Tuesday, June 29, 2010

FASHION 2010: A return to femininity and class?

Well from my summer magazine reading, it looks like the fashion world's obsession with distressed, ripped, overly-zippered, pantsless, just-rolled-out-of-bed-hungover, neo-grunge style is fading, replaced with a revival of classic femininity and clean-cut masculinity. THANK GOD. Hemlines are lower (i.e. no longer bordering on nonexistent), skirts are full and flirty, waistlines are nipped in, shoes are taking a step away from the sky-high-platform/bondage combination that has both frightened and disgusted a good many of us (or at least myself) for far too long (in favor of delicate kitten heels), handbags are structured, and maybe the pressure to spend 100 greenbacks on a tissue-thin, safety-pinned and destructed white tee is finally on its way out.

In short, it appears that the novelty of the heroin-chic revival has finally (and too late) worn off. This is good. Most normal people cannot (or just will not) wear tight black leather hotpants (or whatever cracked out fad that has circulated in and out over the last few years). Aside from being downright unflattering on most (all?) bodies, they aren't practical for most workplaces, and sitting in a sweltering classroom with the back of your thighs sticking to the chair while the leather scalds your ladyparts and the prof drones on and on? No thanks. Hemlines that are too short make modesty impossible, heels that are ridiculously high are hard to wear and let's face it, the cage heel has gotten incredibly passé. Etc. And spending so much money on clothes that look like they've gotten run-over by an ATV, twice - well, everyone knows it's ridiculous and yet we do it anyway.

Plus, along with the clothes (or lack there of) comes greasy bedhead, heavy black eyeliner and straggly extensions (TAYLOR MOMSEN!) - a tired cliché that no longer appears fresh, if it ever did, and I think most of us are ready to show a little hygiene every now and then. We should embrace clear, glowing skin and the occasional (or daily) red lip. I know I can't get enough of it.

So I welcome with open arms what's been creeping around the corner for a while now (and doubtless has been the standard for classic dressers everywhere throughout all the madness) the resurgence of full, late 50's inspired skirts and dresses, tailored pants and cardigan sweaters, sexy librarian looks, cape coats...

Aside from the mere fact that this revival means there might be an end in sight to a lot of the more hideous fashion trends that have been running rampant everywhere (even in my small town in Minnesota), it excites me for some other more personal reasons.

I've been a longtime lover of vintage clothing from all eras, but particularly the fifties and early sixties. (By the way, I am glad I didn't grow up in America during the fifties, since women definitely got the short end of the stick, there was a huge problem of sexual repression, and there were wide-spread pressures to be part of the nuclear family...ugh... but anyway). I think the styles fit and flatter my body-type - I'm fairly petite, but I have full hips and thighs and a decent waist (I think) and decent breasts - and I have the legs of a dancer, so I'm all for full skirts and nipped in waists. Plus, I love the music, the films, the dancing... and the feel of a good retro diner, so I'm all for this.

Also, it signals the rise of the curvier model - which I find heartening. I am so tired of seeing girls who look cracked out, fourteen years old, boyish and anorexic totter down runways in giant stiletto platforms that make them look like they have hooves, not feet - like bambi on methamphetamine. Not to condemn the models themselves - they are a product of the industry they must conform to in order to be hired, after all. I imagine most of them are just born that way, and I'm all for challenging the standards of beauty. A skinny extraterrestrial type can be beautiful, just as a curvy size 16 can be gorgeous. It's all about being comfortable in your own skin. But that doesn't mean we should all strive against the way nature intended us to be, and we shouldn't have to conform to one standard. This has all been said before - I'm just saying it again.

I hope the prediction comes true, and that it stays a while.

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