Millennials and generation Z were raised on a lot of things: Kraft Dinner; Dunkaroos; the globalizing world. From a very young age, I remember learning to reduce, re-use, and recycle (in that order). I feel like that’s what sits at the base of the current resurgence of vintage and vintage-inspired looks—not just a sense of nostalgia for your parents’ old Fossil watches and bags, but a sincere effort to make old things cool again.
While I’m always a proponent of re-using what you already have, I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t exactly inherit a huge wardrobe from my parents. Like many other immigrant kids, I didn’t grow up knowing there’d be a great pari of old Levi’s in my mom’s closet that I could wear on ’80s night. I love vintage, but mine comes from secondhand shops and brand new box stores: I don’t exactly have any heirloom watches that were passed down to me from my grandparents.
(Hilariously, my family still has a big pile of dad jeans—but I think my mom’s were all worn out when she had my sister and I!)
Stealing your dad’s Fossil watch
Everyone has heard of mom jeans. You know the ones: stiff blue jeans with a high waist and an acid wash. They’re the jeans your mom wore from the 70s to the 90s, straight from college to kids. Mom jeans are roomy at the hips, slightly short in the leg, and (of course) torn to all get-out.
Mom jeans are going like hotcakes right now, but your throwback style doesn’t have to stop there. Vintage is in (again). Stealing little accents from your parents’ stashes speaks to a very modern kind of nostalgia—although, to be fair, people have been nostalgic for the “good old times” all the way back to the days of Homer and The Iliad.
But, I digress. More to the point, why just steal your mom’s jeans? You’re likely already wearing her old belt, and if you’re really lucky, your dad’s old Wayfarers, too. Adding in an old watch just ties everything together.
A classic, leather-band watch gives a vintage feel to any outfit. They’re really versatile, too; a stylish 20-something guy can pull off a men’s watch just as well as a 30-something woman in the workplace. Watches are even a great way to comport yourself in an androgynous way: I love the non-binary look of a crisp white dress shirt, black jeans, and an old men’s watch to pair with leather loafers. Look to wide-diameter watches like the Fossil Minimalist 44mm Casual Watch. It’s spot-on with a brown leather strap and dark grey watch face.
Vintage with a crisp update
I love a purely vintage look, but adding a few modernizing touches is a great way to update your accessories. One of the ways that Fossil is doing that this season is with these divine little pops of green.
Emerald green fell out of favour for a while from the ’90s to ’00s, but it’s come back in a big way. Just like how your grandparents’ fabulous green couch is now lighting up your living room (what? One can dream), a green watch gets noticed. Fossil does a stellar job of using surprising colours as accents, perhaps because they’re used in styles that are so simple and classic. Look to men’s watches like the Fossil Neutra Chrono 44mm for a shock of green in the watch band, or smaller styles like the Fossil Carlie Mini 28mm. The Carlie is an odd duck—it’s not simply smaller because it’s categorized as a women’s watch. Instead, it’s reduced even further to a delicate 28mm. Seeing as the brand’s typical women’s watch faces are 36mm, 28mm is a difference that’s noticeable with a mere glace.
Another way that heritage brands update their vintage-inspired looks is by pairing a throwback style with modern tech. The clean grey watch face of the Fossil Minimalist watch that we chatted about above is a great example of this. Paired with that croc-embossed band, the watch face itself distinguishes the piece as vintage-inspired rather than simply thrifted. (The strap is straight ‘80s-’90s!)
Grab a bag that’s straight out of Mindhunter
Like many other Canadians, I demolished season two of Mindhunter the week that it came out. It’s next to impossible to make plans when the weather keeps throwing you golf ball-sized hail anyways—or, at least, that’s how I justified my binge-watching to myself.
The Fossil Fiona Small Crossbody is something that I could have seen Holden’s season one girlfriend carrying. It’s whimsical: Fossil has made the Fiona for years (it’s super popular), but it’s their current print that sets this bag apart. It has that lovely ’80s curve going on, in slightly-desaturated tones that are just a little bit burnished. The geometric print seems like it’s straight out of Dr. Wendy Carr’s apartment, but the animal-friendly PVC makes it a total liberal arts major accessory.
Pair the ’80s-print Fiona with a pair of skinny jeans, or swap it in and out with its matching tote bag counterpart.
Pair your Fossil watch with a classic wallet
Fossil has a gorgeous selection of handbags—but it also has a lot of lovely small leather goods! Their wallets last for decades, which has always made the brand one of my favourites.
I recently purchased a new Fossil Logan RFID Bi-Fold Wallet, which I’m slowly breaking in. It holds a lot; possibly too much, but I’m quite happy to have space for my four different bubble tea stamp cards. (Thank goodness that CoCo uses a digital card. I’m honestly not sure that I can fit much more into my wallet!)
If you’re looking for something a little more dapper to pair with the rest of your vintage vibes, I’d totally recommend looking at the Fossil Rance. It’s an incredibly basic bi-fold wallet in a rather dashing dark grey. The Rance anticipates that people are going to carry it in their back pocket, and as a result, it keeps a slim profile: there’s only one bill compartment, and it lacks a change pocket altogether. The Fossil Beck is similar; both are super simple, with handy ID windows and six credit card slots apiece.
For a vintage aesthetic, however, the Beck really takes the cake. It comes in a beautiful cognac stain, with pebbling that will likely make your piece look like it’s already been broken in. (Both of these wallets are leather, however, so the staining and pebbling of each individual piece will be unique!) The stone-grey Rance is the Bill Tench of this season’s Fossil lineup, which makes the Beck the Holden Ford—stylish enough to land a great girl, but holding everything together with a rather slim centre clip.