to stiletto heels.

Here, actress and singer Eiza Gonzalez is rocking her denim flares with a sexy matching button-up shirt and the look could not be more modern, even as it’s nodding to the past.

Pussy Bow Collars/Lavalier Blouses

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Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

A lavalier collar, otherwise known as a pussy bow, is a versatile blouse style with a bow at the neck. The pussy bow has an interesting history, starting in 19th century France. The style gained massive popularity in the 1980s after then-UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher started wearing them. Princess Diana also wore the bowed shirts quite a bit.

Today, this is a fun and feminine option for business casual looks. Pair the blouse with fitted dress pants and heels for a modern alternative to a “power suit.”

Denim Skirts

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Denim is one of those fabrics that will never become unpopular. And right now, it’s denim skirts that are having their “in style” moment. They’re perfect for almost any occasion and can come across as a bit dressier than jeans, depending on what you wear yours with.

Just don’t go overboard with it… remember Britney and Justin’s matching VMA outfits? Yeah, that was a bit much. Try out a skirt before going for the whole head-to-toe look!

Patterned Or Textured Legwear

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Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Gone are the days when wearing pantyhose or stockings was expected of women. Today, we get to use legwear as a fun way to accessorize our outfits. From sheer and seamless to the classic fishnet to polka dots, patterned tights have never been more popular than today.

When paired with something like an elegant short black dress, a patterned leg can serve as the focal point of an outfit. Try them with shorts, too, for a more unexpected look.

(Faux) Fur Coats

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Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

If you’ve ever worn a fur coat, then you know how cozy and warm they are. Plus, they’re very sophisticated and remind us of glamorous old Hollywood.

While the look of fur is still popular, many people have chosen to go the “faux” route instead of buying the real deal. Not only is it just as warm and luxurious as fur, it’s also humane and a fraction of the cost.

Flannel Shirts

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Oswaldo/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

People who value comfort in their fashion choices are sure to be happy that flannel shirts are back in style. In addition to being super cozy and cute, flannel shirts are really versatile and can be combined with a bunch of different looks. Wear it buttoned up as a regular shirt, around your waist, or even to cover a dress.

Pretty Little Liars actress Ashley Benson chooses to pair hers with some lightly ripped jeans and an oversized handbag for a casual look while running errands.

Corsets

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Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

When we say that corsets are back in style, we’re certainly not referring to the rib-breaking undergarments of the olden days. Now, fashionistas are wearing the flattering cut of a corset but in more untraditional (and comfortable) ways.

Elle Fanning is a fan of the look but has on a modified corset that she’s actually wearing over her shirt as an accent piece rather than as a shaping garment. This retro look is both sexy and sophisticated.

Brooches

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Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage
Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage

Do you hear the word “brooch” and immediately think “old-fashioned”? Well, you’re not alone if so. Brooches have been worn since ancient times, but that doesn’t mean they’re outdated today.

In more recent decades, glamorous Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn loved to wear these statement pieces. Today, they’re just as stylish as ever and celebrities from Blake Lively to Kate Middleton wear their brooches proudly wherever they go.

Neck Scarves

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VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Most commonly associated with French style, neck scarves are an easy addition to any wardrobe. They are the perfect neck accessory for springtime style, when it can still be a little chilly out.

The right neck scarf will add a touch of retro sophistication to any outfit, whether it’s jeans and a blazer or a cute strapless dress. They’re available in virtually any color or pattern you can think of, so have fun finding one that’s perfect for you.

Tweed

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Chris Radburn – Pool/Getty Images

Some people say that tweed went out of style years ago, and others say it never went anywhere. One thing is clear, though: celebrities and fashion enthusiasts alike are wearing a ton of the classic wool fabric these days.

Whether it’s a coat, skirt, dress, or accessory, tweed is one of the most popular trends around. As it originated in Scotland, it’s not surprising that the UK’s Princess Eugenie, seen here in a tweed coat, is a longtime fan.

Puff Sleeves

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Donato Sardella/WireImage for Disney Consumer Products

Whether on a dress or a blouse, the exaggerated look of the puff sleeve is back in a big way. The look is ultra-feminine and can be slimming to the arms, as well.

Here, Nicole Richie is wearing a modern, toned-down version of the puff sleeve. With the lace and the short frilly collar, this dress has a very uniquely Victorian feel that’s very much in line with current retro styles.

Duster Coats

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Robert Kamau/GC Images

Here’s a tip for anyone who’s building a wardrobe: items that can be worn in multiple seasons are super desirable and will give you a lot more bang for your buck than something that can only be worn for a couple of months each year.

A duster coat is an elegant option that can be used in the spring, summer, and fall, depending on the climate. They can also be dressed up or down, making them one of the most versatile items to own!

Peasant Blouses

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ANDERSON/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

The peasant blouse has had many moments in the history of fashion. The name “peasant blouse” first appeared in Vogue as early as 1902, describing a high-necked and embroidered bodice with loose flowing sleeves. This blouse was perfect for the 1960s hippie movement, and is right back in style today.

Mad Men actress January Jones rocked a sheer cream-colored peasant blouse as she spent the day shopping in NYC. Her aviator shades and chic short hair keep the look from being too costume-y.

Ruched Dresses

Charlize Theron Sighting in Paris - March 2, 2009
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Dominique Charriau/WireImage

Ruched dresses have been flattering women’s curves since the 1950s and ’60s. Anyone who has seen old pin-up photos is surely familiar with the style.

Thanks to celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Ashley Graham, and Dua Lipa, the ruched dress is making a comeback. Here’s Charlize Theron wearing a gold dress with ruching at the top, although many versions are gathered at the waist instead. This is a look that’s flattering to just about any body type.

Polka Dots

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Venturelli/WireImage

The polka dot pattern has a colorful past, beginning as a symbol of the plague centuries ago before becoming popular with fans of polka music. In more modern fashion history, Marily Monroe’s iconic polka dot bikini is now one of the most famous bathing suits of all time.

The dots are everywhere these days and are especially popular in the spring and summer months. Singer-songwriter Florence Welch frequently wears vintage looks, and this pink polka-dotted dress is a great example of her retro taste.

Neon Colors

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This trend seems to be either loved or hated by just about everyone, but people who know how to wear neon colors right look amazing in it! Neons have been popping up all over the red carpet over the past couple of years especially.

Supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio looks great in anything she puts on, but this muted lime green really accentuates her skin tone. The dress itself, with that groovy pattern and short skirt, is a total throwback to the 1960s.

Soft Grunge

Behind the Scenes with Madonna, Lola and Kelly Osbourne at the
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Kevin Mazur / Contributor

In 2010, we saw the rise of a new trend called “soft grunge,” which is a nod to the 1990s grunge style. Soft grunge is exactly what it sounds like, a less in-your-face version of the flannel shorts and ripped jeans of the original movement.

Lourdes “Lola” Leon and Kelly Osbourne got the look just right here. There are still the traditional elements of grunge, like the overalls, flannel shirt, and requisite Doc Martens, but the overall effect is much more feminine and modern.

Bishop Sleeves

A female fashion model wearing pleated top short dress with bishop sleeves
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A bishop sleeve gives a blouse or dress a dreamy, romantic look that became hugely popular in the 1960s. This style has long sleeves that become fuller toward the wrist and are gathered into a cuff.

The style is seeing a resurgence in recent years because it’s both flattering and versatile. Many people choose to wear a bishop sleeve top with high-waisted pants to help accentuate the waistline. Ballet flats or kitten heels are the perfect footwear for this retro look.