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Ace the retro chic vibe with this expert fashion guide

Turning back the clock can be incredibly stylish and sustainable, as Athiya Shetty recently proved with her vintage wardrobe pick. Digging into her father, Suniel Shetty’s wardrobe for inspiration, Shetty nailed the power dressing look with a striped retro suit, albeit with some modern finishing touches. For those looking to mindfully upcycle vestments from the bygone eras, Shetty’s outfit comes as a timely reminder of how to wear and re-wear clothing in ingenious ways. We spoke to two experts for basic guidelines on getting it right.

Athiya Shetty sports the vintage suit

Think beyond the box

“The reason why Athiya Shetty’s look is iconic is because it is aligned with contemporary themes such as gender-neutrality and sustainability. As fashion moves into the future, our classical check-boxes of male and female clothing are being made redundant, while the inherently circular nature of fashion is emerging to the forefront,” explains fashion designer Sanjana Bubber. She adds that one of the cardinal rules of updating a vintage piece is to pair it with a contemporary theme. This, she says, instantly makes a look edgy and a stronger style statement.

Shilpa Shetty in an edgy retro outfit

Don’t go overboard

To keep your vintage look from veering into costume territory, Bubber recommends keeping the rest of your look minimal and contemporary. “Any vintage piece becomes the statement-making focal point of your look. A head-to-toe retro look is better suited to a Halloween party. Your hair, make-up, accessories and the pieces you pair and layer your vintage pick with, should be classic or modern. In Athiya’s case, she paired her boxy blazer with a white tank top. Another alternative would be a crop top or a chic bralette. You can also swap up the bottoms for chinos or jeans,” she suggests. Unless you are aiming for a very specific aesthetic, avoid extreme period pieces such as very skinny ties or pants with an exaggerated flare.

Khushi Kapoor in a chic vintage suit

Focus on fit

With retro pieces, it’s important to tailor the look to a more contemporary, well-fitted silhouette. A very boxy ’80s blazer will stick out like a sore thumb, as will a ’70s-inspired psychedelic print worn on a very flowing bohemian dress, advises image consultant Greeshma Thampi. “However, both these pieces can easily be made more contemporary with small tweaks — a more structured silhouette will make the blazer pop, while a chic knee length will make the dress stand out for the right reasons,” she explains. Also, make sure to balance proportions. A voluminous poodle skirt, for instance, works well with a fitted top or tee. Bubber adds that when choosing a vintage piece, it’s best to opt for neutral tones or classic colours, such as black, navy, white and off-white.

Sanjana Bubber and Greeshma Thampi

Mix it up

An easy way to sport vintage fits is to pair pieces with contrasting vibes or from different eras, says Bubber. “For example, a ’50s-style swing dress can be worn with an edgy jacket and modern sneakers. You can also experiment with mixing classic chic pieces with streetwear. A tweed jacket would look unexpected but intentional when paired with ripped jeans and a white tank top,” she signs off.

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