40 Ways To Have a Very Vintage Summer

Marsha Takeda-Morrison | Jun 11, 2019 Shop
40 Ways To Have a Very Vintage Summer
Image: Etsy/Cost Plus World Market

Etsy/Cost Plus World Market

Everything old is new again. At least it seems that way, judging by all of the vintage and retro designs that appear to be everywhere this summer. From home decor to clothing to housewares and party supplies, it seems the new “in” thing is to be, well, old.

But vintage isn’t just about setting grandma’s old plates out on the table. (Not that we’re dissing anyone’s grandma.) It’s about finding the unique items that -- while they might be from years past -- still reflect one’s current personal style and personality.

And vintage isn’t just limited to a specific era, either. There’s '50s-influenced fashion, decor that looks lifted right out of the '40s, and home furnishings and accessories with a '60s vibe. Remember that to the younger generations, even something from the '70s is considered “vintage.” Ah, millennials.

Take a look at the vintage and vintage-inspired finds we’ve collected to give a house, a gathering or even oneself a fun retro vibe this summer. In everything from artwork to kitchen finds to swimsuits -- there’s a lot of ways to cleverly make old look new.

So slip into retro swimsuit, pour a martini from a '40s cocktail set, put the Jello-O salad into the refrigerator, and maybe even set out grandma’s plates. It’s going to be a very vintage summer!

Psst: If purchasing an item on this list, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.

  • Kid's Balance Bike


    The kids will want to get in on the vintage theme, too, so let them cruise on this classic-style push-bike. We love the sweet additions like the bell and vintage wicker basket.

    Kid's Balance Bike ($189, UncommonGoods)

  • Personalized Mixtape Pillow


    Remember cassettes? Remember anything besides streaming music? If so, this mixtape pillow would make the perfect prop for the summer barbecue. It can even be personalized with two names, to dedicate that ABBA mix to someone special.

    Personalized Mixtape Pillow ($58, UncommonGoods)

  • Flask Book Box


    For the ultimate hipster poser at the party who looks like he's catching up on his summer reading with a dog-eared, antique Hemingway when he's really just staring at a flask of Jack Daniels. Might be a good way to have a cocktail at the library, too.

    Flask Book Box ($56, UncommonGoods)

  • Camper Bird House


    Build this vintage camper bird house for all of the feathered creatures out there, or just make it and hang it in the house because it’s that dang cute. It comes with everything needed to build the camper, and also details like flowers for the window boxes, curtains, a spare tire, welcome mat, flamingos, and even a classic charcoal grill. We can’t handle it! 

    Camper Bird House ($31, 1Man1Garage/Etsy)

  • Advertisement on Wrapped Canvas


    Everyone loves a Coke on a hot summer day, even if it’s just printed on canvas. Guaranteed to inspire anyone to put together an odd picnic spread of doughnuts, white bread sandwiches, and fried chicken drumsticks.

    Advertisement on Wrapped Canvas ($50, Wayfair)

  • Outdoor Throw Pillow 


    This illustrated, game-themed throw pillow will accent any party, patio, or  picnic this summer. Even after the season’s over, use it to perk up the den or kids’ room. 

    Games by Jane Smith Outdoor Throw Pillow ($60, Wayfair)

  • 70s Portable Cocktail Bar 


    We like to imagine that this vintage travel bar from the '70s belonged to a secret agent, a foreign spy, or maybe a bartender on the run from the KGB. It probably just belonged to someone’s dad in Idaho but we still love it.

    70s Portable Cocktail Bar ($69, ShastaBrookVintage/Etsy)

  • Truck Area Rug


    Give an entryway or family room a pop of color with this striking vintage truck rug. When the summer months are gone, drag it into the kid’s room for some play inspiration.

    Truck Area Rug ($100, Kirkland’s)

  • Vinyl Bluetooth Speaker


    Don’t forget to bring the music to the barbecue! Those Journey tunes will sound even better on this Bluetooth speaker that’s made out of wood and reclaimed vinyl. The store even has several music genres to choose from for each custom speaker.

    Vinyl Bluetooth Speaker (from $225, UncommonGoods)

  • Corona Picnic Cooler

    Corona Picnic Cooler

    Keep those brews cold in this cooler with a retro vibe. It holds 18 cans or 12 bottles, enough to supply a few friends with a couple of cold ones, or just one friend who likes to drink a lot. 

