Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Magic of Fashion

Though I'm not always successful, I try to be punctual about picking up my son from school. It goes without saying if you don't arrive ten minutes before the bell rings it is impossible to get a decent parking spot. On countless occasions, I have found myself leaning back in the driver's seat and watching the students milling out of the school as I wait. All too frequently I feel as though I have taken one step forward and two steps back through time. Most days girls can be seen strolling around in tattered jeans and loud patterns, not so unlike was the case in the 60s. When I first saw this feisty display the visual of my dad, only days earlier, warning me he should be saving all his old work jeans flashed through my head, causing an absent grin to flash across my face. It never ceases to amaze me how, fashion, in its way is one of the most accurate timelines we have at our disposal.
To think there was a point, not so very long ago when a young woman would have been crucified for wearing such bold apparel. Whether they had it right or wrong all depends on who you talk to. The fact remains the common trend in the early part of the 1900s was a world apart from clothing today. 
Far more graceful and serene a presentation, these ladies were seen as symbols of eloquence. 
Within twenty years this concept had undergone a drastic change. No longer the image of perfection and innocence, these girls had discovered the "wild side". Often referred to as "Swingers" this shift towards the glamorous shows in their apparel. The sequins glimmered and the pearls glowed.

By the time 1950 rolled the baby boom was in full motion and the suburbs were overflowing. The commonplace to find a woman was leaning over the stovetop or caring for one of the children. In time with this new rhythm, this change was reflected in the women's daily clothing. Trends became far more demure.

By the time 1960 rolled around those demure dresses had begun to disappear, replaced by tattered jeans and tight flashy tops. Such a shock wave to the fashion industry is difficult to ignore.
Now as I watch the young girls milling about in almost identical attire, I stare in awe at the ability of certain trends to rewind the years, pieces of the past that are permanently embedded in our world. Not beautiful gowns and graceful dresses, but torn jeans and casual shirts. I can't help but wonder, what is it about these certain trends that make them so powerful? Perhaps it is the easy swing they convey. One thing is clear- if you want to know the people of a certain point in history look first to the fashion of the era.


Adrienne Davenport