Vintage aesthetic is all around, isn’t it? If you don’t fully grasp its meaning yet or need some inspiration for your aesthetic outfits, keep reading – we’ve got you covered!
Approximately half a million different aesthetics appeared from #cottagecore to #retroaesthetic in the last few years. In this post, we’ll explore the meaning of vintage aesthetic and how it relates to other aesthetics.
– what “vintage aesthetic” means
– how to nail vintage aesthetic fashion
– why it’s better and more sustainable to wear vintage clothes
– how fast fashion brands cannibalize vintage aesthetics and why it’s bad for us
– aaand we will give you tons of examples for vintage aesthetic looks
A millennial like me gets dizzy when seeing a gazillion different aesthetics around us. In my time we were hooked on musical genres; there were alters, rockers, goths, punks, rappers and discoheads in the class — and that was all. People made up their minds and stick to a style, mostly. Jumping between genres was quite lame, listening to Britney one day and Iron Maiden on the other was almost unacceptable, definitely blasphemous.
Well, this has totally changed, thank heavens. It’s nonsense to commit to one specific style and genre — we live in a world where everything’s exactly one click away from anybody.
It’s totally OK if you’re sad on Monday, but on Tuesday you wanna party like there’s no Wednesday. Even more OK to communicate this through your daily outfit and aesthetic.
What exactly is vintage aesthetic then?
Vintage aesthetic is an umbrella term for many different styles. Should you enter the #vintageaesthetic tag on Insta, a real eclectic sight appears.
To understand what’s common in these styles, let’s see what these two words mean separately.
Vintage means everything that’s not new (at least 15-20 years old) and not antique (it’s not a century old). That’s why we can talk about Y2K vintage, 90s vintage and 40s vintage as well.
The word “aesthetic” is derived from Greek “aisthetikos” and it signifies sensitivity, sentience, even perception. According to Wikipedia, “aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste”. As an adjective it means something beautiful or pleasant.
Put these words together — vintage aesthetic then means indulging in the beauty ideals of the last few decades.
How to dress vintage
You may ask now, “that’s all very clever and informative… but I want to radiate vintage aesthetic, so how do I dress up?”
As vintage aesthetic varies from decades to decades and from style to style, there are no hard rules to do it ‘right’.
You should just visit some vintage shops or charities – you’re gonna find unique and authentic pieces in any thrift store. The best online vintage shops even showcase these pieces styled to perfection — you can easily borrow some outfit ideas from them.
It’s really that simple. You don’t need fashion consultants or top of the line stylists. Shitty things don’t survive decades.
How fast fashion brands cannibalize vintage aesthetics and why it’s bad for us
Fast fashion brands — just being those negligent nonchalants we already know well — even started to cannibalize vintage aesthetics which is pretty ridiculous. I mean, it’s obvious that you cannot create vintage aesthetics with new things. How could anything be vintage that’s new-made?
Now let’s get some ideas for your sets and have an overview of the various aesthetics of the last few decades. First, let’s go on a time travel of the last century.
2000s vintage Y2K aesthetic
Pleated skirts, plush sweatpants, rhinestone butterflies and plumber’s cracks. Yeah, that’s the 00s. Only devil knows how this era — marked with Paris Hilton’s and Christina Aguilera’s ultra-thin eyebrows — came into fashion again. To be honest, I really hoped that after a couple of years’ of 90s revival we’ll jump back to the 60s, and I don’t have to wear these low-waisted trousers again… well, tough luck. So get those stone-washed jeans and rhinestone belts going!
90s vintage grunge aesthetic
Oh, the good old 90s, the last decade without the Internet. No wonder that the 70s throwback flower-power love flood was one of the main fashion trends. The other — quite the opposite — well, that was Kurt Cobain-grunge. Lumberjack shirts, oversized denim jackets, Chuck Taylors and ripped mom jeans ftw.
80s vintage retro aesthetic
Thanks to Stranger Things 80s fashion is cool again. Weird geometric patterns, ugly sweaters, and not to mention the super trendy over-over-oversized broad-shouldered feminist blazers and puffy sleeves.
70s vintage hippie aesthetic
Due to its revival in the 90s, 70s hippie fashion appears to come back double synthesized nowadays: we have crocheted stuff, blazer-cut leather jackets and pointed collars again. Aaand flare trousers have finally replaced skinny jeans!
60s vintage mod aesthetic
60s fashion — especially in the first half of the decade — mostly lives on the mod line marked by Mary Quant: straight cuts, clean designs, bold geometric patterns. The second half is almost the exact opposite: the flower-power psychedelic style is everything but clean with its whirling, chaotic patterns and jabot shirts.
Aesthetics types from fairycore to farmcore:
But that’s enough of classifying everything by decades. There are many aesthetics that are not bound to a specific era but still vintage at their heart. Let’s see a few of them!
The first LoTR movie came out in 2001, thus it comes as no surprise that the second coming of 2000s fashion made elf ears and butterfly wings mandatory accessories. Tbh, it’s quite heartwarming <3 to see — as this was kinda loser-geeky back in my time — that it’s such a hip now.
Cottagecore / farmcore aesthetic
Frills, laces, peasant blouses. Quite romantic, but that’s what cottagecore is. Well, nomen est omen. Don’t forget to take photos on a field with lots of farm animals in the background. This style mostly resembles the 70s vintage aesthetic.
This one fetishizes the turn of the century fin de siècle mood. It’s hard to differentiate it from fairycore and cottagecore, antique has the frills and all those romantic details as well — but without the butterfly wings and straw bales.
Vintage Slip Dress 50s Lace Lingerie Party Mini in Black24.50 €
Vintage Lace Top 40s Sheer Silk Blouse in Beige69.00 €
Vintage Girdle 30s Silk Lace Lingerie in Beige99.00 €
Vintage Crocheted Cardigan 50s Rare Handmade Beige Lace Top49.50 €
Vintage silver plated brooch 10s Art Nouveau filigree pin27.94 €
Vintage evening dress 50s antique silk dress in black gold64.50 €
Why it’s better and more sustainable to wear vintage clothes
Could anything be more aesthetic nowadays than being sustainable — considering that we’ve almost already exhausted our planet’s resources? You probably feel miserable and helpless about climate change, the forest fires and all those things. You think you can’t do anything, and it seems clear that banning plastic straws is not going to postpone our doom any more than a few seconds. Yup, nothing will change till we can get Fortune 500 to be a bit more responsible. Still, it’s a great idea to wear vintage — at least it’s ready and done. This way we don’t have to poison more of our waters and kill more animals to look good. Not a big thing, just like collecting your waste selectively — still it could be a game-changer if we hit the critical mass.
Boycott fast fashion, buy vintage clothes!