Vintage-Inspired Fashion: 4 Fabulous Mod Dresses

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Mod Dress Lineup

Vintage-inspired fashion is definitely on the upswing. While many may consider skinny jeans, fringe, and leggings “new” trends, in reality they are simply reincarnations of looks from the past. Vintage-inspired is the new “new”, and you can find these types of pieces everywhere, from stores like ModCloth to Lulu’s.

So what is vintage-inspired fashion? There are two ways that something can be vintage-inspired: it can be a literal remake of a classic shape (such as the two dresses on the left above), or it can be an interpretation that, while maybe not exactly like its vintage parents, is a new way to look at that classic shape.

Fashion always has one eye on the past for inspiration. To help you stay a step ahead of the game, the vintage-inspired dresses featured here will help you stand out from the crowd, while still staying true to your personal style and giving a nod to the past.

Polamaloop dress, ModCloth


This adorable dress reminds me of something that a go-go dancer would wear: the shape is simple, the colors are simple, but the effect is definitely a dress that stands out from the crowd.

The back is especially beautiful because of the graphic detailing. I see this dress being paired with basic Mary Jane flats and a black leather bag – it would be a great, simple daytime look.

Gettin’ Twiggy With It dress, ModCloth


Another literal translation of the mod look, the vibrant block colors make this dress a little more difficult to pull off, but totally worth the challenge.

I see this dress with white tights and very simple shoes, such as red flats or a very low heel, as well as a large white bag to keep things modern. This vibrant dress would be a great look to wear out dancing or to a low-key party.

Tuxedo Belted Sleeveless Coatdress, Forever 21

Tuxedo Belted Sleeveless Coatdress front

As you may have guessed, this is a reinterpretation of typical mod style.

It recalls the simple lines and delicate femininity of the previous dresses, while also containing modern elements, such as the collar and the belt. Again, the color palate is more muted than the other dresses, but just as simple. I would pair this dress with a brightly colored cardigan, black tights and very high heels for a date.

Native Silk dress, Forever 21

Native Silk Dress front

While this dress may appear to be as far from mod as you could get, the short, simple shape of the dress reminds me of a mod style dress, while the pattern feels very up-to-date and contemporary while still being colorful and fun.

I would pair this with a great bag in black or red and gladiator sandals for another great daytime look.

Tips to finding dresses like these in vintage and thrift stores

  • Look for simple shapes and simple color schemes. While a floral pattern could be pretty on these dresses, it can also look aging depending on the shape and length, so be careful. However, don’t be afraid to try everything, because you never know what will really work until you try it on!
  • Have an idea of exactly what you want to look for. Vintage and thrift stores often have a lot of merchandise, so go in with an idea of what you want to find.
  • Try on the dress. Even if the store doesn’t have a dressing room (many small vintage shops won’t), ask if you can slip it on over your clothes. Look for a slightly loose fit in the waist and hips, a mid-thigh length, and a precise fit in the shoulders. (And remember, dresses can always be taken in.)
  • Check the dress for any stains or tears before purchasing. If you are sure you can remove the stain or fix the tear, ask if you can have a discount on the price.
  • To find good vintage shops in your area, do a search on Yahoo or Google and read any reviews. Then spend one day going through all the ones that look good. Note how well the store takes care of their merchandise: is it arranged or just sort of lumped together? Does everything seem clean and in good condition? Many vintage shop owners go through a lot of work to find great items and they take really great care of them.

What do you think of these vintage-inspired looks? Would you rather wear a literal interpretation or something slightly reinvented?

10 thoughts on “Vintage-Inspired Fashion: 4 Fabulous Mod Dresses”

  1. i love the forever 21 updated versions of these mod style dresses. great post, i love hearing and seeing new takes on trends like this.

  2. I’m having my 21st birthday in December and my theam is 60 70 80tys.
    I really want to go as Cyndi Lauper and i want to find a similar outfit to the one about can anyone help?

  3. i really really really like the first two….im not too sure i like the other ones….but if i tried them on it may be a totally different story.

  4. I like the twiggy dress and the forever 21- but not too fussed on the others. However, your article did get me searching for the last 2 hours for vintage shops in my area- and once I found them I spent aaages browsing their dresses online!!! I’m not meant to be shopping anymore and now you’ve given me a new obsession- thanks a lot Michelle lol. Though I’m a little surprised at the prices of vintage dresses though- I thought that since they’re second hand they’d surely be cheaper (kind of like a charity shop right?)!

    But I’m looking forward to more posts from you- you sound like you know what you’re talking about and love what you do which is always a plus!

  5. The third dress is my favorite, though I’d probably change out the belt for either a great contrasting one, or a black one.

    I like the ideas of the other dresses, though not the particular ones posted.

    Overall it was a good post though! I love vintage stuff and am looking forward to reading more!

  6. No, Ally, I’m not trying to scare you. 🙂 That’s just how I would wear that dress (plus, I love white tights with bright shoes)! These dresses definitely aren’t for everyone, but stay tuned – I have some more great vintage-inspired ideas coming up, which hopefully you will like!

  7. I’m not really big on any of these, though I do appreciate the vintage style. The first two remind me of one of my old halloween costumes, the third is okay but needs a black belt, and the fourth confuses me.

    The “Gettin’ Twiggy With It” dress with white tights and RED flats…?!?! You’re trying to scare us, right?

  8. I adore this post! Vintage inspired fashion has always been one of my inspirations and favourite ways to dress! This is a cool way of looking at vintage- love the idea.

    I really like the Gettin’ Twiggy With It dress because it’s so fun and funky and just screams “personality!”

    I also like the Tuxedo Belted Sleeveless Coatdress, because I’ve been likeing stuff in that style lately. I love my grey boyfriend cardigan and black waistcoat (which I’m wearing right now).

    One other tip I’d like to add is: Don’t just look for your size, because clothing sizes have changed over time, or the labels might be old. I am anything from a 00 to a 12 in Vintage shops. If it looks like your size, try it. I also wrote an article on vintage shopping a while back:


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