Actresses like Kiera Knightly and Jessica Chastain wear high-collared beaded gowns that are a modern take on fashion from the early 1900s, Kelly Brooks wears high-waisted capris tucked-in flowy top – an outfit almost identical to something my mother wore in the 70s.
I have always been interested in fashion and what it says about society. For example, in the 90s, fashion was extremely avant-garde and grunge. It was essentially all about rejecting the past’s fashion. Runway models sported baggy, crazy colors, and overalls. My clothing was along those lines, too (I have a pair of bright orange pants as my proof!).
However, now fashion has taken history’s fashion and embraced it. Suddenly it is cool to dress like a 50s housewife in poofy dresses (I own a few myself) or shop for long-chain chunky jewelry that I am positive my mom has packed away somewhere.
The question is not how many antique- looking owl necklaces one can find at a store, rather it is why is fashion embracing past decades like the Edwardian era, the 50s, and the 70s, and what does it say about society today?
First, I think it is clear fashion is back-lashing and so are people. Dressing like you are from the Edwardian era – modestly – is a cry for more modesty in society. The high collars, the long sleeve tunics, and the same goes for the 50s. Wearing poofy dresses and buying “vintage” aprons represents a desire to go back to a time that we today see as full of family values. This wish to have a “Pleasantville life,” even if it is not attainable, is understandable given the divorce rate climbing in America.
Dressing in high-waist shorts from the 70s is an illustration of wanting to dress like our mothers did when they were young. It is a connection we can make to their youth and the “simpler, carefree” times they describe to us while we face crisis in our time.
Fashion, in sum, has taken a conservative turn amidst the economic and social crisis in America, and that style would not prevail unless society let it prevail. Perhaps fashion then is a crystal ball for the hearts and minds of people.
I suppose we will have to wait and see on that idea. For now, I am off to surf the internet for a fashionable plaid skirt (actually, maybe I will check my mom’s closet first).