LA Style Stories: Retro Chic & Do It Again

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Retro Chic

I’m a firm believer that nothing is “out of style”. Rather like a Lazy Susan, it all comes back around. Knowing how to mix your vintage and contemporary pieces so they don’t look like a costume takes good merchandising and a clear understanding of the era you’re pulling from (shapes dimension fabrications etc). I’ve paired my off-white piquet sleeveless cropped button-back blouse, circa 1950s, McInerny Hawaii, with a contemporary skirt, Paris Atelier & Others, who’s full or swing shape is also reminiscent of that time. The modernity comes from the sheerness of the skirt – a big trend for Spring/Summer.

I’ve captured the vibe of the era with the right juxtaposition of garments, but my look has a modern feel from the colour palette and a mix of supporting items. My solid black sling backs, Martinez Valero, large South Sea pearls a black flower pin, Amazon, and petite handbag, Burberry, are all contemporary but their style plays into that truly feminine feeling of the era. My Mother’s vintage crochet gloves, Lord & Taylor, look both modern and retro at the same time and for me drives it all home. I’ve also kept my curly hair natural and messy rather than sleek or coiffed like it was worn back then.

style-tip: the best retro chic looks are NOT over styled nor are they costumes but rather a balance of items within the integrity of times both past and present.

Do it Again 

If you’re like me, you love every garment you own and every new item you purchase. This way of shopping/consuming has been ingrained into my being since I was young and has served me well with my wardrobe, my home and my lifestyle. It’s like “curating” before curating was a thing. These days, I haven’t a need to “build” a wardrobe rather maintain, fill in or need for an event which is rare because my wardrobe’s pretty extensive. With that said, if you’re able to curate in-store before at the point of sale you can do a rundown in your head of the many ways your new item will work with what you already own. This goes back to loving what you buy because you ‘ll want to wear it more than once and utilize it in different ways.

Today, I’m wearing my printed wrap dress, Zara, from a few seasons back. I’ve never been much of a “print person” but this has a timeless pattern in colours that are year-round and are ones I wear. The leggings, Spanx, are a newer purchase and are completely out of my scope but I loved them and could see a bunch of ways to use them.  My dress gets another outing, but this time tied as a long blouse over my leggings. The fabrication of both pieces, though completely different, have a similar reflective quality that makes them a great pairing. I’m keeping the shine and the boldness going with a patent leather chunky platform sandal, Steve Madden, and structured handbag, Carla Mancini. I like how the soft flowyness of the dress neutralizes the intensity of the leggings and the rest of my pieces. As for my jewelry, a vintage gold watch, Omega, bangles, Cartier, and a single South Sea pearl with diamonds on a gold chain, I want them soft feminine and in balance with my dress.

style-tip: curate and edit ,curate and edit because more is just more.

*please treat your wardrobe well. many people worked very hard to get it to you.


  • Felicia Arlin

    Felicia Arlin’s work as a stylist and costume designer has been featured in print, tv, film and on the red carpet. As a 20+ year veteran designer/merchandiser in the LA/NY garment industry her work has graced the racks of every major department store and specialty chain in the country. She is passionate about helping women look and feel confident no matter their age, shape or socioeconomic status. Her hope is to empower other women by sharing some of the things she’s learned along the way to better cultivate and express their own individual and ageless style.

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