11 Foolproof, Vintage-Inspired Summer Outfit Ideas

Lucinda C. Bard

Lately, we’ve been looking to the past for ways to deal with the present. Those of us who were too busy for family meals pre-coronavirus are now cooking at home more than ever. We’re scheduling long, leisurely phone calls; we’re writing letters (with a pen and paper and everything!); we’re […]

Lately, we’ve been looking to the past for ways to deal with the present. Those of us who were too busy for family meals pre-coronavirus are now cooking at home more than ever. We’re scheduling long, leisurely phone calls; we’re writing letters (with a pen and paper and everything!); we’re planting our own gardens, even in New York (my colleague Steff Yotka set hers up on the fire escape). There’s something comforting about these slower, deliberately low-tech habits, perhaps because they help us feel connected to the past. These are things our parents and grandparents did—and the activities feel a lot more stimulating than a mindless Instagram scroll.

The past is resonating in fashion, too; look no further than Vogue Runway’s “Past/Present” series for proof. Revisiting fashion from decades ago reminds us of a time before the pandemic, before our lives were so dependent on technology and when fashion was a much smaller, slower industry. As we look ahead to summer—though many of us will still be in quarantine—we’re feeling inspired by vintage Vogue photos and outfits that seem to have more staying power than flashy, disposable trends.

It isn’t a surprise that some of our favorite looks are quite simple, too: Christy Turlington in a sundress and sandals, Claudia Schiffer in a tank, trousers, and sneakers. They’re the kinds of summer outfit ideas we’d like to recreate on warmer days: simple, but not lacking personality. Below, we’ve broken them down into easy, three- or four-step “formulas,” edited by Vogue’s market editor Madeline Fass. Shop all 11 of her foolproof summer outfit ideas below.

String Bikini + Shrunken Cardigan + Jean Shorts = Beach Chic

<cite class="credit">Photographed by Liam Goodman, <em>Vogue,</em> April 2009</cite>
Photographed by Liam Goodman, Vogue, April 2009

Banana Republic bucket hat

$40.00, BANANA REPUBLIC

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Everlane cashmere crew cardigan

$140.00, EVERLANE

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She Made Me essential baby-doll bikini top

$119.00, MYTHERESA

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Madewell the Perfect jean short

$70.00, MADEWELL

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Sundress + Woven Tote + Strappy Sandals = Summer Romance

<h1 class="title">Christy Turlington in Isaac Mizrahi Dress, Vogue</h1> <cite class="credit">Photographed by Arthur Elgort, <em>Vogue,</em> December 1992</cite>
Photographed by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, December 1992

Rebecca Taylor block-print maxi dress

$595.00, REBECCA TAYLOR

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Valet Chrissy clips

$75.00, SHOPBOP

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Schutz Dileni sandals

$185.00, SCHUTZ SHOES

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Sensi Studio handmade shopping bag

$208.00, 24S

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Striped Sweater + White Jeans + Colorful Flats = All-American Ease

<cite class="credit">Photographed by Chris Militscher, <em>Vogue</em>, March 2003</cite>
Photographed by Chris Militscher, Vogue, March 2003

Saint James Minquiers Moderne Breton stripe shirt

$79.00, SAINT JAMES

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Madewell washed-cotton bandana

$13.00, MADEWELL

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Mansur Gavriel Pomelo sock loafers

$395.00, MANSUR GAVRIEL

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Jacquemus high-waist straight-leg jeans

$325.00, NORDSTROM

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Crop Top + Pedal Pushers + Kitten Heels = ’90s Nostalgia

<h1 class="title">Sharon Stone in Calvin Klein, Vogue</h1> <cite class="credit">Photographed by Arthur Elgort, <em>Vogue,</em> May 1992</cite>
Photographed by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, May 1992

OW Intimates Willow bra top

$90.00, VERISHOP

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By Far Rachel mini shoulder bag

$297.00, MYTHERESA

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Marc Fisher Dahlia flip-flops

