There is a saying that nothing in the fashion world is really new, and this certainly goes for dungarees. They recall memories of the Great Depression in America and first appeared on women factory workers during World War II. They became must-have teen wear in the 70s and 80s. But few could have predicted the resurgence of retro dungarees as one of the major trends on the current fashion scene.
However, they have indeed arrived, and in a big way, initially via Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2010 collection. Alexa Chung appeared in the March issue of Vogue that year, wearing dungarees with a necklace and literally nothing else, and since then they have been spotted on many big names in fashion and showbiz, including Lily Allen, Demi Moore and Jennifer Aniston. The model Heidi Klum was pictured out shopping with her children, apparently having thrown on dungarees as a quick fix for comfort.
Whilst these glamorous superstars can get away with anything, the question in many minds is how they would look on ordinary mortals with average measurements. In fact, many fashion advisers are totally scathing about the trend, and advise avoiding retro dungarees like the plague, unless you want to look like an overgrown toddler or a farm worker. The more adventurous ones like us on the other hand, are keen to have a go.
Nordic Poetry believes that the first thing to remember is that retro dungarees by definition are a revival of an older style. So there is no need to spend a fortune on buying brand new ones. In fact, you can stay on trend better by finding them in a second-hand shops, or resurrecting your parents’ 80s ones from the attic or better still do away with the hard work and purchase straight from Nordic Poetry.
The other important point is that it is basically a masculine style, so you need to balance it out by pairing it with something feminine like a frilly blouse. High heels look good, colourful wedges look better or if this is not your style then Dr Martins are the business. If you are going out about town, try lots of accessories — anklets, colourful bangles, chunky earrings.
Alternatively, you can go for the period look — a peasant blouse, for the American dust-bowl style, or back to the 40s with a simple short-sleeved blouse. For day-to-day wear, tank-tops or T-shirts actually look really good. Or you can be different with a jacket over the dungarees, and a stylish cap.
In fact, retro dungarees may be high fashion, but they can be worn in a multitude of ways — not just for posh occasions, but for everyday use as well.