2017 fall fashion vintage

Then & Now: Vintage Inspires 2017 Fall Fashion Trends

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Vintage Inspires 2017 Fall Fashion Trends

Magazines’ September issues overflow with 2017 fall fashion trends that usually kick us out of our comfort zones with innovative and sometimes impractical designs (remember the Armadillo shoe?). This year, we find unexpected comfort in vintage influences with a modern twist.

Before getting into the meat of it, let’s define “vintage” versus “retro.”  “Vintage” has a variety of definitions depending on your source, but for the most part its implies an original piece that represents a specific time period. A purist definition would further dictate that the garment/accessory be at least 20 years old.

“Retro” describes a design that refers to bygone fashion trends but uses new materials or has an updated look.  In other words, retro fashion pays homage to vintage fashion. That’s what we’re talking about with the 2017 fall fashion trends listed below.

[Side note: Flipping through the 1800+ pages of 2017 fall fashion mags, I first had to get over the sense that the models in most ads and some editorials were playing dress up in their mother’s clothes. Hiring young girls is the current way designers/creative directors keep the “human hanger” body type that most adult women do not possess. How last century! Time to create advertising that relates to the modern consumer through size/shape/age diversity. Thank you to Project Runway for paving the way with up-and-coming designers. Moving on…]

We’d love to hear which styles you wore “back in the day” and which ones you still love. Leave comments, suggestions, and funny stories in the comments below.

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Mary Janes

Then: Named after the sweetheart of comic strip character Buster Brown (circa 1902), Mary Janes were known for their large, rounded toe box and buckle or button strap with almost flat heel.

fall fashion mary janes


Now: Gucci’s latest ad crosses Mary Janes with the original Star Trek series. Not sure how, but it works. (You could say that the new MJ’s are modern but also twice as retro!) They’re pointed, high heeled, chunky heeled, velvet, printed, feathered.  Embellished beyond the original’s sweetest dreams.

2017 fall fashion mary janes



Zoot Suits

Then:  Popularized by the 1940’s jazz scene, men looked slick in these brightly color-coordinated suits with heavily-padded shoulders and oversized designs. They were a sign of freedom and rebellion. Kathy Peiss’ book Zoot Suit: The Enigmatic Career of Extreme an Style, outlines the history and importance of the trend.

zoot suit fall fashion 2017
Buy It on Amazon.com


Now: Women are rockin’ these babies while waving their freedom flags. These suits are over the top, wide legged, masculine prints like plaids and herringbones.  From the jazz club to the conference room, you’ll look like a million bucks.


2017 fall fashion


Belt Bag

Then:  Americans called them fanny packs — bulky leather and zippered pouches that wrapped around your waist and sat comfortably atop your bum, or fanny.  Also called bum bags, hip bags, and waist bags, they’re all pretty much the same thing. They became so popular that Adweek dubbed them the product of the year in 1988. Then the middle-aged and middle class overwhelmingly adopted them, so fashionistas forsook them, according to Men’s Health magazine. We found this fun book on British-to-American terminology in our quest for all things bum and fanny:

Buy the book on Amazon.com


Now: They’ve got a new name, but the concept is the same— a hands-free way to carry your necessities.  Structured, embossed, quilted, around the waist, over one shoulder, square, saddle… You name it, the possibilities are endless and available.

2017 fall fashion belt bags


Slouchy Boot

Then: Slouchy boots weren’t the sexiest trend of the 1980s. They were stove pipes that you crushed like a soda can. In some cases, you could wear them at your job as a swashbuckler in Disney World. These white Bootolinos from VelorasVault.com were pretty standard issue.

vintage 1930s boots
Buy them at Velora’s Vault

Now: Stilettos, rhinestones, exaggerated folds, color-blocked, heels, thigh high down to ankle height. Stove pipes are still a risk, but there is enough variety to choose a pair that flatters your leg type.

2017 fall fashion slouch


What other vintage-inspired designs are you seeing on the 2017 fall fashion runways and in magazines?  Leave your suggestions and comments below.

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8 comments on “Then & Now: Vintage Inspires 2017 Fall Fashion Trends

  1. Ahhhh…Mary Janes take me back! Black patent leather was the thing and I was one sharp little girl. As far as vintage, I have one item in my wardrobe that I’ve never worn but it belonged to my mom. It’s a faux fur cape, circa 1950s. It’s gorgeous! One day, if I attend a super fancy affair, that cape will be draped across my shoulders!

  2. I love vintage clothing. I’m thankful to have some pieces from my mother from the 40’s-60’s and I kept some of my own from the 70’s. And most of it still fits haha! Love that those classic styles work now!

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