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Tips for Accessorizing Your Vintage Clothing

Finding vintage shoes, bags, and belts for your favorite ‘70s outfits can be a chore—but some classic looks have withstood the test of time.

Fashionistas have been telling us for decades that it’s all about accessories. Witness the basic black dress that goes from office to cocktail party with just a change of shoes and jewelry. But finding the right shoes, bags, belts, jewelry and scarves for vintage clothing can be a chore; you might find a great ‘70s dress in a vintage clothing shop, but there’s no guarantee you’ll find accessories to match—especially the shoes. What are your options?

Fortunately, there are some styles that defy time—they’re the classic looks, they look just as good now as they did forty years ago. And there are plenty of styles that disappear for a while and then come back. Pearls, for example, never go away, although freshwater pearls are now more popular.

In the shoe department, wedges have been continually popular since they were first styled in the ‘30s. They’ve hung in there despite other fashion changes.

Platforms, the wedges’ cousin, actually first designed hundreds of years ago during the Italian Renaissance, came into fashion in America in the late 1930s—and not a moment too soon; those heavily-padded shoulders needed a little balance. The added height of the platform made the overall look sleek and elegant. The platform fashion didn’t last long—the petite look started becoming more fashionable for women in the late ‘40s—but they come back periodically, and are back right now, with a vengeance.

Kitten heels are also proving to have withstood the test of time. They disappeared completely for a few decades, but they’re now fairly easy to find and are even being featured by top designers. They’re an excellent, graceful, and sexy alternative to four-inch stilettos. And, it goes without saying, a lot more comfortable!

High heels have been popular forever—and the higher the better. They may be hard to walk in, but they’re still considered the ultimate in femininity.

If you can find a vintage clothing shop that also sells vintage shoes and other accessories, you’ve found a goldmine. But if you find yourself stuck for the right shoes for your outfit, look for the classic styles above.

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