Fashion is not merely clothing, fashion is a way for the time and place you live in to identify itself through clothing. Today’s fashion has lost its ability to communicate, because today’s fashion has nothing to say. We exist on a merry-go-round of fashion, where one can wear a dress from the 1970s one day, a dress from the 1980s the next, and no one will have anything to say at all – as long as one avoids the most obvious fads (and the ones that didn’t reenter the circle). This is a relatively recent development. I can remember being instructed in how to peg my jeans in the 6th grade, lest I commit a fashion faux pas. I was a pariah and someone was still kind enough to keep me from straight leg pants.
Now? Feel free to wear what you like as long as it looks good on you and is suitable. No one will even notice – so long as it’s not an obvious fad. My godmother writes me to ask what colors are in, but even Pantone is no longer in control. If one is considering the evolution of fashion, it’s a bit sad. You can, so long as you accessorize in a modern form, wear virtually anything from most of the last 100 years without chance of anachronism. WHY? Well, because we’re stuck in a loop. It’s as if we don’t have hopes and dreams of our own. No aesthetic inspiration.
Take note – these dresses (although owned by wealthy women) were made when fabric was vastly more expensive than it is today. But they are changing… why aren’t we?
These dresses are utterly unlike one another. Bustles replaced by petticoat, an entire change of silhouette… but this has been normal since it has been at all possible. We change what we wear. Men as well as women, although men change their trends more slowly.
it’s not the cost. It’s certainly not waste – we waste so much clothing these days. (While we’re discussing this, why in an era when clothing ourselves is trivially inexpensive compared to all of history, we can’t be bothered to search for beauty? Well – perhaps we haven’t anything to say to one another either. It matters very little what you wear when the only eyes you gaze into are the ones on a screen.).
We aren’t allowing art to inspire us. We aren’t inspired by other cultures. Nothing catches our interest. We’re bored. Bored right into leggings, jeans and casual clothes… I suppose our addiction to comfort uber alles says something about our headspace. But our casual clothes really don’t change. How many t-shirts do you own?
It’s not the fault of the designers. 1) there are plenty of up and coming designers with new ideas. 2) established designers sell what people will buy. It is, however, indicative that there is NOTHING that catches our imaginations. We just recycle old ideas. Today’s fashion has nothing to say of itself. Someone tells me that we’re going back to low rise jeans. I looked it up and it seems like it’s all over the map. We’re not having a moment, there is no moment. Wear what you like. With the right sunglasses and an expensive haircut, you’ll be on-trend.
It is convenient. You can wear whatever pleases you and flatters, with no thought of wearing last year’s hemline and being démodé . But it is also worrying – have we so little in common now that we can’t even agree what sort of pants are cool? But so it is. We don’t have a common desire, a common goal, a common definition of ‘good” or “bad” or even… interesting.
And so fashion, poor dear fashion, is left with nothing to say.