The Perfect Vintage Wardrobe: Statement Items

by Sammy in Comment — Updated February 25, 2020

a 1940s novelty print rayon dress with clown character design

Followers of vintage fashion usually incorporate ‘statement’ items into their capsule wardrobe. These pieces can be used to spice up modern clothes or as the main focus of a complete vintage outfit, and might include anything from a bright floral print dress to an eye-catching piece of vintage jewellery.

Planning your wardrobe in advance, and resisting the urge to buy every piece that you fall in love with, is the best way to build an enviable collection of vintage clothing. Vintage fashion trends that capture the imagination tend to be unique one-off items that you come across by accident, rather than those found during a planned shopping trip. Items such as these can be pricey, but you may be lucky enough to find a vintage gem on

A ‘bombshell’ dress

A dress that takes you from day to night with nothing but a change of accessory is the perfect start to any vintage collection. This type of dress is generally nipped in at the waist, and can be a solid eye-catching colour or a print design.

The style is reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, and is perfect for those lucky enough to have an hour-glass figure. Nigella Lawson is a particular fan of this type of dress, as illustrated in this article by the Daily Mail.

Vintage trousers

Whether you prefer tailored trousers or the popular Capri pants of the 1950s and ‘60s, vintage trousers form an important part of a capsule wardrobe. High-waisted and wide-legged trousers look good with either flat shoes or heels, and crisp cotton Capri pants that taper at the ankle have a classic look when worn with a vintage cardigan or sweater.

Statement skirts

Vintage skirts of the ‘40s and ‘50s tended to be either fitted at the waist and full, or very slim pencil skirts that produce a slender silhouette. Worn with either kitten heels or stilettos they bring to mind Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn, and are classic vintage statement items. You may be able to find a full skirt in a solid colour, although polka dot and checked patterns were also very popular during their heyday.

Shirtwaist dress

Christian Dior favoured the shirtwaist style of dress, with the earliest versions including a crinoline to hold up the full skirt. This dress grew in popularity during the 1950s, and was adopted by women wanting a practical dress that was also stylish.

These days, shirtwaist dresses made from crisp cotton material make a great addition to a vintage summer wardrobe, and are easily dressed up or down with shoes and other accessories such as a scarf or belt.

In fact, all these statement items can be accessorised with simple fitted cardigans or sweaters, mixed and matched using pretty pastels and neutral colours.

Fashion trends adopted by celebrities are often long-lasting, and the vintage trend is no exception. Radio One presenter, Alice Levine, has a selection of statement pieces in her ever-expanding vintage wardrobe, as this article on the My Daily website illustrates.

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