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How To Dress Inspired By Your Favorite Decade In A Modern World

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

Every girl has their favorite decade to take style inspiration from, from the chicness of the 60s to the daringness of the early 2000s. But for many girls, while the best styles of these decades overflow our Pinterest boards, it’s hard to find ways to both pay homage and modernize these iconic and timeless looks. 

Here are some tips on how to do so for your favorite decades:

get in loser mean girls
Paramount Pictures

The Roaring 20s

The 20s. A decade all about rebellion and fun. From flappers to prohibition, while some of the styles may seem stuffy and out-of-date today, they were quite revolutionary at the time, and here is how to wear them.

Satin Slip Dresses

A simple chic staple that looks good on most women. It’s also a great dress to layer. Try adding your favorite jacket or sweater and one or two of your favorite statement accessories to modernize. 

Fur Coats

Wear it casually with jeans and a T-shirt or go full glam for a night out with a dress and heels. I also applaud every girl casually wearing a (faux) fur coat around the town. 

Rhinestone Barrettes

A way to dress up any outfit and hair style. Buy them cheap from H&M or Forever 21, and if you find that you keep reaching for them, then invest in good ones on Etsy.

Nick Miller New Girl GIF Drinks
GIPHY / 20th Century Fox Television

The 30s: Flirty and Thriving

A decade that involved a depression, so since we are in a global pandemic, it’s not entirely a shock that these trends are coming back.

Matching Sets

Go full Channel with a dress suit. Go business with a pantsuit. Go full Maddy Perez from Euphoria with a daring head-turning look. Go more bohemian with a crop top and maxi skirt set. There are endless options with this one. 


With the rise of Bridgerton style coming back, this is less than surprising.

Button Down The Front

A trend since the late 2010s, it’s timeless and adds versatility to any outfit.

Daphne drinking
Netflix / Giphy.com

The Fab 40s

One thing to note about this decade is that since men were out at war, women were not only taking over their jobs, but also their clothes. 

Polka Dots

A classic and timeless print that, believe it or not, is pretty easy to mix with other prints since it only involves usually two colors. 

Double Breasted Blazers

Thanks to women like Katherine Hepburn who both popularized and normalized women wearing menswear in the 40s, it’s also become one of the most timeless styles women can wear today.


Another fun and versatile clothing item you can get in pretty much every color, length, texture, and fit. 

miley cyrus
Miley Cyrus / Giphy

The Fun 50s

The 50s have created some of the most timeless and classy styles that will never go out of style. 

Neck And Head Scarves

As an Audrey Hepburn fanatic myself, I love this trend. It can instantly glamourize a smile, the look of jeans and a shirt. 

Midi Dresses

While the length may seem stuffy and unflattering on some, it’s actually quite timeless, if you think about the fit and flare styles of the 50s.

High Waisted Shorts

You can thank the 50s for popularizing the high waistline for summer. There are a thousand ways to wear this flattering staple.

man and woman in red Christmas costumes singing
Paramount Pictures / Giphy

The Swinging 60s

One of my favorite decades for inspiration due to its fun, chic, and quite revolutionary trends.

Mini Skirt

Thank you Mary Quant for this revolutionary design. The mini skirt is versatile and any style looks good on almost every body type.

Animal Print

Whether you go the Mrs. Robinson route and go for some Leopard print, or you gravitate more towards a snakeskin, there is an animal print for everyone.

Knee High Boots

Go-go boots are something I have been wanting since forever. Knee boots look so chic with many stile staples that I’ve already listed. Go buy yourself a pair!

The Sassy 70s

From hippie to disco, the 70s were all about experimenting with style and having fun.

Bra Tops

Confidence is a girl’s best accessory and nothing says that more than wearing a bra as a top, or at least a very, very cropped top. Pair with anything high waisted, both for proportion and comfortable, and you are good to go.


The ultimate hippie piece for summer. Wear as clothes or a swimsuit coverup.

Wide Leg Pants

While bell bottoms might be the most iconic pants of the 70s, and while they are back, wide leg pants as a whole are super 70s. Look to That 70s Show’s Jackie Burkhart for inspiration and wear with a tight top for balance and definition. 

The Extra 80s

One of my favorite decades, not only were the 80s about being bold and daring, but they were also about being comfortable. 


Wearing lingerie as clothing is a super Madonna-in-the-80s idea. Whether it’s a lacy slip dress or a bustier, Madonna made this style less stigmaitzed and more normalized. Find anything sheer, mesh, lace, and see through and show your body confidence off. 


Oversized denim, blazers, button up, jackets, and pants are both comfortable and very trendy if you love that Billie Eilish vibe. 

Statement Sleeves

From puffy sleeves to sharp shoulders, the 80s were all about making a power statement and designers today are taking note. 

The Timeless 90s

The 90s seems to culminate all the best trends of the 20th century, making it one of the most timeless decades.


From grunge to Clueless, there are so many ways to wear plaid. Find a way that works for you.

Socks With Heels

Before you say to yourself “Ew”, there are many cute and new ways to wear this trend. From sheer tight-like socks to frilly solid colored socks.


For a short girl like me, these are great for adding a little height. Wear the high heeled version for extra height, or wear flat or sneaker platforms for a more comfortable way.


While early 2000s style definitely has some eye sores, it also has some good things that have modernized for the better. 

Denim On Denim

Thank you Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake for this one. Denim on denim is a timeless trend, as long as you do it right. Go for jeans and jacket with a shirt of a different design or fabric to break up the look a little. 

Vests As Tops

While the 2000s did this in all the wrong ways, we have learned from our fashion mistakes and found ways to wear this. A thick style for one looks good on almost everyone. 

Halter Tops

Again, so many styles and ways to wear this trend. Find the style of halter tops that looks best on you, but also know that finding the right bra to wear with trend is pretty tricky. It’s all about trial and error. 


Hello! My name is Sami Gotskind! I'm from Chicago and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Acting and Journalism. I also working on getting a certificate in Fashion Styling from the Fashion Institute of Technology. I was a writer for Her Campus KU from 2020 to 2022 and for Her Campus Nationals since 2021. I was also the Writing Director for Her Campus KU in 2022. I love film, TV, fashion, pop culture, history, music, and feminism. My friends describe me as an old soul, an avid Euphoria fan, a fashion icon, a Swiftie, an Audrey Hepburn-Blair Waldorf fanatic, a future New Yorker, and a Gossip Girl historian. Look out for me on your TV screens in the near future! Thank you for reading my articles!