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Vintage Clothes and Accessories that Need to Make a Comeback

We often assume that whatever is newer is always better, but this isn’t always the case, especially when it comes to clothing. We tend to assume, for example, that people of ages past were always backwards or behind, that their methods for making clothing were primitive compared to ours, that their clothes weren’t as “good” as ours, whether that means as beautiful, as comfortable, or as warm as ours. After wearing vintage clothing for a few years, I’ve learned that this just isn’t true, and that in many ways, the clothes that our forebears wore are superior to our own. So, I’ve made a list of vintage garments, accessories and clothing features that I think we would do well to bring back today.

Garter Belts and Stockings

I will never understand why we as a society decided to replace garter belts and stockings with pantyhose because the former are just objectively better in every way. For starters, they’re a lot more comfortable than pantyhose, which have to be readjusted constantly and will never fail to give you a wedgie. A garter belt, on the other hand, remains firmly seated on your waist, and the stockings you attach to it won’t budge either. Additionally, pantyhose have to be replaced often because they rip easily, which is both expensive and wasteful, but a garter belt can be purchased once for a lifetime, and stockings tend to be less prone to ripping because they’re basically just long socks that only cover the bottom half of your legs. Finally, garter belts are sexy as hell. Pantyhose? Not so much. For reference, enjoy this video of stand-up comedian Michael McIntyre imitating a lady awkwardly slipping on her pantyhose. Garter belts obviously haven’t completely disappeared but they’re much less popular and widely available than they used to be, which is a damn shame. Bring back the garter belts and stockings, I say, and toss the pantyhose in the dustbin of history.


First of all, please don’t be put off by the funny name of this accessory if you’ve never seen or heard about it before because it’s definitely not what you think, whatever that may be. A dickie is basically just a type of half-undershirt you can put on under a shirt so that you can have the added flair of a collar but without actually wearing a whole shirt underneath. I’m not a fan of layering clothing because of all the bunching it creates, so I was pretty enthused about dickies when I first learned about them. Dickies are still produced and worn today but they’re not nearly as ubiquitous as they used to be, so do be sure to try one out for yourself.

High-Waisted Everything

Another thing I will never understand is why we decided to stop making all bottoms high-waisted, which is a universally flattering rise, and instead opted for the low-rise and mid-rise styles. This keeps me up at night. Sure, some people can absolutely rock low-waisted pants, but I am not one of those people. I used to think there was something wrong with my body, but then I discovered vintage high-waisted pants and realized that the issue wasn’t with me; it was with modern clothing, like mid and low-rise pants, that did not flatter my body type. I imagine this has been the same experience for other high-rise girls living in a low-rise world. High-rise pants have thankfully been coming back into style, but mid-rise pants still remain more standard, and also frequently get incorrectly labeled as high-rise. In fact, I would like to take a moment to scold modern clothing retailers who label a 10-inch rise as high-rise. Honey, that is a mid-rise, and if the rise is smaller than 12 inches, don’t you dare call it high rise. Tell your 10-inch “high” rise to talk to my 1950s 15-inch high rise. Anyway, not only are high-rise bottoms universally flattering, but they are also so much more comfortable than low to mid-rise ones. Low to mid-rise pants press and dig into my stomach and hip bone, whereas high-rise pants comfortably sit on my waist, or, if they’re really high-waisted, they sit at my ribs, where there’s just bone, so there isn’t the same discomfort as with low-rise pants pressing into, y’know, my intestines

Circle Skirts

Why did we ever replace circle skirts with A-line skirts? Why? Is it because they’re terribly immodest, their sheer size almost screaming for attention? Might it be that we no longer wanted to deal with our skirts flying open with a gust of wind for a Marilyn Monroe moment? I mean, it’s probably just because circle skirts are a lot more expensive to make because they require way more fabric than A-line skirts, but I still don’t approve of whoever made the executive decision to basically oust circle skirts from the modern everyday wardrobe. You can feel like a princess as you twirl in your poofy circle skirt, which you can’t do with a much less voluminous A-line skirt. The excess of fabric in a circle skirt also keeps you surprisingly warm in the winter months, especially if made of wool or a quilted fabric. Isn’t the fact that circle skirts are just pretty enough to convince you that they should be kept around a bit longer? Maybe some people think they’re impractical, but in my own experience, they’re much less constraining than an A-line skirt and allow for freer movement. Bring ‘em back!

100% Cotton Jeans

This is going to be controversial, but I’m saying it anyway: Jeans that are not 100% cotton do not deserve the name of jeans. The minute that polyester or spandex or any synthetic fiber is added to the mix, they are no longer jeans, they’re a lie. Jeans, by definition, are made of cotton, so if you’re going to go the modern route and add synthetics to them, they’re leggings, or jeggings, or what-have-you, but they’re not jeans, m’kay? I don’t know at what point in history we decided to stop making our jeans 100% cotton, but I can tell you it was a grave error. 100% cotton denim is incredibly sturdy, and dare I say, beautiful. Have you ever looked at a deadstock pair of old jeans? Marveled at the firmness of the fabric, the rich indigo dye, the smell of fresh, raw denim? Don’t even get me started on the strong metal rivets, zippers, and buttons. I could cry just thinking about them. 100% cotton jeans last a lifetime and then some, so why we would trade them for poly-pants is beyond me. Maybe people think pure denim jeans are uncomfortable, but I would beg to differ. Poly-pants get bunched up everywhere because of the stretchy nature of the fabric, but pure cotton jeans do not, so for that reason, I would argue that the latter are much more comfortable. Cotton is also so much more flattering, breathable, and environmentally friendly than synthetics.

Well, there you have it; some vintage clothing that needs to make a comeback today. None of this is intended to shame those who prefer the modern versions or alternatives to these garments or styles, but if you ever have the chance, I highly recommend at least trying them out to see the differences and decide your preferences for yourself.

Rebecca Haddad

UWindsor '22

Rebecca is pursuing a double-major in French Studies and Political Science as well as a minor in English Language and Literature at UWindsor. She likes to read, make art, and scope out vintage treasures in her down time. She isn't quite sure what her life purpose is yet, but hopefully it can help make the world a slightly better place.
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