Vintage Style Dresses That Rock

A group of Audrey Hepburn lookalikes show off early '60s cocktail-party cool at a contest to mark the 50th anniversary of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in 2011.
A group of Audrey Hepburn lookalikes show off early '60s cocktail-party cool at a contest to mark the 50th anniversary of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in 2011.
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

A night on the town calls for something special, but if fashion has taught us anything it's that special doesn't always mean new. Sometimes the best looks are ones that were iconic in another era, and have stood the test of time as being fabulous even decades after their introduction. What's the best thing about dressing in vintage styles? You get to pick and choose the best ideas from runways of the past and make them your own. Here are some great dress styles that are just as awesome today as they were when your mom (or grandma) wore them.

For the ultimate vintage look, adopt the popular "flapper" style from the 1920s. Fashions of that era featuredloose, shapeless dresses with low waistlines and hems that fall just below the knees. Popular TV shows like "Boardwalk Empire" have brought this look back to our attention, and the accessories that look great with this style -- long necklaces, high heels, and pinned-on flowers -- are totally back in fashion today. This loose look not only flatters most body types, it's very fashion-forward and appropriate for a night on the town.

For a simpler look, try out a 1950s house dress. This look is vintage without trying too hard. Dresses of the time featured a cinched waist, buttons down the front, a full calf-length skirt and simple lines. While at one time it evoked confidence in the kitchen, today it really says you know how to get creative with your wardrobe. Looking like Suzy Homemaker was never so much fun!

Another option is to step into the '60s with a mod dress. These dresses are short, short, short, A-line, and loose, featuring bold colors and not-too-busy patterns. This is a great way to pay homage to high fashion of the past, while looking modern and sexy at the same time. Not keen on baring that much skin? These dresses looked great with tights back then, and they still do today.

If you're looking for something more comfortable, why not try on a1970s flowing hippie-style dress? Long, loose and comfortable -- it's a great look for a day at the beach or a shopping trip, both sexy and easygoing. This flowing, laid-back look goes great with Greek sandals or wedge heels, and of course a hot pair of shades and a flower or scarf in your hair.

Another great look to steal from the 1970s is a wrap dress. Classic, simple and very work appropriate, wrap dresses were popularized by designer Diane von F├╝rstenberg, who made them in every color and pattern imaginable. Wrap dresses criss-cross over the body (flattering the tummy) and tie with a sash on the side. Today you can even get faux wrap dresses -- they're stitched on the side so there isn't an exposure risk if the knot comes untied. The look is pulled-together and fun all at the same time.

Want more tips for making vintage fashion work for your modern lifestyle? Look at the links below.

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  • Blackstone, Tiffany. "The 7 Biggest Fashion Trends of the Past 70 Years." Glamour. (Sept. 19, 2012).
  • Von Furstenberg, Diane. "Diane: A Signature Life." Simon & Schuster, 1998.
  • Zarka, Emily. "Fashion Through the Decades." She Knows, Aug. 3, 2011. (Sept. 11, 2012).