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Retro Dresses: Wear It from Coffee to Cocktail Hour

November 19, 2015


From classic charm to the occasional eccentric detail, the retro dress has the capacity to reinvent itself for a number of situations. Because the retro look hails from a range of eras, retro dresses look different in every decade. While there are tasteful styles to select from in each era, a woman must also keep in mind what works best for her lifestyle and engagements, and, most importantly, she must keep an eye out for quality fabric and design. European design companies often set high standards for clothing design, using luxury fabrics and highly aesthetic designs characteristic of couture garments. The European fashion retailer Kollekcio keeps their retro dress collection classy, combining vintage appeal with European design quality. From fabric to fit, Kollekcio's retro dresses meet the seasoned fashionista's standards and are appropriate for office and evenings out alike.

Here are six styles of retro dresses from the 1940s to the 1990s that are even more appealing today--proof that a truly well-designed dress takes a woman not only from coffee to cocktail hour but also through the eras of fashion.

1. The 1940s: Utility Chic Style

Fashion in the 1940s was considerably affected by wartime rations on fabric, but that didn't stop the savvy sartorial enthusiast from dressing with style. Skirts were fitted, and hemlines moved to just above the knee in order to save fabric. Waists were cinched and topped with tight jackets featuring boxy shoulders. All together this look took the form of a tailored suit-dress, a look that remains in vogue for the modern woman who means business in the office or out on the town.

2. The 1950s: Full Skirt, Full Fashion

With the war finally at an end, fabric and fashion alike were in full swing again. While the waist remained cinched for some women, others preferred the less shapely style of the sack dress. In either case, the increased availability of fabric and sewing materials meant fuller, longer skirts and intricate designs. Necklines were detailed and decorated, ranging from a high peter pan collar to the lower-cut neckline and eventually the halter style. The 1950s marked a celebration of fashion and a diversification of styles, many of which are still popular today.

3. The 1960s: Freedom in Fashion

During the 1960s, fashion continued to evolve. The decade saw a surge of bold colors, prints, and cuts. Notable fashions included the mini skirt, whose hemline hit the upper thigh, and baby-doll dresses featuring rounded necks and tight waists. Many style icons made their marks during this era, including Twiggy, Audrey Hepburn, and Jackie Kennedy. These women turned pieces like pillbox hats, shift dresses, ballet flats, over-sized sunglasses, pastel suits, and pearls into style classics. Tie-dyed garments and bell-bottomed jeans may be defining features of 1960s hippie culture, but there's no denying that a more sophisticated style was born of the era as well.

4. The 1970s: Well-Suited Style

If women owned one look in the 1970s, it was the suit. Although pants had become more acceptable garments for women in the previous decade, they dominated women's fashion in the 1970s. Retro dresses may be back on trend today, but the 1970s marked the first time in fashion history that the business suit became a viable option for women.

5. The 1980s: Extravagance and Power

In the 1980s social and professional styles alike were all about extravagance. Women donned expensive jewelry and accessories, lush fabrics like velvet and velour, and clothing adorned with sequins and jewels. This look carried over into the business world in the form of power dressing. Working women kept the extravagant jewelry, often adding accessories like stiletto heels or pointed satin pumps. Blazers with boxy shoulders over brightly colored blouses and knee-length skirts were also staples of 1980s professional fashion.

6. The 1990s: The Return of Designer Culture

Although a wave of grunge fashion swept early 1990s street style, by the end of the decade glamour had overtaken grunge with the return of designer culture. While some trends from earlier decades began to come full circle, ultimately the glamour of simplicity won out. The little black dress is one emblematic look of this era with a lasting impact on women's fashion.

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