Retro Dress Up Ideas

By Amelia Allonsy
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Retro fashion is the fashion of the 20th century, particularly the last half of the century. Each decade within this century had its own signature, iconic look. These signature looks are often copied for dress-up occasions. Whether you are dressing up for Halloween, a themed costume party or school spirit week, these retro fashions are easy to create. Check thrift stores for costume inspiration because people are still ridding their closets of retro fashions.

1960s Hippie

The most iconic clothing style of the 1960s was the hippie look, a new style of dress that went along with the hippie counterculture. There are several choices you have for dressing up like a hippie. Women often wore long skirts, maxi-dresses and even long granny-style dresses. Skirts were usually accompanied by peasant blouses and tunic shirts. If you decide to wear a long dress, wear a brown leather vest with long fringes. Men also wore tunic shirts and peasant shirts. Brightly colored T-shirts were also common in this era. Bell-bottom jeans and slacks were the pants common in this era. You can wear patches on your pants for a worn-out look. You might wear cowboy boots or sandals or go barefoot. Men and women both wore their hair long, sometimes accessorized with headbands. To complete the look, accessorize with lots of bead necklaces and jewelry.

1970s Disco King or Queen

The disco culture was prominent in the 1970s. You can probably find a lot of disco clothing at your local thrift store. Disco dress-up ideas for women include platform shoes, hot pants, spandex jumpsuits or a dress with lots of beads or sequins to reflect the lights in a dance club. Hair was usually worn pulled out of the face because dancing got hot. Accessorize with lots of gold jewelry and large hoop earrings to complete the look. For men, look for polyester bell-bottoms or a polyester leisure suit. White leisure suits are probably the most common color people think of when they think disco. If you can't find a full suit, pair the pants with a half-buttoned silky shirt with a funky print. Wear bell-bottoms, lots of gold necklaces and style your hair in a pompadour to complete the look.

1980s Fitness Instructor

As a result of the 1980s fitness craze led by Jane Fonda's fitness video and Olivia Newton-John's aerobics-inspired music video, fitness apparel became a regular part of fashion. To dress like an '80s fitness instructor wear spandex pants under a brightly colored spandex leotard. Another option is a spandex unitard with shorts over it. Leg warmers, wrist bands and sweat bands are regular accessories you should include. Complete the look with high-top white aerobics sneakers. Fitness fashion carried over outside the gym, as well. To dress up in '80s fitness street fashion, you will need sneakers and a shell suit. Shell suits are zippered nylon jackets with matching long nylon pants that have elastic ankle cuffs and waistbands. Look for bright colors or suits that have two or more contrasting colors.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.