How to Style Vintage Clothes (Or Any Clothes, Really)

So, you’ve just bought a pair of wide-legged pants, or a patterned button-up shirt, or 50s style skirt, from your favourite vintage shop. However – you have no idea how to style them. No worries! Here are some tips to help you put together a great outfit with your new vintage pieces – or just with the clothes you already have, of course.


  • Choose a top and bottom with at least one colour in common. For example: if you have a pair of bright red trousers, try and find a shirt with an element of the same colour.
  • If your new vintage shirt has a funky, colourful print, you should balance it out with some plain jeans or trousers. Likewise, if you have some printed colourful pants, pair them with a plain top to balance them out.
  • If your bottoms have some volume (think wide legged trousers, flowy skirts, denim flares), choose a form-fitting top to go with them. Again, the same goes for the other way round: if your top is loose or bulky, wear tighter trousers. This way, your figure isn’t overwhelmed with fabric!
  • For chunkier jumpers that you can’t easily tuck into your bottoms, try a half tuck! This is when you take one side of the front of your jumper and tuck in into the front of your pants. This can be more comfortable than tucking your entire jumper into your jeans, and looks more chilled too!


  • For a casual day look with a vintage patterned dress, pair it with a denim jacket and structured boots or trainers. Consider opting for a shorter jacket to show off the fit of the dress.
  • Layering a t-shirt or button-up shirt under dungarees or a pinafore can make you look more casual, and also adds another texture to your outfit. For strappy summer dresses, this adds comfort and warmth, so you can wear the piece in colder months if you like!


  • For outfits where you are covered up (for example, with jeans and a long-sleeved top), wear shoes with heels or a platform. When you wear a lot of fabric, having an extra bit of height balances the outfit out.
  • Pairing a more feminine outfit with chunky boots like Docs is very effective; the juxtaposition will add an edge to your look.


  • Try and match your jewellery to any hardware in your outfit. For example, if your belt has a gold buckle, wear gold earrings! If your shoes have silver eyelets, wear a silver necklace! This will make you look intimidatingly put together.

I get a lot of my outfit ideas and tips like these from the YouTube channel “bestdressed.” But I’ve picked up a lot of these tips just from experimenting with different outfits, and working out what looks good on me! So, of course, you don’t have to follow any of these tips if you have already found what looks good on you. Wear whatever you feel comfortable and confident in; that in itself is stylish! Still, perhaps try out one of these tips, and see if it brings a new perspective to your style! For example, if you prefer to wear oversized clothing, or tighter silhouettes, maybe try balancing the look out with a tighter top and loose trousers, as detailed above. You can find vintage clothes like the ones mentioned in this article in the Sunflower Vintage collection.

About the author

Jessica Wilkinson

Jess is a undergraduate student studying English at the University of York. She has a passion for Vintage style, Sustainable Fashion and loves to write. 


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