    Corona Picnic Cooler ($99, Wayfair)

  • Eggs Metal Plaque 


    This vintage plaque will give any room a rustic, farmhouse feel. Plus, it’ll have everyone craving that summer picnic favorite -- deviled eggs. Or as the Duggars inexplicably renamed them, “yellow pocket angel eggs.”

    Farm Fresh Eggs Metal Plaque ($45, Kirkland’s)

  • '40s Picnic Set


    What’s cooler than a retro picnic set? A retro picnic set that’s set in a vintage case, that’s what. This one is made by Brexton England and has a service for two and comes with a cool plaid thermos to hold that hipster coffee.

    40s Brexton Flora Picnic Set ($59, MrGLovesMissB/Etsy)

  • Plastic Divided Picnic Plates


    These divided plates are perfect for anyone at the retro picnic who can’t have their tuna casserole touching their Jell-O salad. It has a spot to hold that cup of Sanka, too.

    Plastic Divided Picnic Plates, Set of 5 ($20, Restique/Etsy) 

  • One-Piece Swimsuit


    For a perfect way to kick off summer, slip into this gorgeous red and white checked one-piece. It’s reminiscent of a summer picnic tablecloth, but way more stylish and with no ketchup stains.

    Bathing Beauty One-Piece Swimsuit ($89, ModCloth)

  • Metal Craft Beer Bar Marquee


    Make any outdoor party official with this retro metal beer marquee. It comes with LED lights and is easy to mount, so the bar can open for business immediately.

    LED Metal Craft Beer Bar Marquee ($70, Kirkland’s)

  • Plastic RV Picnic Set


    Nothing says vintage like shag-carpet orange! Make any outing feel like a trip in a vintage RV with this picnic set that all folds into a cool dome-shaped carrier. 

    Retro Plastic RV Picnic Set ($28, MarymereVintage/Etsy)

  • Wood Connect 4 Game


    Connect 4 was invented in the '70s, but give a new spin to the game by making it feel like an activity they might have played on a wagon train. Complete the theme by handing out dried meat as prizes.

    Wood Connect 4 Game ($50, Kirkland’s)

  • Children's Bike Helmet 


    Don’t let them spoil the look with random accessories. This adorable helmet is not only vintage inspired, it’s collapsible to make it easy to carry in that vintage backpack we’re sure exists somewhere.

    Collapsible Children's Bike Helmet ($120, UncommonGoods)

  •  Checkered Swing Dress


    Prepare to stand out at any gathering this summer in this chic swing dress that's ready for the sock hop. In addition to the classic shape and neckline, the collar and button detail make it look straight out of the '50s.  

    1950s Checkered Swing Dress (from $35, Amazon)

  • Coffee Ad Kitchen Towel 


    Give the kitchen a vintage makeover starting with this colorful kitchen towel. Featuring classic coffee ad art, it’s going to make “We aim to please,” and “Quality meat” everyone’s favorite buzzwords.

    Coffee Ad Kitchen Towel ($8, Cost Plus World Market)

  • Wood & Glass Pie Sign


    Advertise those fresh baked pies that are served daily with this distressed wood sign. In the absence of fresh baked pies that are served daily, it’ll be a lie but a cool sign nonetheless.

    Wood and Glass Pie Sign ($15, Cost Plus World Market)

  • Egg Beater Canvas Art Print


    Hang this beautiful canvas print and then quiz the youngsters on what this strange contraption is. First one who guesses correctly gets a dozen eggs and a bowl.

    Kitchen Egg Beater Canvas Art Print ($50, Kirkland’s)

  • Underwire Bikini 


    It’s possible to be vintage and modern at the same time. This stunning two-piece has a retro vibe with its classic cut and bow details, but the bold stripes make it feel current, too. 

    GabiFresh Underwire Bikini ($68, Swimsuits For All)

  • Round Beach Towel


    We’re not sure which genius invented the round beach towel, but that person deserves a big “thanks” from evenly tanned people everywhere. This one is decorated with gourds, which makes it especially delightful. 

    Round Beach Towel With Vintage Print ($30, Amazon)

  •  LED String Lights


    It’s summer, so it’s about time to take down those Christmas lights. Replace them with these old-fashioned but newfangled LED lights that are brilliantly solar-powered and need no batteries or cords.

    Edison Style Solar LED String Lights ($50, Cost Plus World Market)

  • Galvanized Trough Planters


    This summer, fill these vintage metal planters with fruits at the picnic, drinks at the party, or condiments at the barbecue. Then bring them in and use for actual plants the rest of the year. So versatile!

