A Style Guide to Dressing Maximalist in Secondhand

Forget lockdown loungewear and neutral colour palettes, it’s time to make room for maximalism. 

What is Maximalism?


Maximalism has taken the online world by storm. As seen in interior design and fashion style, the trend visually defines: 'MORE IS MORE’. It champions extravagance, spectacle, playfulness & creativity. 

The origins of maximalist fashion style can be traced to Harajuku style found in the streets of Tokyo, in the 90s and 00s. Japanese Harajuku fashion in this period defied trends by mixing brands, deconstructing and reconstructing clothing, wearing unconventional items on the body, and embracing bold colours. This Japanese fashion style was one way for younger generations to depart from the order of the previous era and mark their individuality. Japanese street style magazines in the 90s like Fruits helped to disseminate the style globally.

Secondhand and vintage clothing was a big part of the Harajuku style as it became a way for young people to find pieces from the past and transform them into their individual style.

Maximalism is one for all ages too. From Gen Z’s love of Y2K, to millennial’s penchant for creative styling, to the older generation of amazing women like Iris Apfel, is more a mindset of anything goes and creative styling.

How to dress as a maximalist in vintage clothing?

Vintage clothing and maximalism is a match made in heaven. With all the choice of silhouettes from different style era’s, retro prints, and one-off vintage designer clothing, vintage clothing makes a perfect starting point for delving into maximalist fashion. (Plus allows for maximalism on a budget).

We asked Studio Manager of Rokit Originals, Nancy, who’s combined love of maximalism and vintage clothing brightens up the studio everyday, to show us her take on the style trend:

Prints Prints Prints

A white woman standing in between rails of clothes wearing a zebra print dress, zebra print heeled boots, Dalmatian gloves and a red feather bralette on top.

Shop Women's Vintage Dresses

A big part of Nancy’s maximalism is layering prints and patterns.

For her first outfit, she’s drawn to a beautiful oversized dress in zebra print from our vintage dresses section. The prints don’t stop there though. She pulls together zebra print boots, Dalmatian cloves, and leopard print scarf. To complete her full vintage outfit, she adds a red feather-bower vintage bralette. 

NANCY’S RULE: Animal prints are ALWAYS a neutral tone when layering. Just go for it.

Everything’s Gone Topsy Turvy

A white woman walking down the stairs wearing a white shirt and tie with a yellow tutu on top, a red green and yellow kilt and big black boots.

Shop Women's Vintage Skirts 

Maximalist style is about turning things on its head. Nancy’s second outfit combines textures that you might not think ‘works’ in one look. Includes leather boots, a wool skirt, mesh tutu, cotton shirt and a silk blend vintage tie. 

Just like Harajuku style, maximalist fashion is about deconstructing and reconstructing garments. Admittedly, we were sceptical when Nancy pulled out a yellow tutu from the Vintage Lingerie section to go with the vintage kilt. Forgetting all conventions and in true maximalist style, she makes the tutu a top.


NANCY’S RULE: Be subversive with clothes, just because it was meant to be a skirt doesn't mean it can't be worn as a top.

A Childhood Fantasy 

A white woman stepping out of a large washing machine wearing a pink taffeta dress, furry leopard print coat and hat, and large platform green boots.

At its core, maximalism is playful. Nancy chooses a pink taffeta vintage dress and combines it with a Rokit Original’s corset and her own massive platform heels. She finishes off the maximalist look with an oversized leopard print coat and hat, and the all-important tiara.

She picks out this with the exact same joy as you’d imagine a child has when sneaking into their mum’s wardrobe to play dress-up. 

NANCY’S RULE: Be playful! I was always told “life isn't a catwalk” ... but it bloody is if you want it to be.

Rules for Maximalism

As fast fashion grew to dominate, the love for clothing began to disappear. Rather than investing in life-long pieces, many opted (and still opt for) disposable trends. The maximalist trend renews this love through an injection of fun!

A hybrid of old and new exists in maximalism too. It enables an appreciation and cultivation of patterns, textures and silhouettes from previous and current style eras. And inspires wearer’s to believe that there are multiple ways of wearing an item of clothing - turn your skirt into a top, a scarf into a skirt, play with new shapes & sizes.

The only *real* rule of maximalism is to say no to convention and dress in the most self-affirming way you know how... which is made that much easier when shopping vintage clothing. 

Previous Post Next Post