6 Retro Fashion Trends Everyone's Wearing Now, Stylists Say
Here's how to embrace these throwback looks—and give them a modern twist.
As they say, what goes around comes back around—and that couldn't be more true when it comes to fashion. If you love to infuse a little nostalgia into your style, we bear good news: A number of retro trends are back "in" again, and many of them are actually super easy to incorporate into your everyday wardrobe.
The key here, according to Brigid Stasen, founder of Bridge Your Style, is to mix old with new. Combining your retro pieces with the season's latest trends will help to keep your look fresh and current. So, whether you're a fan of the whimsical '60s and '70s or long for the bold, bright, and brazen '80s and '90s, here are some retro trends to embrace this year—plus some styling tips for a modern take.
While skinny-leg jeans and pants may have been at the fashion forefront for a couple of decades now, bell bottoms and flares are back in a big way.
To balance out such a bold silhouette, Michelle Barrett, founder of Capsule Closet Stylist, recommends pairing your flared pants with a simple, cotton T-shirt or tailored button-down tucked in and some chunky sandals or platforms.
Anna Grace Du Noyer, a fashion expert and founder of the eco-label Fierce Wife, says a snug-fitting top will also highlight the dramatic flair of the pants.
For a leg-lengthening effect, Ayah Kajouk, founder of the Aya Mana clothing line, recommends opting for nude footwear. "A statement necklace or a modern geometric earring can bring that much-needed contemporary touch to a retro ensemble," she adds.
In case you haven't noticed, cargo pants are very much cool again.
"I love to pair them with more elevated pieces—like a sleek oversized blazer and low strappy heeled sandals—for a modern take," she explains. "Leave the baby tee in the '90s, and instead add a fitted bodysuit, which works nicely with the looser silhouette of cargo pants."
Barrett suggests choosing more fitted cargo pants rather than the baggy styles of yesteryear and pairing them with sleek leather sandals and a basic tank.
Statement pantsuits in bold colors were all the rage in the '80s—and they've triumphantly returned to the style scene. This trend oozes sophistication and can be adapted to professional situations and more casual affairs alike.
"To modernize the look, pair the two-piece suit with casual ballerina flats or elegant pointy-toe heels," says Yenia Hernández Fonseca, a stylist, luxury fashion expert, and contributor to Margo Paige.
You can also mix and match these suiting separates for a more laid-back look. For instance, Fonseca recommends wearing a tailored blazer with high-waisted straight-leg jeans.
A more streamlined, fitted bottom like leather leggings or a pencil skirt will help to balance the broad look of the blazer, especially if it has '80s-inspired padded shoulders, explains Du Noyer.
Whether you prefer silver or gold, Barrett says you definitely shouldn't shy away from metallics this season—this '80s trend is having a major moment once again.
Just remember: A little bit of metallic goes a long way, so there's no need to embrace this trend head to toe. Barrett advises giving your ensemble some instant personality with a silver or gold clutch, belt, or pair of pumps. She also says it's best to keep the rest of your outfit minimalistic so that your metallic accessories can really shine.
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Looking for a fun way to add a pop of color to your outfit? Stasen suggests embracing head scarves—a popular component of the mod and bohemian looks of the 1960s.
"This was a casual look that Jackie Kennedy sported while summering in Hyannis," she explains.
Stasen recommends pairing your headscarf with another '60s trend—oversized sunglasses—for an ultra-chic combo. This look is perfect for beach days, picnic dates, and sightseeing while on vacation.
Mom jeans came back around a few years ago, but it seems this throwback trend from the late '80s and early '90s isn't fading anytime soon. That's good news when you consider that this high-waisted, straight-legged silhouette is flattering on pretty much any figure.
Keep in mind that these jeans tend to have minimal to no stretch. So, getting a flawless fit is paramount for ensuring they look good and feel comfortable. Don't be afraid to take those mom jeans to your local tailor to adjust the waist, inseam, or other aspects of the fit so they hug your body perfectly.
"Pair mom jeans with a classy silk blouse, a structured tote, and loafers or ballet flats for a relaxed yet sophisticated modern look," says Beth Blakely, fashion expert and Chief Curator at Clickher.
You can also try them with a structured blazer and low-top sneakers for casual occasions—or a fitted turtleneck sweater and booties for an effortlessly stylish twist.