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Vintage Style: 5 Tips on What to Pack

Vintage stands for style and comfort. Image from

A lot of people will say travel and fashion are incompatible, especially if you’ll be doing a lot of walking, staying in a hostel room, or stuffing your travel wardrobe in the bottom of a 60L backpack.  Clearly, these people haven’t tried it the vintage way – it’s never been easier (or more comfortable) to travel and be ‘fashionable’ when you embrace the styles of the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s!

Below are five easy tips to help you add a vintage flair to your travel wardrobe. Best thing about being a vintage girl on the road? It’s incredibly easy to find these types of pieces at local thrift shops or street stands , which allow you to both support local economies AND keep your clothing expenses down while looking fabulous and feeling great! Read on to add a bit of ‘old school glamour’ to your pack the next time you travel; you can make use of it no matter what type of journey you’re headed on!

Big Sunglasses

Nothing screams ‘celebrity’ like big sunglasses. Pick the right pair, and you’ll be projecting a ‘Sophia Loren’ vibe, not a ‘Paris Hilton’ one.  Look for plastic frames with rhinestone details, round lenses, or cat-eye shaped frames to channel the glam of movie stars of old.

Photo by Joanna Farley.

Photo by Joanna Farley.

Circle or A-line Skirt

A flared skirt is an absolute classic item to have in your travel kit. Buy an easy-wash one that falls just beneath the knee and has a wide waistband that sits at your waist (not your hips) and you’ll instantly add a glamorous, vintage vibe to your travel wardrobe that can be dressed up or down, depending on what your day will bring.  Good for layering in cold weather; making the most of a breeze when it’s hot; going to the beach, a dinner or a business meeting, this is my must-have vintage travel garment, and may become yours!


Look for a cotton cardigan with ¾ or full-length sleeves that buttons up and has a round or high v-neck front and ends right at the top of your hips. It’ll keep you warm, keep you covered up, act as an additional shirt (or hide the fact you just dropped your lunch on your t-shirt), and give you a classic, lady-like vibe no matter what else you’re wearing.

Image from

Image from

Red Lipstick

A lady didn’t always wear makeup in the ‘days of yore,’ but if she did, or only had room for one product in her travel bag or purse, it was pretty sure to be either lipstick or pressed powder. Today, we’re more likely to refuse to leave home without mascara, but red lipstick is still an instant way to make your travel outfit look more vintage and more polished. Pick a shade that flatters you, but keep in mind the basics – darker, red-brown shades are more 1920s and 1930s, orange-red and medium reds were popular in the 1940s, and it was all about the bright red lip in the 1950s.

Pick your Vintage Colour Palette

We’ve all heard it before – to maximize the wear-ability of a few clothes while travelling, everything should go together.  This is especially true if you’re trying to create a vintage look!  Depending on what you like, brown, camel, and olive green or navy blue, grey, and royal blue are great for anyone recreating the 1930s or 1940s; black, white, and red were huge in the late 1940s and early 1950s; while those who love the 1950s and early 1960s might want to travel with a wardrobe that’s black, white, and a pastel or sherbet green, pink, yellow, or blue.

These are just a few quick tips – many of which you might already have in your backpack – that can help you create a vintage travel wardrobe! Which ones do you want to try? Or if you’re already sporting a vintage look while you travel, what’s your can’t-part-with-it piece of vintage-inspired travel clothing?

I’ve written before about how to utilize everyday items while travelling for a vintage look – take a look here for more ideas!

Joanna Farley
Blogging program mentor
Joanna Farley grew up in Crawley, England before immigrating at age 8 to Canada. She was infected with the travel bug at birth by her parents, and began her solo travels the day she finished university. 8 years later, her adventures have taken her to England, Ireland, Spain, Norway, Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Mexico, as well as to parts of Canada and the United States. Passionate about all things ‘vintage’, Joanna loves wearing red lipstick and dresses from the 1940s while backpacking throughout the globe in search of adventures, new cultural opportunities, and swing dancing scenes. She writes about her attempts to combine all three loves – travel, dance, and vintage fashions – at and as @joannatravels on Twitter.

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