Fashion Statement Changes over the Years
After reading the first Part History Matters & so do your clothes -100 YEARS OF FASHION, let’s continue with the second Part “Fashion Through The Decades”.
A very Brief History
1970s: The “Me” Decade
Having been introduced in the previous decade, unisex clothing became the norm by the early 1970s. With women entering the workforce more than ever before, pantsuits and daywear with a masculine edge were popularized among youth. Women also wore skirts in a variety of lengths, often opting for tight-fitting mini skirts for everyday wear. Popularised in the late 1960s, hot pants, tight-fitting shorts with an inseam length of 2-3 inches, became a fashion go-to for young women during the first half of the 1970s.
With disco culture at its peak, the footwear began to match the excessiveness that accompanied the outfits associated with the dancing phenomenon. Heels began to get higher, and platforms began to follow.
1980s: The Age of Creativity
Fashion in the early 1980s was similar to that of the 1970s. But by 1984, pop stars such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper brought a new sense of style to the decade, one that focused on pushing boundaries with creative patterns, funky color combinations, and unique styles. Women began sporting skin-tight cotton leggings, pairing them with chunky sweaters and oversized, off-the-shoulder tops. In addition, young women also wore loose-fitting parachute pants topped with figure hugging crop tops that stopped just above the belly button. Layered clothing also gained popularity. For example, mini skirts, made of either denim or spandex, were often paired with leggings or legwarmers. Accessories were a huge staple during this period, particularly for teenagers and young adults. Women often wore brightly-colored glasses, several chunky bangles, and giant hoop earrings for casual wear. Hair was often permed to achieve high volume and makeup featured bold eyeshadow, heavy foundation, and bright lipstick.
By the 1980s, the idea of women in the workplace had become the norm; however, women still felt the urge to establish equality in the professional world, using fashion as their weapon of choice. Power dressing called for pairing tailored blazers complete with shoulder pads and fitted knee-length skirt.
By the late 1980s, Nike had skyrocketed to worldwide success thanks to the popularity of athletic wear among men.
1990s: The Decade of Anti-Fashion
When compared to the flashy style of the 80s, fashion in the 90s took a much more minimalist approach. Adults of the early 1990s wore relaxed fit jeans with plain T-shirts and knit sweaters while teenage and pre-teen girls often opted for brightly-colored neon clothing: hot pinks, greens, blues, oranges, and yellows. Thanks to shows including Baywatch, the high-hip V-shaped swimsuit became an everlasting trend in the world of swimwear.
By 1992, these fluorescent colors were replaced by softer shades: coral, turquoise, lilac, and more. With the rise of popstar MC Hammer came the beginning of the parachute pants, relaxed-fit pants made of cotton complete with tapered legs and a drawstring waist.
Grunge music reached unprecedented popularity among the youth, bringing with it a new fashion trend that would define the decade. Punk and alternative styles became a part of mainstream fashion in 1996, bringing with it short, spiky hair, black clothing, and skater shoes. For young women, the late 90s fashion was defined by the spaghetti strap tank top and the skort (half skirt, half shorts). Capri pants, a tapered pant that ends at mid-calf, and low-rise jeans were also popular. Crop tops from the 80s continued to be worn by most young women along with tapered, high-waisted pants. Based on the hairstyle of Jennifer Aniston in the popular 90s TV show Friends, the “Rachel” haircut became popular among young women during the latter half of the decade.
2000s: The “Mash-up” Decade
Following the 1990s, fashion in the 2000s moved away from the minimalist approach, incorporating the fusion of trends from several different styles. By the early 2000s, designers began incorporating more color and pattern into their clothing, using inspiration from vintage clothing of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Women’s fashion took a more feminine turn as women began wearing denim miniskirts and jackets, halter tops, belly shirts, low-rise jeans, and capri pants. During the mid 2000s, the tunic dress gained popularity among young women and teenagers, often paired with a thin belt at the waist. By 2007, ballet flats had become a staple in women’s fashion, along with sweater dresses and long button-down shirts.
If Cher Horowitz taught us anything in Clueless, it’s that plaid sets can look incredibly chic. After the iconic movie premiered in 1995, it was clear that the all-plaid trend in the form of a matching blazer-and-skirt combo was here to stay. The look was nonetheless inspired by the likes of high fashion designers including Vivienne Westwood, who debuted a plaid skirt on the runway just a year before for her Fall/Winter 1994 collection, worn by none other than ’90s supermodel Kate Moss herself.
2010s: Every Body Is a Fashion Body
When it comes to fashion trends that shaped the 2010s, dad jeans, sneakers and logo-laden everything strike multiple chords.High-waisted bottoms, such as pants, shorts, skirts, and bathing suits also became the standard for women’s fashion in the 2010s, as opposed to the low rise trend that was popular throughout the 2000s.
Ten years ago, see now, buy now was the phrase that would “save” retail from the increasing gap between Internet interest and boutique availability. Instead of waiting six months for a runway collection to hit shelves—or worse, getting impatient and buying the fast fashion equivalent a month later—consumers would ostensibly be thrilled to pay full price for instant gratification.
The thing is, they weren’t, because runway shows aren’t about selling looks; they’re about creating an iconic cultural moment. Now, designer clothes get delivered to stores in small micro-shipments so luxury boutiques can refresh the sales floor every few weeks, just like H&M and Zara. As for runway-to-real-life FOMO, it’s still a thing, but now that YouTube hauls show people’s constant closet refreshes, having an under-the-radar outfit you didn’t see on the runway is often more of a flex.
2020’s: International Year of Plant Health
While 2019 was dubbed the ‘Year of Sustainability’, four months into the new decade and the impact of COVID-19 will define 2020. This doesn’t mean retailers need to shelve their sustainability commitments. In fact, it’s a time for the fashion industry to reflect on their processes, as well as the toll it takes on people and the planet.
The long parade of more than 100 fashion shows during the spring 2020 season, of business is discerning the most impactful trends of the season—from artisanal crochet and graphic polka dots to a look at decades past via disco collars and ’60s wallpaper prints, couture feathers, hot pants, bold neons, and many more.
Life as we know it has come to a grinding halt since the coronavirus pandemic has left countries struggling to respond to the rapidly spreading virus.