A Material Presence: Fashion Trends Then and Now

For all intents and purposes, we wear clothing to cover up the bits we don’t want to be seen; we use it to keep warm in the winter; we use them to keep our feet cool in the summer or shade our faces when we’re out in the sun. It can keep our hands, feet and necks warm. All in all, there is a lot on our bodies that we need to cover (or add least pretend we’re covering). And it is through this necessity. But surely, if you’re going to be wearing something on your very person, you will wear something that suites your shape, or matches your eyes, or has a pretty pattern or cool picture.

Anyone in the fashion industry will tell you that many of the things we like will always find themselves reappearing or rotating within the fashionable circle with some mild alteration and additive. A true fact about fashion and the clothing that we wear is that it is constantly drawing from old inspiration and using timeless styles to reinvent the way in which women look. And so, here are a few of the trends that have come to repeat themselves in our life time.

The Highwaisted Shorts:

10 years ago we all saw how high women were wearing their shorts/pants and you wouldn’t have dreamed of ever conforming to such crotch-splitting attire; however, when the fashion gurus decide to weave their magic, there really is nothing they can’t do. They recreated the look (with a few design modifications) and paired the shorts with the perfect accessories to take you from the pre-pubescent Madonna look to a sleek and stylish fashion diva – in high-waisted pants.

The Floral Dress:

The floral pattern has been around for as long as there have been old women whose homes needed decorating. The pattern has always been delicate and feminine and therefore is perfect for the female race… but there were negative connotations (old granny, cat lady connotations). And so, again there was a fashionable twist; the flowers on the pattern itself became smaller, or larger, the colours either muted or even brighter… therefore changing the specifics of the design, but still sticking to the gist of it. And, granny pattern it was no more; instead it was a cutesy way for women to express their femininity.

And that is how it all begins; something that was worn then for practicality has been brought back, modified, upgraded, stylized  and worn now for accessory (and practicality sometimes, too). The only real lesson that we can take from this is to hold onto those outfits we thought were done, because there’s no way in hell you will be caught wearing it now (think highwaist), and then you browse through those old photos and you begin to think that perhaps it was not so bad… so keep your wardrobe rotating, keep your eyes open and your fashion sense about you because you never know what clothing era might return.

Amy Foure is the assistant fashion editor for an online magazine. She specializes in teen fashion and Sweet 16 party attire. Don’t forget your Sweet 16 party favors for that special party!

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