Most of us at this point have lived (perhaps only as small children) and have a few memories of the 1950’s; some of us more-so remember the 1960’s as small children or toddlers, many of us remember the 1970’s very well, growing up in a 70’s world, and all of us (hopefully) remember the 1980’s and 1990’s as young adults, teens or tweens.
YES! It is now a truth, we have now earned the Badge of being able to call ourselves multi-generational. And my point to this Article is to take this BADGE as a Multi-Generational Femme Extraordinaire and wear it loud and proud! Please read on and let me explain….
knowl·edge (näləj/) noun 1.facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
Being multi-generational femmes extraordinaires, we are all recipients of knowledge; whether we know it or not, WE ARE! We have stories, we have experiences, we’ve seen some outlandish and forgettable fashion styles, we’ve rocked some pretty good ones as well. What is so exciting about this is that we are now mature and wise enough to be able to be sparkly-vessels of this knowledge and wear it as a badge. That is right: if I am keeping you guessing, this article is going to focus on mixing and matching your multi-generational fashion…. and taking that BADGE and wearing it loud and proud!
My fellow Divas here at OLS and I often are asked, how do you have such cool, unique, funky and fun fashion style and sense?
Well first, I have to say I consulted all of my fellow co-founders that bring you so many wonderful articles, recipes, and tidbits, and we all agreed on one thing; we love to mix and match our multi-generational fashion styles and have fun with our Badge of Knowledge! It is true, all of us mix and match our styles and create individual looks to create our own fun, funky, and fabulous style. We drink from our cup of knowledge taking a bit of the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s or 1980’s and mixing it all together to create a tasty, tantalizing cocktail of fashion! We all receive compliments on our individual style and flair, and sometimes that fierce side-eye from those who wear their own badge of conformity. But…. if you want your own look and want to stand apart from the rest of the flock, we are here to help you out!
Kim Kalliber, shown above, takes her style cues from many eras and like all of us she has never met a leopard print she didn’t love (for the most part….). She loves mixing modern and vintage styles together to create her own outlandish and stylish look. She will often mix vintage 1950’s dresses with a little 80’s to create an edgy look that stands out in a crowd.
Your style is a reflection of your life. I’m a jazz-era, mid-century, punk, disco, garage, cowgirl rocker. And I don’t keep it simple. —K. Kalliber
Kim’s look is fun and eccentric. It works so well because the 1980’s actually borrowed many cues from 1950’s fashion. Kim also likes to add her own wonderful re-vamped accessories to her look and makes her own “custom” re-vamped purses and accessories which add her own flair to any look she rocks. (You can check out Kim’s creations on instagram: @kkalliber)
Mary is our pattern-expert extraordinaire and her background as a Design Artist shows in her flamboyant, colorful and fun patterns that she effortlessly mixes and matches.
Mary, shown right, is definitely an expert at mixing her colors and patterns (to read more about how Mary does it, check out her article https://www.eccentricdames.com/fashion/game-set-dont-match/). Mary’s love for color and pattern has even carried over into her career choices. She is a successful Artist/Graphic Designer where she gets to work with pattern and color and imagery on a daily basis. How cool is that?!?
She also loves mixing and matching her eras of fashion and can often be seen wearing modern reproduction pieces with handmade artisan accessories. She mixes her textiles effortlessly and she loves mid-century styling and her decorating choices at home also reflect this. She blends eras, colors, shapes and patterns so well that she will always be the first person your eye is drawn to when you walk into a room.
One of Mary’s favorite quotes is:
“People will stare. Make it worth their while” Harry Winston
Many think that mixing different decades in the same outfit can be quite hard to pull off, because the silhouettes do vary from decade to decade; clashes are inevitable. However, with the right accessories and a general knowledge of knowing which eras coincide with newer eras, it can be easier to do than you think. Mixing your vintage eras (and adding modern items to your look) takes fashion to the maximal and creates a truly unique, authentic and eccentric look. As a general and simple guideline, look at the 1920’s, i.e., flapper look. The look of chunky long necklaces, knee length swingy skirts, fringe, and fitted sheath style dresses definitely coincides with some of the 1960’s fashion and even a little 1980’s fashion. 1960’s saw drop-waisted dresses, shimmy-shaking fringes and chunky beaded necklaces. The hairstyles also became much shorter in the 1960’s, coinciding with the 1920’s. Stacie (shown above) loves to add accessories from multiple eras, vintage and new, to create her unique, polished look. Her red lips are her constant signature. She mixes mid century 50’s with modern accessories and often layers accessories together for a very forward-looking, yet classic look. The juxtaposition is stunning.
As Stacie says:
There are too many different eras I’m interested in to stick to just one! I really believe that mixing up eras allows me to express my style and love of history. Life is too short to stick to one thing!
