Thrifting for Trends

Fashion trends are circular, with so many styles from the past being repeated years, or sometimes decades later. Vintage design aesthetics often inspire new generations of designers and stylists to incorporate retro elements into their looks. The older garments that inspire these trends are often still in circulation. And tracking them down is a great way to keep your style up to date - at a fraction of the cost - and with much less of an environmental footprint than buying something new. Here are three retro-inspired trends you can source second-hand, and ideas for how to style them.

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Chunky Footwear

You can get a big shoe print without a big footprint by incorporating vintage and second-hand into your look. Big shoes are everywhere in 2020, with two popular silhouettes being chunky combat-boot inspired designs, and boxy sneakers modelled after the styles of the late 1990s. Surplus combat boots, vintage Doc Martens and Blundstones, ’70s Italian hiking boots and older versions of “dad” sneakers, like the Nike Air Monarch, Reebok DMX and Adidas Ozweego, have all served as design inspiration for high-fashion footwear in the past decade. You can add an unfashionably styled sneaker to a chic normcore look like Victoria Scheu, toughen up a printed dress with a pair of Doc Marten boots like Jacky, or pair an oversize statement top with a pair of chunky Chelsea boots just like Declan Chan.

Oversized Tailoring

The big silhouettes of the 1980s have returned, including the long-line tailoring popularized by Armani. Recent collections from Tod’s, Salvatore Ferragamo and Fear of God feature oversize jackets, and they are popular in street style as well. Create an 80s Sloane Ranger look with a single-breasted blazer in a pattern like houndstooth, Glen check or Russell plaid. Or put together a more citified ensemble with a double-breasted jacket in a sleek fabric like worsted wool or sharkskin. Don’t be afraid of a padded shoulder… power silhouettes and strong, wide lines are the scaffolding that keeps all the material from looking sloppy. Lois Opoku dresses a blazer down by pairing it with high-waisted balloon jeans and an oversized statement scarf, and Maria Barteczko pairs oversized separates with a rollneck sweater (another big 2020 trend) and chunky boots.

Tracksuits and Topcoats

Combining the seemingly disparate elements of tailored clothing with sportswear is an easy way to put a different spin on your casual look. Pairing crewneck sweatshirts, hoodies, tights, sweatpants and other athletic clothing with a more formal long coat instantly elevates your style from relaxed loungewear to trendy and chic. Camel-colored overcoats are a versatile and popular option. Or you can go in a bolder direction with an eye-catching statement piece in a bright green, blue or pink. Here, an ultra-casual hoodie and slides ensemble is styled with a grey check topcoat whilst Sonia Lyson wears a plush black teddy bear coat with a plain heather grey sweatsuit here.

You can sustainably source these trends and more by shopping locally at thrift stores and consignment shops, or you can cast a wider net by searching places like Depop, eBay, Etsy and Facebook Marketplace online. Good luck and happy hunting!

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