One of the reason’s I began this blog was because I believed that fashion had a habit of going around and around in circles, and that a sense of stye was always in fashion, so therefore it seemed silly to me to keep forking out year after year for new pieces that were essentially the same as last years collection, in turn adding to the wasteful nature of our consumer society.
I had a point to prove, and that point was that one woman’s cast off was a another woman’s treasure. You can look fabulous without spending a great deal, and moreover, you can do it through buying second hand. I couldn’t understand why second hand clothing carried a stigma, and yet buying antiques is considered a fabulous past time for the rich and famous.
I had long held a belief that there was never really anything new that came around every season, yes there may be a tweak here or there, but essentially the comfort zone of the general public was never going to be stretched that far, so in truth how much can things change? Reading the monthly magazines, as I do for inspiration now, has cemented that belief.
I find it difficult to digest that I find Vogue a little dull, Elle has become un-inspirational and there is now nothing new or bizarre about Harper’s Bazaar. I have read the same articles in different magazines, the over sized coat… the gothic look… tartan and tweed. 3 months, 8 magazines, the same rules apply.
Perhaps it doesn’t help that for the last decade, we have sought to re-invent the past, rather than create the future. Or maybe I should view it differently. Maybe we have come full circle? Instead of trying to invent a new fashion for the sake of it, we have come to accept what works and what doesn’t. The designers have selected the best from every decade, and reinvigorated it to make it work for the modern woman.
Recently, I was at a wedding, and sat next to a very interesting man called Neil Scott. We were discussing a friend of his who lectured on the history of fashion among other things, and a very interesting conversation ensued. It concerned the changes in women’s fashion with regards to developments in society. He pointed out that in the 80s when women were making a huge steps forward in the world of work, shoulder pads took off in a big way. It was a statement that the shoulders of a woman could be just as broad and striking as those of a man. Stiletto’s increased the height of a woman, so that she was just as tall, and the combination of these two things changed the silhouette of a woman completely. She was now competing with men and leveling the playing field. Similarly, several hundred years ago, there was nothing strange about men wearing makeup, tights and adorning themselves with wigs. It was seen as a statement that they were wealthy enough not to work, and therefore not to get dirty, but also have copious amounts of time to concentrate on appearance.
Perhaps it will take another huge shift in society to make fashion take a step forward, and unfortunately for me, and my ethos of shopping in charity shops, this means that when this happens, I will be one step behind the times. That is if you adhere purely to fashion. However, if you adhere to the rule of dressing for your shape, then the likelihood is that this change will not affect you too badly. If you were already tall and broad shouldered in the 80s, an unfortunately side effect would have been that it would have been quite difficult to actually discern your true gender from a distance. Today, we see shoulder pads as a great way for someone to balance large hips. Similarly, if you have no hips and large shoulders, shoulder pads would be forbidden, and instead you should opt for a peplum to add volume to the hips or a wide legged trouser. All of this is to replicate that enviable and ultimately feminine shape – The Hourglass.
I cannot see a revolutionary trend on the horizon – this years slavery to spikes does not count, though I am finding it difficult to replicate it in charity shops this year at least! But in all honesty, it’s not like we haven’t done spikes before, take the punk rock era for example. There is nothing new to truly catch our imagination, or disgust for that matter!
Until this happens, the magazines will no doubt continue to regurgitate the fashions of past and present, and I will continue to be able to replicate this from last years cast offs. In the end I think that fashion should be about having fun, about displaying who you are as a person to the world, and to some extent I think it should be about envious glances. Who hasn’t stolen a look at someone across the street and admired their style. Wouldn’t it be lovely to know that someone had done the same with you? So whether you’re a trend setter, or a firm inhabitant of your comfort zone, have fun with it, and try and avoid the mundane at all costs!