    Galvanized Trough Planters, Set of 2 ($68, Kirkland’s)

  • Video Games Collection Puzzle


    Nothing makes the memories come flooding back like the sight of an old Atari! Satisfy that thirst for classic video games with this 1,000-piece puzzle that’s made out of recycled chipboard. 

    Video Games Collection Puzzle ($18, UncommonGoods)

  • Woven Picnic Blanket


    They don’t make ‘em like they used to. This vintage woven picnic blanket will actually protect legs and bottoms from spiky grass and hot sand -- not like that flimsy tarp from the dollar store. Isn’t that delicate skin worth it?

    1950s Vintage Gingham Woven Picnic Blanket ($40, girlontherunvtg/Etsy)

  • Handmade Embroidered Aprons


    This set of 14 adorable handmade aprons is (almost) at prices from 60 years ago. Perfect for a girls night when pretending to be housewives from the '60s, or better yet make the men put them on and then tell them to get in the kitchen and make everyone sandwiches.

    Handmade Embroidered Aprons, Set of 14  ($75, UncleJohnsBand/Etsy)

  • Metal Rolling Hamper


    Sure it’s really for dirty clothes, but this rolling hamper would be great out on the patio holding pool towels or as a receptacle for backyard summer games. Come fall, wash the liner and roll it right back into the bathroom.

    Metal Rolling Hamper ($100, Cost Plus World Market)

  • Rattan Handbag


    This charming rattan handbag would be the ideal small lunch basket or just as an accessory to that vintage summer outfit. 

    Natural Hand-Woven Rectangular Wicker Handbag Basket Purse ($36, Amazon)

  • Flatware Set


    While going vintage this summer, don’t forget to go green, too. Buying re-usable flatware instead of using disposable is good for the environment and looks beautiful on the table. This set has a service for four and each piece has a different design. Sweet!

    Flatware Set, Service for 4 ($30, Amazon)

  • Paper Napkins, Placemats & Coasters


    It’s almost too beautiful to use! A vintage set of paper napkins, placemats and coasters from the '60s, printed with a picnic theme, might just be on display instead of on the table. Everyone can just wipe their mouths on their sleeves like nature intended. 

    Paper Napkins, Placemats & Coasters ($32, MidcenturyHabitat/Etsy)

  •  3-Speed Linen Turntable


    We can’t love this classic turntable in a linen case any more than we do. It not only looks good and spins records, but also features a Bluetooth input, cassette deck, CD player, and radio. Warning: To avoid ridicule, don’t play this in a coffeehouse with headphones. 

    Nomad Portable 3-Speed Linen Turntable ($240, Kirkland’s)

  • Party Invitations


    These vintage party invitations are the real deal. In their original packaging and unopened, the set of three features cards with midcentury designs and envelops. Imagine the shock when guests receive an actual invitation in the mail!

    Party Invitations, Set of 3 ($10, SentimentalFavorites/Etsy)

  • Cardboard Instant Camera


    Capture all of those summer moments with this incredible instant camera made entirely from recycled paper and cardboard. Aim, shoot, and turn the crank to produce photos in minutes. This amazing device uses Instax mini film cartridges (sold separately).

    Retro Cardboard Instant Camera ($70, UncommonGoods)

  • Cowboy Shot Glass & Cocktail Glasses


    These retro glasses and shot glass are printed with a whimsical cowboy motif. Ideal for serving cocktails at western barbecues, cowboy parties, or for just drinking alone and watching True Grit.

    60s Cowboy Shot Glass and Cocktail Glasses ($70, RetroVibeAZ/Etsy)

  • Wood Calendar


    Sure it might give some of us bad memories of that old-fashioned scale at the pediatrician’s office, but it also makes a clever calendar. In fact, just the thing for remembering all of those doctor’s appointments.

    White Sliding Wood Calendar ($45, Kirkland’s)

  •  Air Circulator Fan


    Vornado makes the best fans IMO, and this vintage-styled model adds a lot of style to the reliable function. Even though some people think global warming is made-up voodoo, the rest of us know that we’re going to be needing more fans in our future.

    Vornado Air Circulator Fan ($100, Amazon)

  • One-Piece Swimsuit


    So much cuteness and style in this vintage-inspired one-piece suit. The flap, button, and belt details make it so swoon-worthy, and green is definitely one of the go-to colors of summer. 

    The Susan One-Piece Swimsuit ($89, ModCloth)

  • Pin It! 

    40 Ways to Have a Very Vintage Summer

    Add this graphic to your Pinterest board if you consider yourself a vintage person and would love to have a vintage look&feel this Summer 

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