The most incredible thing about current fashion sensibility is its free-spirited inclusion of trends from the past. At no other point in our history have we been able to mix-and-match fashion foundations and style blunders into outfits that work well.
Like the black P-coat, some fashion trends survive no matter in which era they are utilized. Others like horn-rimmed glasses…well, have their place. The great advantage to current style is that it is tailored to the person, not the market. We have so many choices. so much variety. so much freedom. Like the Spanish philosopher Santayana urged, “we have learned lessons from our history and now look good in them!”
Until WWII, fashion was determined by manufacturing processes and the underground. If you were rich, you wore a multi-piece suit or a gown. If you were poor, you wore black, brown, blue or grey. that’s it. After “the bomb”, style went on a pilgrimage of enlightenment and became fluid and fun. Here is an outline of styles from decades past that have defined our sense of “Yes, Absolutely and Right On Sweet Momma!”
THE 1950′s: James Dean and the Rite to Dance.
- Poodle skirts. Just enough leg, and bounces to a 7th Chord.
- The Mega Part (hair). Advertises a man’s jaw line and his Chevrolet’s grill.
- Plain White T-shirts. Even guys with small arms could get a date.
- Pinup Hair. If you looked like a poster girl you were good to go.
- White socks and patent leather. Looks great when twisting and shouting.
- Any hair or clothing with rhinestones. Very Milan.
THE 1960′s: Laugh-In and the British Invasion.
- Paisley. Break the door down and let in “wild and crazy”.
- Massive hair and the bowl cut. Cartoonish and LSD inspired.
- Black leather and sunglasses. Keen to be seen kitten.
- The Short Skirt. Female revolution, legs to your ears and whoa, Twiggy.
- Tight sweaters. James Bond couldn’t agree more.
- Silk scarf. Winter, summer, dress up, or get down.
THE 1970′s: Led Zepplin, BeeGees, and Hippies.
- Bell bottoms. Made everyone attractive and….tall.
- Large collars. Perfect for church, weddings, clubs, the beach…you name it.
- Mini dresses. With some tassle and glitter, you could rule the world.
- Platform shoes. Goes with that polyester body suit or the two piece.
- Headbands. Hippie, naturalist or New York jetsetter, headbands meant, “hey man”.
- The Yo-Yo and Fro. cool was key, let it all hang free.
THE 1980′s: Boy George and the Cold War.
- Colour, colour, colour. From hair to underwear, be bold.
- The Mowhawk. Punk or chic, the mowhawk defined youth and vitality.
- Pleats. Nothing like tapered slacks and front panels.
- The mullet. Oh yeh, business up front with a party down the back.
- Fishnets, ruffles and spandex. High school prom, MTV video or a block party.
- Tight denim and high tops. Looked good on everybody and wow, look at that acid wash.
THE 1990′s: Nirvana, Grunge and the Post Ironic.
- Plaid flannel. Perfect for those smokey underground skater joints.
- Tight black dress. Elizabeth Hurley or Monica Lewinski…you choose.
- Androgyny. Sinead O’Connor and The Smashing Pumpkins reached everybody.
- Hair with no style. Let it go, be free. The bowl’s the thing.
- Baggy pants. Raving and shoegazing were a Madchester must-have.
- Skorts. Short lived, but started an incredible schism for what is permissible.
THE 2000′s and Beyond:
Anything Goes if You Can Make It Work, but Who Cares Anyway, You Can’t See It Over a Text. lol.
- Straight hair. Can be striped, cropped, worn by anybody, just look like a celebrity.
- Accessorise. Adorn thyself Grasshopper, with piercings, bracelets, tats; whatever.
- A hand held device. Doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you are connected.
- A partner. Everyone looks better when accompanied by someone else…you choose.
- Bad facial hair. Does it say hot, lazy, privileged, hipster, preppy…who knows?
- Skinny jeans. Back to basics, the human body is the thing, not what’s on it.
It just might be the case that in fashion, there is truly nothing new under the sun. Pretty much anything goes unless you are physically uncomfortable. Style has turned a corner and learned from the mistakes of the past. Just make sure you can pull it off!
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