How to Style Vintage Accessories

Styling can be hard, and it can become even trickier when you’re trying to pull together a vintage look.

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to vintage fashion – there’s knowing what kind of style to go for, how to put a more modern twist on classic styles so that you don’t look like you’re wearing a costume among a million other things.

 This is made all the more complicated when you bring accessories into the mix, and, after all, no outfit is complete without a cute purse or pair of earrings.

That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide on how to style vintage accessories, complete with a brief look into the kinds of styles you can try to emulate.

A Guide to Vintage Styles

If you’re new to the world of vintage fashion, the terminology can be confusing and the decades hard to keep up with.

While the breadth and width of vintage fashion is wide ranging and goes much more in depth than what’s listed here, we’ve put together a brief guide to some of the most key vintage looks that you might see people wearing. So, without further ado:

Roaring 20s

The 1920s was the era of the flapper. Clothing tended to be more ‘boxy’ with a looser fit, but intricate detailing with beading and art deco patterns is common. For everyday wear, simple high-waisted trousers and dress shirts are a way to put a modern spin on 1920s styles.


Pin-up styles take the best of 1950s fashions. The 50s was the decade of the dress, as women embraced their femininity and were encouraged to always look their best. Intricate updos and classic Hollywood waves finish off the look.

Icons of pin-up style include Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, and Betty Grable.


Rockabilly is a fun aesthetic that pulls together classic 1950s fashion and country and western styles, with a healthy dose of punk rock thrown in for good measure.

Rockabilly style is edgier than your standard 1950s look. There’s emphasis on bold patterns including polka dots, stripes, and gingham check, as well as strong make-up looks including cat-eye eyeliner and, of course, bold red lips.

Swinging 60s

The 60s was a transformative decade around the world, and the focus was on having fun. The British Invasion was taking the States by storm, and young people were enjoying a fashion and pop culture revolution.

As a result, miniskirts made it onto the scene for women as did beehive hair and knee high boots.


The standard starting point for vintage fashion tends to be 20 years ago. Yes – that means things from the 2000s are soon to become ‘vintage styles.’ It also means that things from the 70s, 80s, and 90s are also vintage, though they’re more commonly thought of as “retro” looks.

For the 70s, think high waisted flares and bell sleeves. 80s is all about making a statement with denim and bold patterns. And 90s retro encompasses the grunge look with chunky sneakers and tiny sunglasses.

Styling Vintage Accessories

With each vintage style comes a whole host of beautiful accessories that you can use to finish off your outfit. Here are a few key pieces, and ways that you can rock them.

Vintage Sunglasses

Before the chunky sunglasses of the 2000s or the current trend for tiny frames, came the cat-eye styles of the 1950s and the oversized round look in the 1960s.

Truthfully, sunglasses are one of the easiest vintage accessories to style because they fit so seamlessly with the fashion of today. Pair them with whatever outfit you have, and it will give your ensemble a throwback look without coming across as trying too hard.

Classic Pearls

Jewelry can be hard to get right, but pearls come with a timeless beauty that adds elegance and glamour to any outfit. Whether you’re the guest at a lavish wedding, enjoying a summer garden party, or want a luxury accessory to finish off a date night outfit, pearls go with practically anything.

You can layer pearls around your neck for added sophistication or, if you prefer something more subtle, consider wearing a pearl bracelet.

Elegant Gloves

These days, we only tend to wear gloves for practical reasons – whether it’s to fight off the cold outside or we’re doing practical work that might dirty our hands. In bygone eras, however, gloves were worn as a fashion statement.

Simple leather gloves were worn to add that finish touch to an outfit, or lace gloves made an elegant accessory for a dinner party or formal event. So, not only are they a way to keep your fingers warm in chillier climates, they’re also another great accessory that you can source from vintage and second hand stores.

Vintage Brooch

Brooches are not common in today’s fashion trends, but in the early to mid-20th century it was commonplace for women to wear brooches on their jackets or coats.

Brooches can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, and they can bring color and add interest to your lacklustre winter coat – as well as giving it a vintage edge.

The Retro Scarf

Once upon a time, headscarves were all the range. The most sophisticated ladies wore them to protect their hair from the elements, but it’s a trend that seems all but forgotten about in the modern age.

If you want to bring it back, wearing it over your hair can add a feminine touch to any outfit. However, the great think about scarves is they can be worn multiple ways – so simply tying a small vintage scarf around your neck is a great way to finish off a retro look.

A Handmade Vintage Purse

No outfit is complete without a bag. Historically, women didn’t carry the hefty bags we do today. Instead, satchels or clutch purses were the preference.

If you want to finish off your modern take on a vintage style with the perfect bag, how about a dainty clutch made with vintage magazines [insert product link]? Our range of clutch bags and coin purses are all made from authentic vintage magazines and newspapers, specially preserved to make them durable and waterproof.

With kiss lock closures and styles modelled on vintage purses, they’re the perfect finishing touch for any vintage style outfit. Plus, each one is handmade, so you’ll be guaranteed that no-one else on the planet (or from history!) has the same one. 

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You can view the full Junkohol collection on our website or Etsy page.