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Sunday, March 25, 2007

It's Nice To Be An Original

My post yesterday caused me to start thinking about different generations and the fashions that molded them. What is interesting to me is the idea that some generations create an entirely new look, while others only mimic. It seems an easy way out to only copy what has already been done, but it happens. I was a child of the 70's and a teenager in the 80's. I remember going to school as a child in my bell bottom jeans and flowered shirts. I remember the yo yo shoes and long straight hair. All of these fashion trends were not copied from another generation or time...they were the result of life in that time. Peace and love dominated everything and were reflected in the styles and trends of that time. When someone hears "the 70's", there are just some things that come to mind. The music, movies, political ideas, etc. are all woven tightly into the overall "sense" of what the 70's were all about. The fashions of that time do not come out and say anything directly, but are more of a symbol of what things were like during that time.
Then came the 80's and all that we were in that decade. This was my era...my coming of age. I remember when fashion started changing...when they began to take our bell bottoms away and encourage us to perm our hair. I clearly stated that I would never wear or do those things. Never say never. Everything was big in the 80's, except the pant legs. We had big hair, big shirts, big shoulders, big watches, big socks, big earrings, big belts, etc. If it wasn't big, it was at least bright. If it wasn't big or bright enough, then we layered it...more, more, more....that was what we sought for. It seemed only natural for a teenage girl just discovering who she was and the powers that accompanied youth and new found womanhood. I was already at an age that screamed, "Look at me!" I remember when we started wearing Capri's and rolling our jeans. Our parents constantly reminded us that they did those things too, so we were only repeating their generation. However, when I look at the 80's as a whole, the fashions did not mirror the 50's or the 60's completely. Maybe elements were the same, but it was a generation all its own....an original, just as the 70's had been.
Now, as I think back over the 90's and the decade that we are now in, I realize that neither has sought to create its own image. From the early 90's, I knew that we were about to see a repeat of the 70's, which is what happened. What was even worse than merely being a repeat generation was the fact that, while the fashions were recreated as well as, or better than before, the ideas and events that brought them to life in the 70's weren't there. Everyone loved to flaunt the peace signs around and let it all hang out with long straight hair and loose, skimpy clothing, but there were no major cultural events that led up to it...no slow progression into it that allowed the generation to "find" themselves in the middle of something new and amazing. No one will ever look back at the fashions of the 90's without thinking of the 70's. The 70's were influenced by the fear of war and desire for peace, new found freedom for women to be who they wanted to be, and freedom to dress as one pleased or as little as one pleased. Hippies were a symbol of so many venues of freedom and were very influential in shaping the fashions of the decade. Just as our space exploration programs began to increase, people also seemed to quench their own desires to travel with RVs and station wagons piled full of family and friends. TV icons such as Charlies Angels planted new seeds for fashion. Disco music and all that it represented was very influential in setting fashion trends. There were specific events that brought it all together....created the whole "idea" of the 70's and the trends that went along with it.
It is no secret that the last 10 years have been all about looking as much like the 70's as possible. There are no specifics that signify the beginning of or continuation of 90's fashion, except for that drive to dress the part...re-create the 70's.
Now, we are in a decade that is clearly seeking to relive the 80's. There will be no new discoveries or explanations as to where the fashion trends come from other than the fact that they were worn in the 80's. I understand that this is what happens...fashion repeats itself. New generations are made to feel young and cool in styles that will, at the same time, remind us that our era has been over long enough to come full circle. It will cause mixed feelings for the 30 something group. There will be those who mock it because youth cannot possible desire to wear the things that we look back on to wonder why we did. Others will resent it because to repeat the fashions will be admitting that we are retro. Then, there will be those who embrace it because they are proud of the originality of the generation from which they came. Having listened to the youth make fun of it for so long, it is refreshing to see the new youth of today embrace it. It is like a confirmation that we existed as youth....we shared the same sense of something that they are now embracing. Not only were we young, but were active participants in molding something so original and so unique that it is worthy to be repeated. We were the 80's....new and original. When your generation's fashions aren't based on past generations, you are free to take it anywhere and everywhere. That's what we did. Now, the youth of today will take it into the 2000's. I'm proud to be a part of where it began. I'm proud that what I helped to create will be copied by my children...20 years later. I already know where it is going because I've been there....I lived the 80's....I was an original!

3 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

"It is like a confirmation that we existed as youth....we shared the same sense of something that they are now embracing...I'm proud to be a part of where it began. I'm proud that what I helped to create will be copied by my children...20 years later. I already know where it is going because I've been there....I lived the 80's....I was an original!"

I LOVE THAT PART!

My kids aren't really old enough to care about fashion yet...well, I guess Reilly would care about it if she were in public school...but I love the positive way you put that. When I see girls dressed in 80's styles, I tend to think snarky things like "ha ha, I used to dress like that, too!" You inspire me to be more positive!

6:59 AM  
Blogger momof3feistykids said...

What a beautiful post! I love your thoughtful and articulate views on life. :-)

http://steph-roomofmyown.blogspot.com/

11:27 AM  
Blogger Sherri said...

Thankyou Steph and Lisa...I appreciate your kind words and interest in my Blog!

9:00 PM  

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