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Tips for Mixing Vintage with Modern Clothing for a Groovy Back-to-School Closet

Vintage style. We get it. You get it. But does your kid get it? While you may enjoy the classic look of a Mary Jane or the delicate feel of a lace cuff, it’s likely that your little one is more concerned with making friends and rocking out on the playground during recess. Fortunately, curating a wardrobe that’s fresh, functional, and fabulous doesn’t have to be a drag! Here are a few tips to styling a retro-inspired wardrobe that’s both hip and practical for a groovy back-to-school look that isn’t too over-the-top.

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1. Go vintage-inspired: Let’s face it. Vintage pieces are gorgeous, but they’re not always cheap. Plus, they often need extra care to keep their integrity. Kids are notorious for taking life by the horns, frills be damned. Often, going for vintage-inspired pieces may be the most sensible option for a packed school day. Pieces that include nods to years past are an excellent way to express that retro style without the stress, like this psychedelic mushroom tee or these daisy bell bottoms!

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2. Focus on one vintage piece: On the other hand, if there’s a real vintage piece you’re dying to deck them out in, go for it! Just be sure to balance the old with the new, as a head-to-toe retro outfit could come off costume-y. You still want them to feel like they fit in with the others, after all. A charming, little pinafore skirt, like this, would pair seamlessly with a pair of white Converse for a more modern look that’s sure to go over well on the playground.

3. Use vintage-inspired basics to elevate a modern look: Vintage style pieces just have that special something that can add a bit of pizzazz to a basic outfit. A frill here, a collar there; it’s just enough to take a regular old combo, like jeans and a t-shirt, to the next level. Think a Peter Pan collared white shirt, like this, paired with any bottom in your child’s closet. Instant charm!

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4. Accessories, baby! : Vintage or vintage-inspired accessories are oh-so-easy to sprinkle into an ensemble. Sunglasses, berets, belts, scarves, colored stockings, and collars, (yes, you can buy detachable collars!) are just enough of a fashion statement to take an outfit from good to groovy.

5. Embrace denim: Denim is the great equalizer. Whether it’s an actual jean jacket from the 70’s or a modern pair of Levis, denim can balance out colors, patterns, frills, and any other vintage detailing that could otherwise be deemed as “too-much”. It’s all about balance, baby.

6. Add details: Alright, this one isn’t for the faint of heart, but hear us out! Fabric buttons, a monogrammed collar, or a bit of handcrafted embroidery are beautiful details that you just don’t really see in today’s clothing. Yet these are the things we oooh and ahhh over when we see a piece in a vintage shop. Why not bring that attention to detail back in style? Whether you’re a DIY kind of parent or someone who’s willing to make friends with the local tailor, adding little touches are sure to make your child’s back-to-school wardrobe feel special.

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Remember, no one should have to sacrifice style or functionality when creating a vintage-inspired wardrobe. Whether they’re running to catch the bus or hanging with their buddies at the jungle gym, take the above tips into consideration to make sure they look and feel their best this coming school year!


If you love vintage style for kids and even yourself, sign up to stay in touch and also receive 15% off Strawberry Jam Kids, a retro-inspired kids brand. 

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