- Oscar Wilde
Not that we realize it at the time, though. How else can you explain our continued, though seriously waning, dedication to Crocs? Through the ages, women have been willingly brain-washed into wearing a variety of en vogue fashions, however beautiful or fugly they are. This blog is dedicated in memory of them.
Now before I begin, I must explain to you that although I’ve received a bit of help compiling the following facts, I still feel as though I have yet to fully explore and understand all that fashion offered us over the years. So if your grandma or much-younger-and-cooler-than-your-mother aunt read this and feel I’ve left something important out, contact me and I’ll update this post to make up for my gross negligence.
With that said, I introduce you to:
THROUGH THE AGES: FASHION
Okay, so teenagers didn’t really wear these. They wore what most kids did -- the clothes their mothers made for them. No, not ALL their clothes, but fashions were primarily dictated by what people could make with a Singer sewing machine and a yard or two of fabric. For girls, that meant dresses, skirts and blouses, all simple in construction. But then the flapper dress entered the picture. Yep, that straight-up-and-down mini-dress you see in old movies where people are dancing the Charleston. In 1926, this dress was not only easy to sew, but fashionable. Suddenly, the ability to be stylish wasn’t relegated to the rich. All a woman had to do was whip up the dress, cut her hair short and sleek, then smash her b00bs down so they were as flat as a plasma screen TV. That’s right. You heard me -tatas were OUT. I knew I was born in the wrong decade. Thus the beginning of fashion for the masses, though there were a few bumps along the way…
Um, excuse me. Did you know the country went through a major depression? Some even called it “Great.” I found this obscure fact during my research. It started in 1929 and lasted a long, long time. Anyway, the Thirties weren’t very good years for fashion. Though the ready-to-wear industry was staring to take off, what little money people had was spent on food, not on looking like Greta Garbo. But those with money did follow the shift toward a curvier look due, in part, to the introduction of the zipper. Girls continued to wear dresses or blouse/skirt combos that usually hit mid-calf. They paired them with simple leather shoes and ankle socks, a trend that carried over into the forties.
Whew! So glad to stop writing about the depression. Wait a second... WHAT? We were in a WAR? Those poor fashionistas. They were so ready for a comback. Instead, gone were silk blouses – the fabric went to make parachutes. Wool? Uniforms and blankets for soldiers. So unfair. In an effort to conserve fabric, hemlines rose to just below the knee (scandal!), and skirts were more form-fitting, with fewer gathers and pleats. Jackets were also shorter and more fitted. Clothes also looked more masculine – check out those shoulders! - since many men were gone at war, leaving the women to work their jobs. Imagine that, women doing men’s work. It’s a wonder they survived. As for girls? Sweaters finally became major players. Oversized ones were often worn with - you guessed it - skirts.
Okay, now things start to get more interesting. With no depression or war to hinder fashion, more stylish looks prevailed. No, girls didn’t wear pants to school yet. They still wore skirts, full or pleated. A famous one? The poodle skirt. Not all had poodle appliqués, though. Some featurened music notes or records. (You know, those black, oversized CD-like things they had back in the day. God, I feel old.) White bobby socks with buckskin or saddle shoes were often worn. Sweater sets and blouses were common tops. As for pants, they started wearing them a bit more outside of school. As for jeans? Not so much. Known as ‘dungarees,' they were reserved for lounging around.
When you think of the Sixties, you think of crazy, far-out clothes, right? Well, actually, that was the Seventies. Well, I’ll give you ’68 and ‘69. Clothes did start to get more colorful, though. However, girls STILL wore skirts to school and, once again, usually below the knee. Not that hemlines didn’t start to rise, they were just considered casual wear. Instead of bobby socks, they went with knee-his. Jeans started becoming more acceptable, though only for casual events. Out to dinner and a movie? No way. Kids favored hip hugging, low slung jeans with wide belts in different colors. Near the end of the decade, we started to see bell bottoms. Then the wackiness began.
Talk about groovy. Upset with ‘the man’ and the Vietnam War, teenagers used clothing to express their rebellion. Known for wild colors and patterns, the seventies gave us tie-dye t-shirts, the peasant look, and hot pants. (The latter was a “must have” for the disco dancing set.) As for skirts, they skipped the knees all together, pushing minis to the max. They also had maxis that went clear to the ankles. Later on we saw tube tops, too. Trust me, the guys really liked this decade. As for school? Girls finally wore pants and jeans, both of which were bell bottoms. Take that, oppressive school system! However, most jeans manufacturers still focused on boys so many girls wore boy’s jeans. Yes, it's sad. But don’t you worry, girls get their due….
This was my decade, as well as most of your parents, so I’ll say a lille more on this one. I briefly remember a painter’s pants fascination before going straight into the preppy look. Monogrammed sweaters with your initials, IZOD polo shirts in every color (collars flipped up, of course), plus a nautical obsession - particularly with whales? – featuring boat shoes and boat neck shirts. Remember the whole ‘boy jean’ issue? Well in the Eighties, girls’ designer jeans took the world by storm. Calvin Klein, Jordache, and Gloria Vanderbilt to name a few. You were the jeans you wore.
The advent of movie “Flashdance” in 1983 had us all wearing leggings and legwarmers, plus big sweatshirts that hung off the shoulder. In September of 1985, Madonna blew the world away with her trashy, see-through lacy shirt, bra and lycra skirt style, making even the cutest nine year-old girls look like prostitutes. Plus there were shoulder pads -- lots of shoulder pads -- and stirrup pants. Crop tops and neon clothing had their day in the sun, as well. Never had there been a decade so decadent, which leads us to the nineties…
Talk about a backlash! I’ll be honest, like most of your moms, these were baby-making years. Most of us had NO FASHION SENSE AT ALL. We were just happy when we could get our butts back into a pair of jeans after losing the baby weight. From what I hear, though, we didn’t miss a thing. Sick of the over-the-top Eighties mentality, the Grunge look emerged. Torn jeans, t-shirts and flannel shirts told the world teens no longer cared. Which they didn’t, until the movie “Clueless” came out in the summer of 1985. Suddenly, it was all about baby doll dresses, slip dresses worn over t-shirts, and thigh-high stockings. For the hip hop set, track suits and Starter jackets were on the scene, making way for those jeans -- those big, baggy jeans….
Remember how I said I hate butt cracks? Well, it started out with underwear. The hip hop set started wearing their jeans so baggy and low, their underwear was always exposed. Gross. But how does that relate to teen girls? Well, the dorks running the fashion industry took the cue and started designing jeans with waists so low…well, you know where I’m going with this. Hip hop did inspire hoodies, though, so it ain’t all bad. With the 2000s, came the advent of layering shirts. Heaven forbid you just wear one shirt at a time. Plus, like jeans in the eighties, kids got label conscious with tops. In alphabetical order (don’t want to show favoritism) we were introduced to Abercrombie and Fitch, Aeropostale, American Eagle and Hollister. If you didn’t have one of their logos on your chest, go home. Sad really.
So there you have it. Did I miss anything? Seriously let me know. As for how to end this post? I’ll make just one more plea:
Just say ‘no’ to butt cracks!
Now go in peace.