Evolution of a Vintage Girl | My Childhood Style

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Now that I’m a veritable ancient mariner in my early 20s (ha!), I enjoy looking back at the various ways in which my style has changed and developed over the past few decades. Even though I’ve moved through several phases of fashion evolution so far (including some terrible teen “nature shirts and distressed jeans” years which I won’t discuss here…), it’s funny how much of my current vintage-inspired, pastel-hued, dreamy and romantic style can be traced back to my early childhood. At age six, I loved fairy folklore, pink, flowers, and big, lacy dresses: and at age twenty-two, very little has changed!

Inspired by a recent journey into my personal archives, here’s a compendium of trends I loved as a kid which, somehow, I’m still wearing today. Get ready for a trip into the rose-tinted world of being a magic-loving girl in the 90s!

(The adorable picture above–featuring my amazing sister on the right and me in pink on the left!–shows that my love for all things pastel existed from a very young age. The jellies + ankle socks combo, on the other hand, would be better included in a true April Fool’s Day post…)

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trend no. 1 : floral-print leggings.

Can somebody please write a dissertation on the rise and fall of leggings over the past twenty years? I’m sure I’m not the only child of the 90s and 00s who spent her youth without a single pair of jeans. Floral leggings were the way to go! These comfortable, colorful pants were perfect for running through the Hawaiian forests and mountains.

The last time I wore leggings as a kid was probably in 2003. Imagine my delight, then, when my much-aged college self of 2011 discovered that printed leggings were somehow back in business. I usually pair them with lacy cardigans and cuddly sweaters instead of t-shirts these days, but that’s what the Mainland will do to you!


trend no. 2 : tulle skirts.

The genesis of my twenty-first century affection for tulle skirts–like the one I styled two ways a few months ago!–was undoubtedly the many happy Saturdays I spent in a “creative movement” ballet-ish class when I was five or so. I remember really enjoying running and jumping around (though I lacked the patience and resilience for proper ballet!) and taking every opportunity to dress up in my most elegant skirts and leotards.

I may not have grown up to be a ballet dancer (sorry, younger self!) but at least I take every opportunity to incorporate fancy skirts into my ensembles!

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trend no. 3 : vintage-y dresses (and pout-y faces).

Real talk: I would totally still wear that dress that my slightly grumpy Easter self has on in this photo. Well, maybe I’d cut that weird tiny bow off the collar, and then it’d be good to go! Even as a young adult, I really appreciate vintage-inspired prints and frocks with a baby-doll cut to them. I also still enjoy looking sleepy and annoyed while feasting on Smarties and SweeTarts and Easter basket treats: I mean, what do you think I spent last weekend doing?

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trend no. 4 : fairy-tale fashions.

This isn’t exactly a trend in contemporary fashion (nor was it back then, honestly), but dressing up in the most enchanting way possible remains a priority of all Keelys: past, present, and future.

How has your style evolved over the years? What looks from your childhood would you still rock today? (Do notice that I say childhood: no outfit from my teen years deserves to be remembered ever again…)

8 thoughts on “Evolution of a Vintage Girl | My Childhood Style

  1. I love how childhood styles inspired our current styles. I remember loving two very opposite styles as a kid: sportswear and princessy. I was half a tomboy and half a girly girl. It’s funny when I think about my today’s personnality.

    • I know! As someone who spent LOTS of time playing outside in the forest and climbing trees and generally running wild, I also had a great deal of sportier clothes…but today I try to find the happy medium between romantic, dreamy dresses and comfortable, practical exploration gear!

  2. Gotta love leggings – I think as a child I had to be persuaded to wear jeans. As I got older I just wore jeans all the time – then I hit college, got incredibly lazy, and moved onto tracksuit pants. I moved back to jeans when I had to do my work experience and now I’m back to leggings all the time because jeans are just such a hassle to wear! Funny how things circle like that 🙂

    • Leggings are THE BEST! I can’t really wear them at work either (though, just like your work experience, jeans are okay at my workplace, if they’re neat-looking!) so my weekends are just an endless 90s-style floral leggings party 😀

      • The freedom you feel when you take off your skinny jeans and put on a pair of leggings! Makes you wonder why skinny jeans exist.
        I don’t have any floral leggings at the moment but I do have a pair or purple space/galaxy themed leggings which are my favourite…along with my black leggings that have passages of Hamlet all over them, which I appropriately wore when I went to go see Hamlet in London last September 😀

  3. All of your childhood pics are so cute!
    I watched some of the oldest videos of my family. Like veeery old…I was probably 4 or 5 years old. And I noticed that I was in the same “princess/fairy-tale phase” hahah Tiaras were a necessary daily accessory. when I was 7-8, long skirts were in. It might have looked weird but, I guess, I just wanted to look like a grown up. I’d probably rock some outfits too but… Only if I could find them haha 🙂
    Great post, btw ❤

    • Thank you! I remember having a good collection of crowns myself too, haha! Sadly that’s one fashion accessory that really doesn’t translate well into adulthood, much though I’d just love to show up to work in a tiara someday 😀

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