11 Tips On How To Dress Vintage & Historical Without Looking Too Costumey

11 tips how on to wear vintage and historical clothing in your everyday life without making people thinking you’re crazy or old-fashioned! 😉

How To Dress Vintage And Historical Without Looking Too Costumey

Do you want to wear your beautiful vintage and historical dresses in your everyday life? But you don’t want to look too costumey or old-fashioned? Below I share 11 tips on how to incorporate your vintage and historical clothing into your everyday wardrobe and how to style them to look modern!

Do You Wear Historical Costumes In Everyday Life?

I don’t wear full historical costumes in everyday life. But I like to be as eco-friendly in my (historical) sewing as possible. And so I thought it’d be a waste to wear historical costumes only for photoshoots and special occasions. That’s why I started to incorporate my historical costumes into my everyday wardrobe. But I still want to look modern. 😉 So below are my tips on how to make your vintage and historical clothing look modern.

1900s Edwardian Cotton Wash Dress History Bounding
Short Edwardian Cotton Dress

My favorite ways to wear vintage and historical clothing in everyday life:

  • Edwardian chemise with a belt as summer dress
  • 1920s & 1950s dress with modern accessories
  • Edwardian camisole as summer top
  • short Edwardian skirt with a modern top or sweater
  • historically-inspired aka historybounding outfits

I also started to make historical outfits that look more modern so that I can wear them today, like a shorter version of Edwardian skirts or a short 18th century dress.

DIY Handwoven Corset Top
Handwoven Corset Top worn with a modern Refashioned Denim Skirt

1. Mix & Match

Choose just one vintage or historical piece of clothing and combine it with modern clothing. For example, you could wear a long Edwardian skirt with a modern crop top. Or wear a historically inspired corset top with a modern A-line skirt.

DIY Mint Green Skirt And Blouse Refashion
Refashioned 1930s Blouse worn with a Refashioned Denim Skirt

2. Lingerie Dressing AKA Underwear As Outerwear

While, in the past, it was not acceptable to wear underwear in public (unless you’re a lower class peasant), today it’s perfectly acceptable. It’s even a fashion trend right now to wear underwear as outerwear, think corset tops.

Related: Modern 18th Century Recycled Denim Stays – History Bounding

Short Edwardian Lace Petticoat
Short Edwardian Lace Petticoat, Edwardian Lace Chemise & Unboned Edwardian Sports Corset

So, today, you can just wear historical underwear in public, like an Edwardian chemise as summer dress. Or make a simple Edwardian lace camisole from a handkerchief!

Related: Handkerchief To Top Refashion – Edwardian Handkerchief Camisole

Edwardian Cotton Net Summer Corset
Edwardian Summer Corset worn with a modern dress

3. Don’t Wear A Full Costume!

This is similar to the first tip except that you wear more than one piece of vintage or historical clothing, e.g. a 1950s dress or an Edwardian blouse and skirt.

But to make the look not too costumey omit all the necessary details for a full costume. So don’t put your hair up into a matching historical hairstyle. Also, don’t wear the necessary details for a full costume like a matching hat, shoes and jewelry. And for an even more casual look wear your vintage or historical pieces with modern underwear instead of historical underwear.

Edwardian Shirtwaist Costume
Men’s Shirt To Edwardian Blouse Refashion

4. Style It In A New Way

Another tip to make your vintage and historical dress look less old-fashioned is to style it in a new way. For example, don’t wear an Edwardian shirtwaist blouse tucked into the skirt. Instead, tie the blouse at the waist for a more modern look.

Short Edwardian Wool Walking Skirt Gold Metal Button Closure Tailor Stitching
Refashioned Edwardian Sweater & Short Edwardian Walking Skirt

5. Choose Pieces That Look Modern

Some vintage and historical pieces already look very modern. For example, Edwardian sweaters, 1920s summer dresses, 1920s coats, short Edwardian walking skirts – all these pieces of clothing already have a very modern look to it.

