Admit it, we’ve all thought about scouring grandma’s closet for the perfect ‘Ugly Sweater Party’ attire. Style changes a lot over time and sure, a lot of her outfits might not be your cup of tea, but don’t be so quick to throw the baby out with the bath water (as your grandma might say - you may need to Google that idiom). Style is also cyclical so what was once a fashion “faux pas” may soon be a fashion “hell yeah”, making grandma’s wardrobe a treasure trove for true vintage finds (if she’s willing to share).
In 2022 we’re continuing to see the rise of retro trends that will have the older generation nodding in approval rather than asking you if you paid extra for those holes in your jeans.
1. Rib Knits and Cable Knits Pieces
Knitted sweaters may be associated with an older generation, but we’re not sure why. They check all our boxes when it comes to searching for a great outer layer. They’re warm, comfortable, and can be extremely trendy in the right outfit. Luckily, the fashion gods agree. We’re going to be seeing a lot of knits this year, and not just as sweaters, which means high comfort and high fashion is in the cards. Whether you’re hitting up the après ski in your jeans and your lace-up boots, or going to the office with a dress underneath your cable knit sweater, you're going to feel great and be uber comfortable. It's a win-win. This spring, style sweater vests over short sleeve blouses to stay cool in more ways than one.
2. Silk Scarves
Every Hollywood starlet from the ‘50s rocked the silk scarf and sunglasses combo, and this versatile piece is back. Scarves are a favorite accessory of ours because they are versatile in both patterns and function. Traditionally used as an over-the-head wrap to keep hair dry and in place, we’re now seeing all types of unique and trendy uses for this multipurpose accessory. Basically the only way we don’t recommend using your silk scarf is as a face mask. The weaves are too loose and it's usually too thin to be an effective shield. Instead, fashion it into a bohemian headband for your 'peace and love' look during festival season, a scrunchie for a more sporty look, or braid it into your hair for a splash of color without the commitment of a dye treatment.
You could just fully channel Audrey Hepburn and wear the Old Hollywood Sunglasses with the scarf keeping your hair-sprayed waves in place.
Image: Vogue UK
We’re even seeing the scarf make its way south of the hairline in the form of neckpieces, make-shift belts, and worn as a bandeau or tied crop top. Regardless of how you use it, a scarf is one statement piece that needs to make its rounds in your 2022 fashion line-up. If you don't have a scarf but still want to accessorize with something similar - enlist a fancy ribbon left over from any online-shopping packages as a ponytail piece. See Valeria's 60-second tutorial below.
3. Bold Shoulders
Image: L'Officiel USA
Shoulder pads have become a nostalgic trope when referring to the ‘80s and early ‘90s. But they have been gracing the closets of fashionistas since the 1930s, and guess what, they’re back again. Shoulder pads don’t need to be the comically oversized, football player-worthy pieces we see in the likes of The Goldbergs or Glow. When formed right, they can accentuate the body and create an extremely flattering silhouette. An oversized, padded blazer is one of our favorite layering pieces of 2022 that’s going to add dimension and shape to any outfit. Wear them with fitted trousers or high-waisted, ‘90s-boyfriend cut jeans and shin-boots for a professional-chic ensemble.
Image: Refinery29. The Frankie Shop, Eva Padded Muscle T-Shirt
4. Polka Dots
Minnie Mouse may be ditching her timeless red dress for a businesswoman pantsuit, but even she knows that the polka dots had to stay. The classy and elegant print gives us major ‘50s and ‘60s vibes, and not just because polka dots remind us of our grandma’s wardrobe. The retro trend has stood the test of time because they look great on any body type as the round shapes compliment our natural curves. Polka dots have been back in the conversation for a few years now, and they’re not going anywhere. Whether on dresses, scarves, swimsuits, or cartoon pantsuits, polka dots will be everywhere in 2022.
Image: Architectural Digest
5. Biker shorts
Biker shorts have weaved their way in and out of the fashion conversation a lot throughout the years and they've been having their moment for a while now - moving successfully from athletic-wear to casual dress. But this isn't the first time we've seen this, is it? The obvious example of who absolutely defined the biker short is Princess Diana. Her '90s flair and casually-stunning style is forever engrained as the greatest biker short style of that decade and well beyond.
This is awesome, because after spending most of the past two years working from home, I know I’m not the only one who has gotten used to the comfort of, well...comfort wear. Thanks to the boom in ath-leisure it’s now totally acceptable, nay, encouraged, to go out to run errands looking like you’ve just stepped out of a yoga class. Biker shorts are soft, lightweight, and form-flattering as outerwear but also serve as a great layering piece for colder temperatures. Wear with longer blazers, flowy shirts, or cropped tops.
Pictured: Verie, Nova Short in Cherry
Image: Head Topics
Plaid is a staple print that should make it to every corner of your closet. Plaid print is easily the identifying feature of any outfit so make it count. Plaid - or more accurately tartan - has never really gone out of style since the Scottish Clans made them famous in the 1700s. Not that your Grandma is that old, but if she was around in the '60s, '70s, or '80s in plaid, she was in style. This timeless element is thanks to this versatile pattern’s ability to be weaved into multiple colors so the matching opportunities are endless.
The trend has filtered in and out of the spotlight through every decade of defined fashion, but never strayed far. From ‘60s surf-rock to hipster uniform, plaid dominates winter but will stick around through the warmer months this year. Purses, scarves, jackets, and skirts make it easy to make a plaid piece go with an outfit. Similarly to the trend in the '60s, matching plaid suits and full-plaid outfits are making their way back - rather than the usual solitary-accent-outfit. If the full suit isn't your style, try styling your skirt or shirt as plaid with combat boots and a top layer of a solid color.