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The anatomy of an authentic vintage look is the sum of its parts. It is a collection of various style elements pulled together to create an iconic look.
For the 1920s, those elements included finger waves, pencil thin brows, long wasted dresses, and Basque waisted day dresses.

For the 1940s it was about pin curled hair, red lips, strong shoulders, Bespoke garments, and ankle strapped Mary Jane shoes.

A big part of beginning a vintage style wardrobe is doing the research necessary in capturing a style’s authenticity.
Beginning a vintage style wardrobe is doing the research necessary in capturing a style's authenticity. #wardrobe #Vintagestyle Click To Tweet
Part of this research involves dissecting an overall style by its individual elements, (i.e. hair, makeup, accessories).

As we dive into vintage anatomy class 101…hahaha, think about your on vintage style interests because at the end of this post, I have a special challenge just for you!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I will earn a tiny commission if you click on a link and purchase an item I have recommended. While clicking the link won’t cost you any extra money, it will help keep this site up and running. Thank you for all your support!

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Anatomy of the Clothes

Each decade has a signature Fashion look. The 1920s, for example, was most notably known for its flapper dresses. In the 50s it was about the rockabilly style, and in the 70s nearly everyone wore bell-bottom.

Choosing pieces that capture an iconic style of the decade is actually not as hard as you might imagine. In my post titled: How to Choose the Perfect Vintage Silhouette in 5 Easy Steps,  I offer tips for REALISTICALLY selecting a vintage style that suits you best, and in 10 Ways You Can Start Building Your Vintage Wardrobe Today! and How to Survive the Thrift Store Jungle , I share with you how and where to score some super vintage finds.

To give you some inspiration, check out some of these styles according to decade. 

Anatomy of a vintage look

Anatomy of the Hair

One of THE most important elements to a vintage style, is the hair. It’s just the reality. You can assemble the clothes and accessories to reflect a particular look, but nothing will pull a vintage look together more, than your hair.
But this is the part where most people hesitate. Because we look at the pictures and think to ourselves, “There’s NO WAY” I’ll be able to do that. Truth is, there are many vintage hairstyles that can be created in 15 minutes or less. Yes, you heard that right.
Vintage hairstyling usually focused on one specific “look” For example, let’s take the 1950s Bumper bangs. Most of that hair style

carmen miranda

required nothing more than a ponytail or a headband; something that you can do easily in less than 1 -2 minutes. Creating the actual bang itself didn’t require any more or less time, either. See for yourself, below. 

In fact, here are 5 vintage-inspired hairstyles that (5 vintage hairstyles in 5 minutes) you can do in literally no time. Want to test your skills and go for something a little more advanced? Try this foam roller set out for yourself.
Vintage hairstyling doesn’t need to be complicated, but admittedly there are a few styles out there that require a little more than just a roll here or a pin there. That’s where having the right hair tools comes in handy to cut down on the time.
Here’a complete list of some of the hair tools and products inspired by the ones used back then.

Anatomy of the Makeup

The road to achieving the perfect “beat” was initially paved with scrutiny and moral dilemma, back in the day.  Just prior to 1910, women in the USA (perhaps elsewhere, as well) who wore makeup were considered associated with prostitution or dancing girls. Women’s beauty of the past focused on enhancing their already existing canvas rather than adding to it.
Women’s beauty of the past focused on enhancing their already existing canvas rather than adding to it. Click To Tweet
It wasn’t until the boom of Hollywood’s silver screen, did women in the US start flocking to beauty counters to look like the starlets they so admired.

Women’s makeup is one of the most transformative art forms out there. Call me bias, but there is nothing that screams “artistic license” more, than how a woman chooses to make up her face.

Take the quintessential look of the roaring 20s, for example, pencil brows, lipstick purposefully drawn into a cupid’s bow, and beautifully blossomed cheeks.

I’ve always found the 1920s to be the most fascinating of eras in makeup history because this was a period of time (particularly in the US) when women were experimenting with makeup.

You can look at it almost as an “evolution” of sorts.  What made women of that time decide to make up their face in that style?  I’m willing to bet it was based on what was available to them, then.

Nowadays, the makeup world is our oyster. We have so many options to choose from. We contour this and that or color correct here and there. We’ve practically become our own makeup artists.

But there are still some companies out there who pay homage to the old days and have designed their line of cosmetics based on the looks and shade of the past. Besame, for example, is one of these companies.

Besame creates modern reproductions of classic makeup looks from the 20s thru to the 50s. This company really does its research, as well. The founder is a cosmetic historian and is passionate about what she puts out. 
Oh, did I also mention that she and I share the same first name? 🙂
Click on this link to see for yourself her wonderful line of Vintage Makeup reproduction products.

Which makeup look is your favorite?

Conclusion: The whole package

So now it’s your turn!
Uh huh, that’s right! Now it’s time to see what you can come up with.
I am inviting you to my 5-day Anatomy of a Vintage look mini challenge. Each day for five days you will be creating a vintage style based on your wardrobe, hair, makeup etc. This can be a fun time to channel your creative energy and transform yourself into an authentically vintage aesthetic.
Creating a vintage look isn’t just about playing “dress-up.” It’s about celebrating our timeline of style.

If you try this challenge, let me know how you feel by commenting below or Adding a picture to the Facebook Group. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Before I go, I have one teensier-tinier request to ask.
If you enjoyed this post can you share it, please?
The greatest joy of blogging is being able to share my posts with others.
The more eyes on my content, the more I’m able to focus on what my audience really wants to read.

Here are a few things you can do to spread the word
Post a link to your Facebook (or Facebook biz profile)
Pin it! (I made a nice little pin for you that you can use!)
Tweet it!


P.S. Pin this Post on your favorite Pinterest Board as a Reminder

anatomy of a vintage lookminichallenge