These 8 Retro Autumn Trends Will Always Be Cool

It's not just during #SecondhandSeptember that the team at Who What Wear finds inspiration in thrifting and trends of the past. There's at least two of us on the team—myself and Joy Montgomery—who are self-confessed vintage fanatics, and a great deal of our communication includes sharing great Etsy finds for each other or new Instagram dealers to bookmark. Joy has a monthly column dedicated to secondhand shopping, we extol the virtues of rewearing anything and everything as much as possible, and every time a new-season rolls around we try our very best to dig around for the trends that might already exist in your wardrobe or can be easily bought pre-loved. autumn 2021 is looking particularly retro, which is fantastic news for those of us who like to look back and give a vintage spin to our modern wardrobes. 

Yes, Y2K and the '90s continues to inspire many a brand and well-dressed person out there, but I'm talking about properly retro trends here: The type that was kickstarted in the '60s or '70s and still look cool now, many decades later. Look to the designer collections—Gucci, Max Mara, Nina Ricci, Stella McCartney—and you'll see plenty of references to the era of psychedelic prints, sharp-collared suits, platforms and prairie dresses. Move on over to social media and you'll find that even before these looks filtered into stores, the idea is translating IRL. I've been spotting girls trying out knee-high boots with bare legs, a return to flared jeans and much more. Some retro autumn trends are more classic than others and have the potential to be pulled out time and again—they're all charted below. 


retro autumn trends: dagger collars



They're called dagger collars for a reason—these guys are sharp! Whether on an equally retro printed shirt or adding a subtle twist to a simple, block-coloured dress, just this one old-school update always brings plenty of fashion kudos.


retro autumn trends: crochet



We've been experiencing a summer full of crochet, but this homespun trend shows no sign of slowing down for autumn. Think of crochet co-ords, patchworked jumpers and even full crochet dresses to layer up with boots, roll-necks and a suede jacket for the full vintage effect.

retro autumn trends: fur-trim coats



Saks Potts may have popularised this coat trend a few years ago, but the truth is: Winter coats with furry collars and cuffs (and normally a belted waist) always come back into fashion each decade. You can opt for a classic colour like brown or black, or go wild with something vibrant, such as pink.


Whether '00s, '90s, '80s, '70s or '60s, there's a knee boot style out there for everyone and they're all trending. Try with bare legs now and segue into tights when it's time…


retro autumn trends: flare jeans



Flares are back, baby! And we couldn't be happier about it because they suit everyone and are a nice break from skinnies, but more polished than the current baggy jean trend. You can go for the full vintage look with platforms and a blouse, or simply combine them with a plain jumper or tee for a minimalist's take.

If it's full of sleeve, high of neck and swooshy of skirt, then you know you're onto a retro dress trend that never fails to look good. Add in a vintage-inspired print, like paisley, and you're on track for one of those looks that makes a big entrance without you having to even think about styling or outfit building.


retro autumn trends: tinted shades



Tinted shades correlate directly with coolness, I'm sure of it! They never make someone look less cool, right? Bigger frames are in right now, but they've also been popular during the '60s, '70s, '90s and '00s, so they are well worth an investment.


Once miniskirts died out, a classic, easy-to-wear shape was born in the A-line maxi or midi. High-waisted and simply flaring out over the hips, this is one of those magical looks-good-with-everything pieces you'll come to rely upon, if only you'd try it!

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