Retro Essentials: 10 Kinds of Accessories

All this time I’ve been arguing for the benefits of buying basics and then adding accessories to dress things up or down. So quite naturally it seemed the next logical thing would be to write a post about it where I explore those themes a bit more.
Especially the pinup styles are rather focused on accessories and in comparison to a lot of retro clothes they tend to be quite cheap even in specialised stores.

As always, my philosophy is to incorporate elements of these styles into your day to day life rather than investing in items you’ll rarely use.

wpid-20150704_152412.jpg1. The Hair Flower.
You’ve already seen me use this in one of my posts and I firmly believe it’s one of the essential accessories to have in your arsenal. They come in tons of colours and styles, so it’s quite easy to adapt it to your personal style. My personal favourites are roses in a very structured velvety material. You’ll probably end up owning dozens of these but in terms of buying your first few ones I’d recommend picking up a standard rose one. In terms of colours you can really go for anything, but do keep in mind that it should work with your hair colour and what you wear. If you have short hair and can’t really use this type of flower at the moment, I’d recommend having a look at those bobby pins with flowers attached to them since they’re easier to use with short hair.

2. The Bow
I don’t use this as often as a lot of people do, but I still have a few around. They’re apparently quite popular at the moment, so even regular stores seem to sell them right now. You can use bows in an almost identical way to how you use hair flowers and they too come in lots of sizes and patterns. I tend to avoid them because they tend to remind me of school uniforms and it’s just a bit weird to me. Since bows are made from fabric there’s endless variations of them, and it’s a good way to incorporate your geeky elements into it. Lavender Latte makes them in seemingly endless variations and I’ve often seen them sold in My Cube stores.

3. Vintage Necklace
This isn’t just one type of necklace but rather one that captures the time period you take your main inspiration from. No matter if it’s a string of pearls, a set of 1920’s rhinestones, or a victorian reproduction. This doesn’t have to be a statement necklace but it is meant to truly represent the era you’re drawn to. It doesn’t have to actually be vintage, but it should be something that would have been worn in that era.

4. Scarves and bandanas.
A lot of people consider a red bandana to be as essential to a pinup style as red lipstick. I myself don’t really use them since I’m not that skilled with hair styling. What I do use instead is scarves. Not only are they very practical during the cold months, but they can also be a very versatile in terms of accessories. Think about the light scarves worn during the 1950’s or the delicate floral patterns seen on some silk scarves. If you can work with bandanas, absolutely do because they are an iconic accessory. If you’re struggling like me, go for scarves.

5. The quirky item.
Accessories is a good chance to have some fun. No matter if it’s a necklace with skeleton hands covered in green rhinestones, a cupcake fascinator, or unicorn earrings… It’s always good to have that one accessory that instantly boosts your mood. You don’t have to go absolutely crazy with the theme, but the important thing is that this accessory makes you smile.

6. Handbags
Chances are you’re already using one. There’s tons of classic designs that are also practical and affordable. Even Colette has some classical options for very affordable prices that wouldn’t stand out like a zebra in a pig pen in a pinup wardrobe. A lot of vintage handbags tend to have a see-through lid on them for some reason, so I’d opt for a reproduction rather than an original. Handbags are a good chance to combine styles with practicality. There’s tons of specialised companies that do rockabilly style handbags and accessories, so you truly have the chance to find something that works for you. You don’t necessarily need to go for practical and affordable if you don’t want to, the options are endless.

7. Stationary
Not the first thing you think of when we’re discussing accessories, but as a university student I spend a lot of time with my stationary. I strongly recommend owning a physical calendar (if for no other reason that phones & laptops have a tendency to die when you need them the most) and at least one notebook. These really do help to round out your everyday style and make it more fleshed out. Details do matter. You can go classical or quirky, but it tends to be more fun to use these items if they are aesthetically pleasing.

8. Utility items
On the same theme as stationary but things you will need at one point or another no matter what your life looks like. The classic example of this is the umbrella. Anything you need that also affects your appearance goes into this category. You’re going to use the item anyway so why not make it stylish? That’s why I’ve ended up with an umbrella with flowers on it. Watches are another good example. Sunglasses another. There’s a surprising amount of options out there for items like this, have fun exploring them.

9. Gadgets
No, you don’t need to ensure that your laptop is pinup appropriate. However, you might want to consider getting headphones with a cute design on them. Or have an extravagant phone case. Again, instead of spending a lot of money on jewellery or accessories you need to make a conscious effort to put on, incorporate your style into items you use in your everyday life.

wpid-20150415_154459.jpg10. Other jewellery and accessories
This point, the bottom one on my list, is where you would usually find an entire post. This is the part of your accessories and jewellery that can be dedicated to the “oh that’s nice, I want it” feeling. Need a plastic anchor to wear around your neck? Go for it. An elaborate hat that reminds you of Carmen Sandiego? Go for it. This is the equivalent of adding paintings and sculptures to your house. You don’t necessarily need them to function or even look good, but they still have the potential to take an outfit from nice to astounding.


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