The 1940’s era saw long lean bias-cut silhouettes, wide legged palazzo pants, high waisted garments and “Hollywood Glamour”. The 1940’s dime-store jewelry “bakelite” (which is now highly coveted and collectible) saw a resurgence with newer plastics and acrylics again in the 1970’s. Fur also made a comeback in the 1970’s. Of course platforms which were all the rage in the 1940’s made a huge comeback in the 1970’s, and it’s often easier to find 1970’s platforms than the 1940’s ones. Mixing these two eras together to create your own avant-garde look can be easier than you think! Kym, shown right loves the long lean silhouettes of the 1940’s Hollywood Glamor Era. She also loves the 1970’s as very similar looks can be achieved with an alluring twist. She loves mixing and matching these two eras and her vintage gold lurex gown from the early 1970’s (pictured right) effortlessly goes with her vintage 1940’s fur. Kym loves fashion from the 1920’s through the 1970’s and just can’t settle on one era so she mixes them! She also does the same in her house. As Kym likes to say:
Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn! Orson Wells
A generalized rule that I like to adhere to is to take one vintage piece from my closet and make it a focal point. This can be a dress, skirt, blouse or coat. Sometimes I even grab a 1940’s bakelite necklace and work my outfit from there. I then try to think of colors and patterns. If I take that bakelite necklace and know it is from the 1940’s, I may add either a pair of 70’s wide-legged trousers or modern palazzo pants to the outfit. A fun t-shirt with a vintage graphic for a more casual look can be added or a slim fitting blouse that is either 1970’s era or modern in the same color or pattern pallette is easy to match. Platform shoes or sandals are both from the 40’s and 70’s era, so would make a great choice for shoes, or a modern pair of platforms would work fine. Head scarves/turbans and wraps were popular in the 1940’s and in the 1970’s so this would make a nice choice to add to the outfit as well.
I should also add that makeup and hair can be important to your style-guide in mixing and matching decade and also with adding newer pieces to your mix. I like to pull up old images from the 1920’s and 1960’s and see the similarities in makeup, darker kohl lined eyes, poutier lips and rose-cheeks. I never try to duplicate the style exactly but take my makeup cues from these examples and it creates a fluid, cohesive look that does not look too costume-like and matches my look perfectly. If I am wearing some 1960’s pieces, I may make my eyes a little darker, or add a 1920’s vibe, like the reproduction turban I am wearing right. The patterns in my 1960’s swimsuit almost look 1920’s when paired with the right accessories to create a truly fun, eclectic and unique look that looks both 1960’s and 1920’s and modern all at the same time.
If you took Louise Brooks (1920’s) and added one part 50’s housewife, one part Punk Rock girl, one part 60’s Go-Go dancer, and one part Drag-Queen, and lightly stirred it all together and served it over a glass of glitter that would be me (Sassy)!
In today’s age of information available online, its fun and easy to do a little research and draw some conclusions of your own as to what decades coincide with others. It’s okay to take your cues from others, but have fun and create your own look. When I discussed this article with all of my lovely OLS Co-Founders we all came to the same conclusion, we ALL do not stick to one fashion era or decade to create our individual looks both in our fashion and in our homes!
There are many ways to shop and find vintage items and add them to your wardrobe. You can support small businesses (like mine; shameless self-plug: Sassypantsgrrl Vintage) by shopping online, at vintage shops and online websites. You can look at second hand charity and thrift stores as well. Besides a fun treasure hunt, you can also feel good that you are helping the environment by conserving resources, supporting small businesses and expressing your own creativity and unique spirit. And don’t forget to browse through our Shop for some of our favorite modern picks: there are so many options these days for brand-new retro reproductions and inspirations, in clothing, jewlery, and home decor! Your purchases on OLS help us keep the site alive, and we appreciate your support!
Below is a helpful little guideline to help you start mixing and matching your decades of fashion. It is definitely not conclusive but will get you started! The most important thing to remember is to have fun with your look, do not force something that you are not comfortable with. If you are shy and want to step outside the box, maybe start by adding a more colorful piece or funky textile to your look and see how you feel. Or. perhaps try a vintage accessory such as a 1950’s purse and begin with that. Adding vintage to your wardrobe and mixing your eras is fun and will garner attention and inspire conversation. Besides being yourself is the prettiest thing you can be!
TIDBITS FOR MIXING YOUR FASHION DECADES
- Pick one vintage piece (i.e., a dress, purse, accessory, shoes or skirt) and make that your main focal point
- Remember that 1920’s and 1960’s looks can be paired; 1940’s and 1970’s looks can be paired; and 1950’s and 1980’s looks can be paired
- Pairing vintage clothing with modern shoes, bags and jewelry is an easy way to ground your look and make it less like a costume.
- Add some color, or variations of patterns and textiles to your look. By adding contrasting patterns, you can serve to make your look both uniquely modern and timeless at the same time.
- Pay attention to your hair and makeup and make sure it coincides with era or eras you are wearing.
- Always accessorize! Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize! This will pull your outfit together and create a polished look.
- Have fun! Be yourself and create your OWN unique niche and style.
How do you like to mix up your style? Let us know in the comments!
by Cheryl aka Sassy Morris
Sassy packed up and left the gray gloomy skies of the Pacific Northwest along with her ungratifying, soul-sucking corporate job and moved to the sunshine and desert breezes in beautiful Southern California. Canadian Ex-Patriate, Wife, Mother, Fur-Baby Mother and Entrepreneur, Sassy now sells Vintage for a living after a life-long love and passion for rescuing old things. Sassy, sometimes serious, always honest and usually outrageous, she is embracing the “silver” years with a sense of humor, adventure, and seeking that path to enlightenment along the way. Visit her Etsy shop!