Retro Rewind: The Vintage Trend Everyone Will Wear This Summer


(Image credit: @mfass@rjswimnyc)

Sure, it's 2021, but with all the retro trends making their way back into the fashion spotlight, the line between vintage and new is definitely getting blurred. After several seasons where neutrals and minimalism were the reigning aesthetics and a year of mostly being stuck at home, we’re craving the bright colors, vibrant prints, and more-is-more mentality of the ’60s and ’70s to feel a bit brighter and more hopeful just in time for summer.

In fact, all things retro have had a big influence on fashion and home décor trends this season. Just like with any good throwback trend, it's important to know the historic moment it references, which is why I’m turning your attention to one theme in fashion that I think will have a big impact this summer and will be the blueprint for everyone's Pinterest mood boards: Emilio Pucci’s iconic prints. The Italian designer, nicknamed the "prince of prints,” first became known for his kaleidoscopic patterns in the ’60s, and his namesake brand has continued to produce luxurious resort wear and swimwear that makes us want to book a Mediterannean getaway stat.

While plenty of funky prints have been bubbling up lately, I’m particularly excited about the revival of these Pucci (and Pucci-inspired) pieces because they feel relevant right now while also being worthy of a long-term wardrobe investment. Since shopping is simply what we do here at Who What Wear, I sourced original vintage pieces that the trend references along with plenty of contemporary options to prove that there’s something to suit a variety of styles and budgets. Continue on to see the evidence of the trend that I’ve charted from the ’60s to today, and see how fashion girls are styling the playful, beachy looks.


(Image credit: Rolls Press/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Here, a look from Emilio Pucci's S/S 65 collection that features a printed bikini and matching sarong and feels surprisingly aligned with what designers have on offer in 2021.


(Image credit: @dananozime)

Cult Gaia's stunning prints are easily some of our favorite contemporary designs.


(Image credit: @cincinswim)

My summer 2021 vibe in a nutshell? You're looking at it. Personally, I think these prints get to live their best lives in a coordinated-swimsuit moment, and indie label Cin Cin Swim is serving up just that.


(Image credit: @yasmindevonport_)

I've said it once, and I'll say it again, there's nothing fresher than a coordinated look in one of these retro prints.


(Image credit: @noore)

While swimwear definitely dominates this trend, look for printed separates you can easily style with any of your basics.


(Image credit: @mfass)

On a boat in the Mediterranean is exactly the vibe this trend captures. (Actual proximity to the sea or a boat or Europe is optional.)


(Image credit: @frankiesbikinis)

If you're after a retro-printed bikini this summer, look no further than Frankies Bikinis, one brand that's been serving up all the psychedelic styles lately.


(Image credit: @emilisindlev)

Fashion girls are all about styling these futuristic prints in one bold, maximalist ensemble.


(Image credit: @rjswimnyc)

All hail the three-piece swimsuit set!


(Image credit: @noamielizee)

Play around with print-clashing for a fun, summer-ready vibe.


(Image credit: @himichelleli)

Or style a single hero piece to spice up your plain basics.

Up next: Spring But Make It Sustainable: Your Ultimate Earth-Friendly Shopping Guide

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.