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Social Rebellion Means the Return of the Eighties

What goes around comes around. We all know that if you leave it in your closet long enough it will become acceptable, if not “in.” The popularity of vintage looks has brought back the ’70s belts and pant suits (albeit a variation). Still don’t believe me? Look at this seasons platforms, stacked heels and wedges as well as last season’s gauchos.

Fashion, like art, has periods which are adaptable if not recyclable. However, at New York’s Fashion Week I was disturbed by a trend I long hoped was dead—leg warmers. It is not surprising to see these ’80s staples galloping down the runway of Betsey Johnson. My panic sets in when nearly every designer in some way is working them.

During cold weather we fear looking like the Michelin man or a bag lady. With the newest trend, we now risk looking frozen in time. Living in a cold climate, I understand the dread of cold and simultaneous desire to unpack spring skirts. No matter what my desire to wear varying hemlines I would not pair my favorite mini skirt with leg warmers. If I really can’t wait I’ll go with tights, knee-high socks, boots or hose.

The cold is no excuse for footless socks, or waistless pants. Entirely unnecessary, unflattering and just plain impractical leg warmers are leading us down a slippery slope. What’s next? Shoulder pads?

This season’s designs are bold, representing the nonconformist mood of the times. Fashion is often regarded as a selfish hobby involved with meaningless gilding. However, fashion mirrors society’s growing angst, hope or pride. Military chic and naval simplicity have been common sights among the fashion elite in the past few seasons, but their reign appears to be over.

Fashion Week has reversed this brass buttoned up trend—Americans are over the war trend, over the simple designs that pleased mothers and grandmothers in previous generations.

Small cultural movements in the form of leg warmers and Luella Bartley’s torn stockings for the fall, no matter my personal opinion on the designs, are welcome. Once fashions leave the runways they infiltrate the mainstream and demonstrate public discontent.

The socially appealing, artistically nauseating fall of 2006 looks to be one filled with political representation on our bodies, not just in our minds. One can hope that social climates once again shift so classic lines can once again fill the racks or people will rebel against the rebellion and go back to simple sexy.

A classic is that which transcends time and space. The little black dress is not frozen with Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn; in contrast you will be hard pressed to think of leg warmers without singing cheesy ’80s songs. Ignoring the social and magnifying the beauty of fashion this newest revival of one of the dark ages of fashion has little hope of becoming a classic: better hope of next year’s Halloween costume.

About Marit Christina Anderson

  • SFC SKI

    well, the ’80s fashions resurgence are on time; right now a lot of teens dress like the same kids I went to high school with over 25 years ago.

    Break out the day-glo

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    God, the eighties were a fashion graveyard. I’d rather the retro 70s just continue for the next several years.