29 Random Archive Shots That Inspire My Personal Style

Joy Montgomery
·5-min read

Last year, I wrote an article about the powerful role nostalgia is playing in the fashion industry, both over the course of 2020 and up to the present day, as creatives struggle to create new content due to social distancing. I've watched as magazines have been forced to delve into the archives yet come out with the most stunning finds that more than deserves a second outing. Plus, as we seek to make our shopping habits more sustainable, you could argue than the same rule could apply to imagery. Why create so much newness when we have a rich and inspiring back catalogue at our disposal?

Of course, there'll always be a need for innovation and fresh ideas in fashion, but the irony is that I personally find there to be more examples of original and unique style in the archive than there sometimes is in the world of modern media. Also, if nothing else, there's something so escapist about plunging into the past and immersing yourself in the trends of decades gone by.

So if you're tired of scrolling through Instagram, or generally feeling a bit lacklustre in the wardrobe department, I've given you a helping hand and found 29 throwback shots that might give you some ideas for your personal style this year. From Bridget Bardot's Gallic-girl allure and Gwynnie's languarous '90s silhouettes to Iman's '80s power dressing and Halle Berry's off-duty appeal, consider this photo archive your go-to.

Style Notes: From the high-waisted trousers to the gingham waistcoat, there's nothing I don't love about this outfit.

Style Notes: Naomi brought out a very '90s grunge vibe to this traditional tweed jacket with a velvet maxi skirt.

Style Notes: Yep, this is pretty much how I dream of looking when working from home. Just need to perfect that feline flick.

Style Notes: I'm always partial to a jumpsuit, and this velvet number is no exception. It would look so good with a white tee underneath and platform sandals.

Style Notes: This bold printed skirt suit is so '80s, but in the best way possible. I would wear the jacket now with jeans and chunky sandals.

Style Notes: Iman shows us how to channel "librarian chic" with this getup. I particularly like the belted cardi.

Style Notes: Just look at that collar. This is one to keep on file for when I finally go back to the office.

Style Notes: Carolyn Kennedy knew how to work a minimalist getup. Case in point? I'm so into the knee-high boots and midi skirt she's repping here.

Style Notes: There's something so 2021 about Gwynnie's leaf green co-ord. It's a big yes from me.

Style Notes: Another day, another retro suit, this time courtesy of '60s icon Twiggy. I'll be taking cues from her oversize lapels and the suit's beige colourway.

Style Notes: If you want to wear neutrals but find beige or black boring, experiment with teracotta hues as seen on Cindy Crawford.

Style Notes: So simple but so chic. Gwynnie's '90s style is really quite hard to rival.

Style Notes: With its oversize collar and cuffs, Diana Ross is essentially wearing my dream red carpet dress.

Style Notes: I couldn't not include this chic throwback shot, purely for the sake of the stunning green hue and the complimentary cream roll-neck.

Style Notes: You can certainly see where Zoë Kravitz got her sense of style from. Nineties Lisa Bonet is the epitome of cool.

Style Notes: Three words: Couple dressing goals. Iman and David Bowie champion the tonal tailoring look perfectly, but the question is, "Who wore it better?"

Style Notes: Another fabulous collar-and-cuff situation, but this time from the one and only Barbra Streisand. I'll be trying this black-bow look with a white shirt this week.

Style Notes: So this is a random one, but how damn chic is Cilla Black's wedding dress? The feathered collar and cuffs are the stuff dreams are made of.

Style Notes: Clearly, there's a bit of a collar theme going on here. This time, it's Princess Diana's collared green dress, which she wore for a photoshoot with her family. Perfection.

Style Notes: It's fair to say that you could probably put this snapshot on an Insta feed in 2021 and it wouldn't look out of place. I love every aspect of Halle Berry's off-duty styling, right down to the sunglasses chain.

Style Notes: Shorts, a shirt and chunky trainers? Whoopi Goldberg was doing it first. For extra '90s points, make sure to add round sunnies.

Style Notes: I can totally imagine a fashion-savvy celeb wearing this Princess Anne gown to a red carpet 'do. The sleeves, the smocking, the print. Yes please.

Style Notes: Co-ords are looking very appealing right now, and this 1950s model offers the ideal inspiration with her dark-pink belted shirt and trousers.

Style Notes: Okay, this isn't necessarily inspiring my outfits this year, but just look at them. I am, however, taking note of the yellow hue of Kate's strappy gown.

Style Notes: Jacqueline Bouvier, soon to be Kennedy, looks every inch the '50s style pinup with her high-waisted shorts and sleeveless shirt.

Style Notes: Is there anything more iconic in the world of film fashion than Cher's preppy style in Clueless? I might not be copying the long socks, but the ruffled shirt and checked mini are good to go.

Style Notes: YSL's safari jacket one of the pieces that shot him to fame. I can imagine wearing this look now with colour-match trousers and sliders.

Up Next: Why I Think Nostalgia Is the Future of the Fashion Industry

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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