Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Top trends.

Yes, I used the word trend. With only a little irony. Okay, maybe a lot. I was cruising this website today (yeah, I read fashion stuff), and saw the "Top Trends" list at the bottom. It's a good thing I wasn't drinking anything or I'd have snarfed tea out my nose. So let's run down the list of the top trends, shall we? (Just for the record, I've got nothing against... most... of these trends, I just resent them being pushed on us as new ideas by fashion designers desperate to sell me new clothes.)

1. Tulle. As with a lot of fabrics, tulle takes its name from where it was first made, in this case the city of Tulle. In 1700. (This is the mesh stuff that they made our prom dress "crinolines" out of in the eighties.) So, yeah, the big trend in fashion this year has been around 300 years. Sure, we can always find new stuff to do with it, but this is why I have a really hard time taking fashion seriously. Anyway, it got to be associated with weddings and fancy dress mostly after Queen Victoria wore a gown with a lot of tulle on it when she got married. Tulle has also been used as a base for embroidery and bead work, and with addition of the fancy stuff, can look pretty cool.

2. Neon. (Or more properly, fluorescent, unless they're making neon lights to wear, which I won't entirely rule out.) All right, this makes me cringe. I wore neon stuff in middle school, in the early eighties. I think that was the first round of neon clothing, due to changes in dye technology that made it possible. Neon dyes were of course possible before the eighties, but not at affordable mass-market prices. (I covered how fluorescent dye and paint works in my orange color post.)

3. Platform shoes. Well, it's hard to get a proper definition of exactly what we're talking about, but shoes with really thick soles go back pretty much into prehistory, all around the world. They were worn in early cities the world over (from China to Europe, probably India, possibly the New World and parts of Africa) to keep people's feet out of the muck in the roads from lots of horses and poor sanitation. Ancient Greeks and other theater types wore them for extra height on stage. Several kings of France pranced around in them. Naomi Campbell fell while wearing them on the runway. If I hadn't tossed a bunch of clothes on this last move, I'd have some from the last time they were popular in the nineties. Really, I don't think these ever fully go out of style, particularly now with new, better materials to make shoes with.

4. Plaid. Plaid goes back to the bronze age at least, and Vivienne Westwood made it popular for 'high fashion' back in the early eighties, late seventies. I wore a shitload of plaid in the eighties. Should have saved it, apparently.

5. Boyfriend jeans. Jeans go back at least to the 1850s. They didn't become outerwear/streetwear/daywear until the 1950s, when teenagers started wearing them to school. I believe at the time there were no women's jeans made, so that means at first all girls were wearing guy jeans. In Europe at least, women started wearing masculine-styled clothing hundreds of years ago, although women didn't start wearing trousers regularly until the 1910s, 1920s. (Interestingly, real jeans are dyed with indigo, and over twenty million tons of indigo is used each year for that purpose. Meaning our jeans are probably keeping the indigo industry in business.)

6. Leggings. Again with the eighties stuff. We called them 'stirrup pants' due to the elastic that went under the foot to hold them down and smooth. It's probably impossible to know how far back into history these go, but offhand it's at least the early 1800s. The Battle of Waterloo was held up for a while in 1812 because the cavalrymen's pants were so tight they were having trouble getting into the saddle.

7. Nautical. Geez, um, Battle of Trafalgar? Do all those crazy wigs in the 1700s that had boats in them count as nautical? Schiaparelli's Trompe L'oeil Sweater was nautical. That was, what, 1927?

8. Denim shorts. Daisy Duke. 1979.

9. Ballet flats. Vintage Textile regularly sells shoes looking very much like decorated ballet flats, dating to the Regency era, the 1810s. They were also popular in the eighties. This is a nice trend; the shoes are comfortable and look good with nearly everything. I'll probably stock up on several colors, to wear until the next time they're 'in'.

10. Military. Military styling goes back to Elizabeth I of England, at least. She wore a really cool military-inspired dress to inspect the troops, and of course the rest of the world went off and made things in imitation. Women have long taken inspiration from dress uniforms. All that braid and ribbon, you know.

So there's the season's fashion forecast. Looks like we're in for another retread of the 1980s. I'm gonna go dye my hair pink and listen to Culture Club.


Barbara said...

I myself am knitting a worsted sock in neon yarn leftover from a Nephew Hat I made last year. Does neon ever really go out of style? If my hair was longer, I'd give myself a lime green Cyndi Lauper ponytail to go with your pink hair.

You make excellent points. Nothing really goes out forever, things just jostle forward in the scrum of fashion ideas and then fade back for a time.

BB said...

I'm going to have to hibernate until this fashion trend is over!

Louiz said...

I really wasn't a fan of the 80s. I shall sit over here in black and drink snakebite (which is mostly what I did first time round). Maybe listen to the Smiths. Or Morrissey.

amy said...

In 7th grade I had such a SWEET outfit combining pedal pushers with neon yellow. Loved that outfit. (yikes!)

The latest issue of Family Fun has instructions on how to make those ribbon barrettes from the 80s. Remember those? :-)

Donna Lee said...

Karma,karma,karma,karma, karma chameleon......

Someone said if you were old enough to have worn leggings last time around you are too old to wear them now. It's too bad. they're comfortable but not very flattering unless you are a model and live on tic tacs.

And I love ballet flats. I'm going to get some for the warm months and I don't care if they're in style or not. I'll wear them out.

Emily said...

Well, yeah, things come back, over & over. I remember hoop skirts, a style which I don't remember being around for very long...possibly because you had to take great care when sitting not to have the hoop raise up in front & ...hmmm. I hope that never comes back.

I hate jeans. I have hips, & jeans don't like me much. Leggings, though...I've danced & still have the legs, plus they're similar to long undies & can function as such. Yay!

Interesting that you follow fashion trends. I'd never give them a thought except for you. And you make them fascinating (of course).

Roxie said...

Stirrup pants? In 1963 I had gold-colored ski pants with stirrups. Tres chic for 13 years old!

I want shoulder pads to come back. I LOVE shoulder pads! They make my hipslook smaller.

kate said...

Well, I look forward to finding the perfect ballet flats or platform shoes to wear with my military-inspired neon tulle dress. Which will be worn with leggings, of course.

I'm gonna look HOT.

Pibble said...

It was bad enough when they started using songs I like back in high school to advertise cars and potato chips, but now trends are coming *back* that I was around to see the first time? Man, I'm feeling old today.

I remember liking neons the first time around, but I was in elementary school and had no taste/shame.

Amy Lane said...

No you're not. You're going to dye your hair pink and listen to The Clash!

Awesome-- seriously, awesome! I'm going to print this out and read it to my students--they need to hear it!

Liz said...

I was a goth through the 80s to avoid most of this... On the train home last night there was a girl in a two-tone grey minidress over red tights, with big red plastic jewellery. I could have wept.

If "military" means "military-a-la-Viv-Westwood" I could live with that though.

Lola said...

Oh, geez, not the 80's again. Can't they be a bit more adventurious, and go back to the 1920s? How about the 1910s, even?

Amy Lane said...

Okay-- I could swear I left a comment on this one! (#$% keyboard!)

I loved this--but we all know you wouldn't listen to Culture Club. You'd listen to The Clash!

Alwen said...

When I was a little, little kid (2? 3?) stirrup pants were "ski pants".

That's how I got my first head injury, trying to put one stirrup on my parents' bedpost and the other on my bedpost and hang upside down... darn gravity!