How To Nail The Vintage Aesthetic Fashion During Every Decade 

By  Emily Konatella

LAST UPDATED - December 11, 2023

Looking to recreate the vintage aesthetic you saw on Tik-Tok? Understanding each decade's most popular fashion trends is key to recreating them. That's why we've created this brief guide to vintage aesthetics!

By going decade by decade, we'll help you nail 70s boho, 90s grunge, and every vintage aesthetic in between— whether you're sticking to a single decade or mixing different eras together. When it comes to shopping, stick with vintage shops and thrift stores. Wearing genuine vintage pieces ensures you achieve the look you're going for while reducing the environmental impact of your wardrobe.

So without further ado, let's explore the most popular vintage aesthetics of every fashion era:

The Vintage Aesthetics of Every Decade

The Early 2000s

2000s fashion

Photo Credit: Ryan Moreno

Vintage fashion is an umbrella term referring to clothing, accessories, beauty, and fashion trends over 20 years old. So as of 2020, the early 2000s are officially considered a vintage aesthetic.

The dawn of the new millennium was defined by the emergence of the Internet and the growing fashion influence of actors, musicians, reality TV stars, and other celebs. Style icons like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Paris Hilton embodied the sexy, skin-baring styles made famous in the music videos seen on MTV. Here are a few of the hottest It-items and must-wear fashion trends of the early 2000s:

  • Low-rise flare jeans

  • Rhinestone embellishments

  • Velour Juicy Couture tracksuits

  • Von Dutch trucker hats

  • Micro-mini skirts

  • Vests

  • Capri pants and gauchos

  • Dresses worn over jeans

  • Wide belts

  • Tube tops and halter tops

Y2K fashion has experienced a recent surge in popularity— especially amongst Gen Z fashionistas born during the era. Thanks to the power of social media, streaming services, and Internet It-Girls, everything from exposed thongs to handkerchief hems are back in style.

The 90s

80s fashion

Photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon

The 90s were one of the most pivotal decades in recent fashion history, and as a result, the vintage aesthetic has remained popular ever since. Globalization, early technology, and a growing fascination with the red carpet look led to an unforgettable array of short-lived trends. As a reaction to the excess of the late 1980s, simple, minimalist styles were equally as popular. Here are a few of the biggest fashion trends of the last decade:

  • Mom jeans/ mom shorts
  • Slip dresses
  • Scrunchies
  • Baby tees
  • Plaid flannels
  • Windbreaker jackets
  • Chokers
  • Overalls

One particularly noteworthy fashion aesthetic was 90s grunge. The iconic style of Seattle's underground music scene was personified by Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain and Hole's Courtney Love. Their distressed jeans, baggy graphic tees, and Doc Martens are still just as stylish today.

The 80s

80s fashion

The 80s were either one of the best fashion decades or the worst, depending on who you ask. The era was known for its bright colors, big hair, and obsession with exercise clothing. Here are a few of the biggest fashion trends of the 1980s:

  • Shoulder pads

  • Power suits

  • Acid wash jeans

  • Oversized bangles, earrings, and accessories

  • Leg warmers

  • High-cut bodysuits and one-piece swimsuits

80s punk— known for its safety pins, biker jackets, and mohawks— is undoubtedly one of the most enduring vintage aesthetics. The style began in London during the late 70s and gained popularity as The Sex Pistols, and Vivienne Westwood skyrocketed to global success.

As the 80s was all about bright color and bold fashion, it was also the decade of pastel color. Today, pastel colors are trendy on social media, with tie-dye often seen in photos.

The 70s

70s fashion

The 70s are widely regarded as one of the most stylish decades in recent fashion history. While many trends were an extension of the boho style seen during the late 60s, a far more glamorous aesthetic emerged out of Studio 54 and the disco scene. Create your 70s look with some of these biggest fashion trends:

  • Flare jeans and bellbottoms

  • Tie-dye

  • Bell sleeves and peasant tops

  • Gunne Sax dresses

  • Afros

  • Corduroy

  • Circular sunglasses

  • Shearling coats

The wrap dress— first designed by Diane Von Furstenburg— was one of the most popular silhouettes to emerge during the 1970s. Thanks to their comfortable, practical, and universally-flattering shape, wrap dresses and skirts have remained popular ever since.

The 60s

60s fashion

The 60s were a unique decade in fashion. Thanks to a growing youth population, trends skewed younger and became more fun and playful. Early 60s mod— exemplified by British fashion icons like Twiggy, Mary Quant, and The Beatles— gave way to the distinctly hippie styles seen at the iconic Woodstock Festival later in the decade. Here are a few of the biggest fashion trends of the 1960s:

  • Mini skirts

  • Shift dresses

  • Go-go boots

  • Crochet

  • Fringe

  • Swing coats

JFK's wife, Jackie Onassis, was one of the biggest fashion icons of the decade. She was known for her sophistication and preppy style, and her pillbox hats and matching Chanel tweed suits reflected a ladylike style carried over from the 50s.

The 50s

50s fashion

The mid-century aesthetic of the 50s had an enduring impact on the decades that followed. From Audrey Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe to Dior's New Look, the 50s were all about femininity and sophistication. There was renewed interest in corsets and shapewear emphasizing a woman's hourglass shape. Here are a few of the biggest fashion trends of the 1950s:

  • Poodle skirts

  • Saddle shoes

  • Sweater sets

  • Full midi skirts and dresses

  • Pedal pushers

  • Cone bras

  • Cat-eye sunglasses

  • Fur stoles and capes

The pin-up style is a popular vintage aesthetic that began in the 1950s. Its alluring red lips, sexy silhouettes, and confident attitude represented female sexuality, power, and independence.

About the author

Emily is a fashion consultant, designer and creative director with more than 15 years experience creating, designing and developing clothing & jewelry. From managing pageant shows to turning concepts into actual designs, she has experience with almost all fabric types and jewelry designs and is in touch with the latest fashion trends.