$110.00, NORDSTROM

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LNA pedal-pusher legging

$88.00, LNA CLOTHING

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Bucket Hat + Silk Blouse + Birkenstock = California Dreaming

<cite class="credit">Photographed by Steven Meisel, <em>Vogue</em>, June 2004</cite>
Photographed by Steven Meisel, Vogue, June 2004

Tory Burch Afternoon Tea reversible bucket hat

$158.00, TORY BURCH

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Collina Strada Mariposa floral-print button-up

$300.00, NORDSTROM

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Maison Monik Hema Douce necklace

$65.00, SHOPBOP

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Birkenstock Mayari Flor slide sandals

$100.00, NORDSTROM

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Breton Tee + Midi Skirt + Cat Eye Sunnies = Retro Rewind

<h1 class="title">Christy Turlington in Ungaro Parallele Bodysuit, Vogue</h1> <cite class="credit">Photographed by Arthur Elgort, <em>Vogue</em>, December 1992</cite>
Photographed by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, December 1992

H&M fine knit sweater

$15.00, H&M

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Chimi 006 cat-eye sunglasses

$98.00, INTERMIX

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Wicker Wings Babing woven tote

$290.00, FARFETCH

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Aross Girl x Soler Alex denim midi-skirt

$342.00, NET-A-PORTER

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Raffia Hat + Bikini Top + Embroidered Skirt = A Touch of Wanderlust

<cite class="credit">Photographed by Oliver Hadlee Pearch, <em>Vogue,</em> June 2019</cite>
Photographed by Oliver Hadlee Pearch, Vogue, June 2019

Eric Javits Valeria woven sun hat

$300.00, MODA OPERANDI

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Zimmermann Edie floral triangle bikini

$185.00, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

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Ulla Johnson embroidered floral full skirt

$821.00, FARFETCH

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Zyne Agora sandals

$340.00, ZYNE OFFICIAL

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White Tank + White Trousers + White Sneakers = Sporty Monochrome

<cite class="credit">Photographed by Arthur Elgort, <em>Vogue,</em> January 1994</cite>
Photographed by Arthur Elgort, Vogue, January 1994

Mango linen T-shirt

$30.00, MANGO

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Rag & Bone boyfriend leather belt

$160.00, NORDSTROM

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Converse Jack Purcell sneakers

$65.00, ZAPPOS

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Thakoon high-waisted ecru denim pant

$145.00, THAKOON

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Short Suit + Espadrilles + Beach Hat = Happier at Sea

<cite class="credit">Photographed by Angelo Pennetta, <em>Vogue</em>, June 2015</cite>
Photographed by Angelo Pennetta, Vogue, June 2015

Cos Broderie-Anglais patterned hat

$59.00, COS STORES

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Veronica Beard Jenny check cotton jacket

$595.00, NORDSTROM

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Veronica Beard Saia plaid shorts

$350.00, NORDSTROM

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Castaner Gina platform espadrilles

$182.00, FARFETCH

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Pajama Set + Bikini + Basket Bag = Bringing the Beach to Your Backyard

<cite class="credit">Photographed by Camilla Akrans, <em>Vogue</em>, June 2013</cite>
Photographed by Camilla Akrans, Vogue, June 2013

Janessa Leone Felix hat

$195.00, SHOPBOP

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Kate Spade ditsy blossom short pajama set

$68.00, KATE SPADE

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Marysia Broadway bikini top

$141.00, MYTHERESA

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Tanya Taylor printed picnic basket

$120.00, AMAZON

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Knit Tank + White Shorts + Gladiator Sandals = Refined Comfort

<cite class="credit">Photographed by Michael Jansson, <em>Vogue,</em> May 2009</cite>
Photographed by Michael Jansson, Vogue, May 2009

Rag & Bone Kari rib tank

$95.00, NORDSTROM

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Bassike double cotton canvas D-ring belt

$260.00, MODA OPERANDI

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Ancient Greek Niove sandals

$210.00, ZAPPOS

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Topshop clean crepe shorts

$55.00, NORDSTROM

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Watch Now: Vogue Videos.

Originally Appeared on Vogue

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