Article: Sustainable Carnaval Outfits: The Vintage Clothes Behind the Costumes
Sustainable Carnaval Outfits: The Vintage Clothes Behind the Costumes
Carnaval outfits are just the thing we need to drag us out of this grey, winter stupor and head into a bright and colorful spring. It’s the first event of the year that really gives you the excuse to dress up and go all out instead of sitting at home waiting for the cold to pass.
And, of course, you need an outfit for Carnaval if you want to be part of the scene!
Carnaval: Fast-Fashion Waste?
But the thing about Carnaval outfits is …well, you’ve probably seen it when you’ve been looking for an outfit. Thin polyester stuff that’s designed to last a wear or two, then be thrown in the trash.
It’s more plastic for the landfill that can't be recycled and won't decompose. Just for a few nights of fun.
And maybe you feel like you have to buy those to be part of the fun and part of the group.
Or maybe you've seen the Carnaval costumes in stores and wish you could wear a real version of that style every day?
So, what if there was an alternative to those wasteful, planet-harming costumes?
The real vintage outfits that inspired Carnaval costumes
Most of the Carnaval costumes are inspired by stereotypes. And those fashion stereotypes, well, they came from somewhere: Hippy, Disco, Gabber, Flapper, Cowboy; these are styles taken from iconic fashion moments in history.
Whether you want to choose a sustainable Carnaval outfit or are just curious about where these costumes came from, let's explore the real clothes that were so influential they've become immortalized as costumes of themselves.
1. Hippy Carnaval Outfits
The hippy-inspired costumes are some of the most popular. They just scream retro nostalgia from a time of freedom and happiness that we all long for.These Carnaval costumes are influenced by two decades of fashion: the 60s and 70s.
Psychedelic Hippy Dresses
In the 60s and 70s, people were all about those wild, trippy clothes. Crazy patterns and colors that looked like they came straight out of a mind-bending acid trip (at the time, they probably did).
From psychedelic swirls to groovy tie-dye and paisley prints, it was all about expressing yourself and breaking free from the norm of early 60s prim and proper styles.
Wear them with knee-high boots, vibrant eyeshadow and bold eyeliner.
True 60s and 70s dresses in the flower, swirl, circle and abstract prints of the era.
70s Bohemian Hippy Outfits
The 70s bohemian movement was all about peace, environmental consciousness, and freedom. Hippies dress to embrace nature and spread positivity. In maxi dresses and skirts, with flares, ruffles and busy prints.
The flower power hippy would be dancing through a field in flowing long dresses with flowers in their hair and bare feet.
- True 70s maxi dresses paired with retro gilets from later decades to complete the perfect boho hippy vibe.
70s Disco Fever Outfits
Disco music took the 70s by storm and brought a flamboyant level of glam to the dancefloor.
All about embracing freedom and sexuality, disco outfits featured mini skirts or hot pants with halter neck tops or low-cut shirts. Dresses were often see-through, and shoes were platform Go-Go boots for dancing.
- A true 70s white mini skirt paired with a retro halter top from a later decade make the perfect disco fever 'fit.
- This 70s mini dress is transparent like many of the risqué disco clothes of the decade.
2. 80s Carnaval Outfits
If one decade does Carnaval outfit inspiration well, it’s the 80s; the decade of big glam where everything was outrageously bold. From 80s workout gear to glam rock jumpsuits and disco dresses, the 80s never lets a party down.
80s Glam Rock Outfits
The ultimate in OTT 80s, a jumpsuit in bold colors embellished with rhinestones and topped off with shoulder pads. This is the basis for any great 80s costume, from punk to glam rock.
Glam rock fashion of the 80s was characterized by a mix of gender-neutral styles. Tight pants and bold makeup for everyone. The hairstyles were big. from perms to teased mullets and mohawks.
Top off your 80s jumpsuit with some studded accessories and plenty of glitter, and tie a scarf around your mullet for the perfect glam rock look.
- This red number screams Michael Jackson and you could rock your best Prince costume in that purple (rain) suit.
80s Disco Dress Outfits
You can't have an ironic disco costume without an 80s prom dress. BIG shoulders and bold colors with puff sleeves, satin, velvet, and ruffles. Inspired by the 80s love of all things glam and the avant-garde designs of high fashion in that era.
These prom dresses were made to stand out so much that we still immediately think of neon ruffled skirts when we think of 80s party outfits.
80s Workout Outfits
3. Cowboy Carnaval Outfits
When it comes to the cowboy outfits, ditch the Native American costumes and go for classic Americana.
The cowboy costume stereotype comes from the American Wild West horse wranglers in the 18th century. This style has stuck around every decade since, helped by the popularity of cowboy films in the 60s (remember those old Spaghetti Western movies they replay on daytime TV?). Hollywood cowboy actors like John Wayne became style icons, giving us the Americana fashion aesthetic.
From suede and leather to denim, the key features of any Western outfit are fringing, ruffles, and equestrian motifs. Of course, you have to top it off with a cowboy hat. And maybe a lasso.
- A true 70s gingham dress paired with a vintage suede fringe jacket.
- A cowgirl look made from retro clothes from the 70s-00s.
- A vintage 70s prairie dress paired with a suede fringe waistcoat.
4. 90s Tracksuit Carnaval Outfits
The neon tracksuit outfit in Carnaval costumes is inspired by the Gabber subculture.
Hardcore dance music from the 90s Dutch underground music scene was played at warehouse parties, clubs, and raves where Gabbers would dance with rapid footwork and hand movements to fast-paced techno beats.
Gabber Tracksuit Outfits
Like any subculture, it developed a distinct fashion; oversized tracksuits, Nike Air Max sneakers, and shaved heads were all about that working-class, anti-establishment vibe.
- Baggy neon-colored tracksuits and abstract prints with cuffed ankles, wrists, and waists. The perfect comfy outfit for dancing all day and night without a care.
Where can you buy sustainable and secondhand Carnaval outfits?
If you’re looking for a last-minute but sustainable Carnaval outfit
Aren't vintage clothes more expensive?
No! Not really!
A "cheap" costume from a party store can set you back €20-60 for something you'll wear a few times. And it's likely too thin, flimsy, and see-through to feel like a real outfit and survive those few days before falling apart.
Cheap Carnaval Outfits
So instead of going for a throwaway chap outfit, what about going for the real deal? The vintage clothes that inspired the outfits, in the original vintage quality and styles.
These are clothes you can wear for life, for the same price point as the thin, low-quality costumes.
And they're not just for costumes; many of these pieces are styles that never go out of fashion. From mini skirts and flares to boho and Americana, they're trends that hold up outside of the costume.
Making your own Carnaval Costume
Build on these outfits to turn them from clothes to costumes. It's all in the hair, makeup, and accessories. Go crazy with those!
- A 70s blowout and gold hoop earrings and white boots can make your mini skirt change from day wear to disco fever.
- A rope and a cowboy hat can turn your fringe jacket and denim from casual to cowboy.
- Bright blue eyeshadow and tightly curled hair can make your sequined dress turn from party to 80s.