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What Inspires: Retro Fashion

I’ve always loved perusing books about the history of clothing. Even if I’ve looked through the same book a hundred times, it seems like there’s always something new to see.  After all, I’m looking with a different context every time. Popular styles will have evolved from the last time I looked. Different movies are in the collective consciousness, I’ve had new experiences, been new places, seen new things – all shift my point of view a bit, which I revel in.

The Great Gatsby

There has been no avoiding The Great Gatsby this year.  The film itself is a treasure trove of sartorial inspiration and multitudes of designers have been reacting to it. A simple Google search lead me to this gem of a photo from an article in The Atlantic, which talks about how “the fashion isn’t accurate but is fabulous all the same.” They showed this great duo from the movie:

gatsby women costumes 650

I can see using the diagonal seaming and shoulder details in future sweaters – especially for spring/summer. Even before The Great Gatsby came out, the design team was inspired by all of the hype and styled booklet #329 with the flapper era in mind.


The 40s

I’m also finding the 40s to be an inspiring era right now.  Strong but feminine silhouettes paired with great seaming and innovative construction speaks to me in 2013.  Searching for  the tag “40s fashion” on Tumblr, I tripped across this gem, a sewing pattern from the era:


Check out the yoke/sleeve construction.  I love how the the illustrations make it all so clear.


The crowd sourced fashion site Modcloth specializes in fashion inspired by past eras. It’s another great place to look for knit inspiration. I tend to avoid the sweater section for fear of taking something too literally and go straight to the blouse or dress collections. I really like the  neckline on this Modcloth dress:


What’s your favorite era for fashion inspiration?

3 thoughts on “What Inspires: Retro Fashion

  1. I really enjoy 50’s Glam and 60’s Mod. I love the “Sweater Girls”, like Lana Turner, Jayne Mansfield,Marilyn Monroe etc….although I can do without the “Cone Shape Brassieres”!! LOL

  2. While the 40s definitely has inspired me (especially all those great clutches and handbags), I think the period right after WWI through the end of the 20s is probably my favorite. So.Much.Freedom.

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