Related: The Edwardian Sweater Girl + 25 Free Edwardian Sweater Patterns

1920s Hand Painted Polka Dot Dress
1920s Hand Painted Polka Dot Dress

6. Wear Historically-Inspired Clothing

Wear clothes that have historical sewing details like a corset top with boning and lacing or a skirt with cartridge pleats.

Related: 10 Types Of Corset Boning For Historical Corsetry & How To Sew Cartridge Pleats

Historybounding Modern 18th Century Dress Lace Up Boned Corset Bodice Spiral Lacing
Modern 18th Century Dress

7. Wear Historical Accessories With Modern Clothing

Instead of historical clothing, you can focus on historical accessories and wear them with your modern clothing. For example, you could wear an Edwardian dip waist belt with a modern dress or pants.

Related: How To Make An Edwardian Dip Waist Belt

Or you can just wear a piece of vintage or historical jewelry like a 1920s knotted necklace.

Related: How To Make A Knotted Pearl Necklace – Tutorial With Video

Edwardian Black White Striped Dip Waist Belt
Edwardian Shirtwaist Costume

8. Historical Embroidery

Or if embroidery and lace making is your thing, you can embroider your modern clothing with vintage and historical embroidery, like 18th century surface embroidery or Victorian handmade broderie anglaise eyelet lace.

Related: How To Make Broderie Anglaise Lace By Hand & 18th Century Embroidered Stomacher

Edwardian Camisole With DIY Crochet Lace Yoke
Edwardian Camisole With DIY Crochet Lace Yoke

You can try different historical embroidery and lace making techniques to embellish your clothes and see what’s your favorite technique. Some of these historical embroidery and lace making techniques are almost forgotten today like Edwardian bermuda fagoting or handmade 1920s tape lace.

Related: How To Make Edwardian Bermuda Fagoting

Or you can crochet a lace yoke to embellish your modern dress or top. These lace yokes are relatively quick to make and look cute without looking too costumey.

Related: Edwardian Camisole With DIY Crochet Lace Yoke

Edwardian Sweater & Tam Cap
Refashioned Edwardian Sweater & Edwardian Plaid Wool Skirt

9. Historically-Inspired Fashion Trends

Modern clothing is often inspired by past fashions. A couple of years ago after The Great Gatsby movie, modern summer dresses suddenly started to look like 1920s dresses.

And right now, Edwardian fashion is back in fashion: The new Edwardian aka modern Edwardian fashion. Now you suddenly see everywhere long Edwardian-style dresses and skirts and Edwardian-style sweaters with high necks and bishop or leg-of-mutton sleeves!

So to avoid looking too costumey you can choose historically-inspired garments that are trending right now.

Edwardian Updo Vintage Hairstyle Tutorial
How To Make An Edwardian Pompadour Hairstyle – Tutorial

10. Historical Hair & Make-Up

Instead of wearing a historical clothing with a modern hairstyle, make-up & accessories, you can also go the other way and wear modern clothing with a historical hairstyle & make-up. For example, a modern version of the Edwardian pompadour hairstyle is back in fashion again!

Related: 50 Edwardian Pompadour Gibson Girl Hairstyles & 200+ Historical DIY Natural Beauty Products

Refashioned DIY Crochet Tablecloth Dress
1950s Crochet Tablecloth Dress with vintage shoes, jewelry & hairstyle

11. Wear A Full Costume

And last of all, if you want to wear a head-to-toe vintage outfit or historical costume, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t! 😉 Just be confident and wear it.

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How To Dress Vintage And Historical Without Looking Too Costumey

2 thoughts on “11 Tips On How To Dress Vintage & Historical Without Looking Too Costumey

  1. It’s funny: I’ve always worn my Vintage items, which are considerably fancier than my usual ones, at home and put modern ones to go outside. These tips really helped get me thinking about how I can incorporate my historical clothing outside, too.

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