You could take a look at history by studying wars, different economic systems, or political leaders. But if you’re like me, the best way to look at history is through fashion! Different fashion styles are extremely representative of different decades, and it is one of the best ways to determine what was going on during that period of time. I mean, what’s better than remembering neon leggings from the eighties, or poodle skirts from the fifties? Read on as I take you through the last few decades, starting with the sixties and seventies until today.
Oh, the sixties and seventies. These swingin’ decades were full of different fashion trends representing all the changes that occurred during these twenty years. This period was a time of major change and teenage revolt. Diana Vreeland, editor and chief of Vogue during this time, referred to this revolutionary decade as “the youth quake,” which seems the perfect description. The youth generation wanted to take over and make changes, and believed in liberalism and freedom. And this, dear reader, was completely evident in their fashions.
Say hello to America’s most loved and most hated fashion piece: the mini skirt. Mary Quant invented and designed this controversial jaw dropper and you better believe the women of the sixties took this and ran with it, discoed with it, boogied with it, and raved with it. The mini skirt was loved by the youth, and hated by the older generation. It represented the women’s movement that took place during this time, because women no longer wanted to be held back by men, and by cultural standards. They wanted to show their skin, and they did just that. It was also a major part of the sexual revolution that occurred during this time because the mini skirt was a major sex symbol. Young women wanted to be free and show off their sex appeal.
Another major trend of the sixties and seventies was mod styled dresses. These loud colored and vivid patterned dresses represented the psychedelic movement that was taking place. This design has made its comeback, but thankfully it left the go-go boots that they were so often paired up with behind.
Check out this video of the mini skirt from the 1960s!
And here’s a video of 1970s fashion so you can get a better idea of what these trends looked like!
This is the decade of larger than life hair, shoulder pads jutting out of suit jackets, and one shouldered sweatshirts. If you guessed the eighties, you are absolutely correct and most certainly in for a treat! All of these trends continued on into the nineties as well. These are the fashion trends stylistas around the U.S would love to forget, and pretend never happened. Although some of these less embarrassing trends are starting to crawl their way back into our lives, some of them will never see the light of day again, thank goodness! But it is definitely fun to look back at these outrageous fashion statements and make fun of the people (ahem, my mother, and probably yours, too) who actually wore this stuff!
A huge trend in the eighties and early nineties was suits with shoulder pads. The larger the shoulder pads, the better, the more stylish, and the more powerful the woman behind the suit. While I understand that women wore these for the sense of power and equal rights, I will never understand why simply holding a demanding job didn’t do this justice. And to be honest, I’m sure the women of the eighties will full heartedly agree. Check out this video of my mother’s favorite outfits from the eighties. And remember, I only lived two years in the eighties, and therefore could not yet offer some fashion advice that most likely would have consisted of “uh, do NOT wear that outfit…” Here’s a video of some of her favorite eighties suits!
Jewelry was a big part of the eighties and no outfit was complete without it. And like shoulder pads, the bigger the better, unfortunately. Necklaces had large ornamentation and earrings were decorated to the maximum. An item could not possibly have too much going on, meaning the colors were vibrant and the details were immaculate. Every piece stood out and nothing was plain by any means. Take a peek at this photo gallery of eighties jewelry I found lying around in my mother’s closet, but do not ask me why she has kept it this long!
The sixties, seventies, and eighties and nineties were all extremely distinct in style and trends. Then we hit the millennium. While I could list off certain fashion trends that I have seen in the last 20 years, not one single style defines this generation the way bell bottoms define the sixties and seventies. Instead, I think the past two decades have been almost a melting pot of all of these decades, with a few small additions that we can call our own.
The best way to determine these new trends is by looking at the youth and what they are wearing. One major fashion trend this generation is Ugg boots. These boots are expensive, and you guessed it, ugly. Yet they are so comfortable, and for some reason seen as such a huge fashion trend. The youth love these boots, and want them in every color and every style. It is one of the biggest crazes that the past two decades have seen.
Another big trend of this generation, which could technically be traced back to the eighties, is leggings. Although now we no longer wear leg warmers on top and instead have changed this trend to fit in more with how we dress today. Leggings are seen as pants with a simple shirt on top, they are seen as tights under dresses, and they are seen as lounge sweat pants. They can be dressed up or dressed down. They are seen everywhere in different colors and patterns and worn by women of all ages, young and old. They seem to define the past two years, with Lindsey Lohan as their spokesperson.
Check out this video of my younger cousins to see more about what styles are in for the youth today!
After learning about the past decades worth of fashion, take this quiz to find out how much you learned!