When it comes to fashion, it seems like the only reliable trend is revival. Fashion today largely borrows from other eras, with only slight updates to differentiate it from its historic counterparts — just look at all the chokers, Brittney and J.T. style denim-on-denim outfits, and crop tops around campus, and you’ll be shocked it’s 2017, not 1997. In order to be proactive in our pursuit of chic-ness, we’ve consulted Elena Siemens, associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, to comment on a few trends and whether they should return or stay in the past.
*Aside: Elena Siemens discusses fashion as part of ENGL 385, Popular Culture: Issues in Popular Culture. Her research interests include Fashion Studies and she recently published a book on Street Fashion Moscow (Intellect 2017), in which she photographed examples of winter clothes as seen in the streets of Russia’s capital.
Circle skirts (1950s)
“1950s circle skirts should be rediscovered,” says Siemens. “They’re flattering and evoke the iconic film Grease, and happy times.” They fit snug around the waist and taper down in a flowing fashion, making them look great on any body type. Plus, when you spin around, you feel like a Disney princess.
Beatles suits (1960s)
“Beatles suits should come back, because they represent fine tailoring and post-war hope,” says Siemens. The Beatles looked sharp and dapper with their thin ties and high buttoned-up jackets. “And when the brokenhearted people / Living in the world agree / There will be an answer, let it be” a well-tailored suit.
Bell bottom jeans (1970s)
Like the ‘50s skirt, bell bottoms are “flattering on any figure,” man or woman, says Siemens. She also enjoys how they “project the spirit of Saturday Night Fever.” My first instinct be to allow anything from John Travolta’s “Stayin’ Alive” days to stay in the ‘70s, but a thinner legged bell bottom could shuffle up the skinny jean trend on a date to the disco.
Should real fur make a comeback? “There are two opposing views on this subject,” says Siemens. Many argue real fur is warmer than fake, while others morally object. “In recent years, a number of prominent high fashion brands, from Moschino to Michael Kors, reintroduced real fur in their collections. Canada Goose also uses real fur,” she notes. According to her, Europeans are generally more open to wearing authentic fur compared Canadians. “Personally, I’m divided on the issue,” she says. “Although when (temperatures reach -30), I’d be willing to give real fur a try.”
Platform shoes (1990s)
“(Platform shoes) give you height and stability, unlike stilettos,” says Siemens. “They are associated with famous designers and movie stars, like Vivienne Westwood and Marilyn Monroe.” Platforms and wedges became popular once more in the ‘90s, but were a staple in the ‘70s. If there’s a high heel I don’t want to throw in the garbage after standing in them for 15 minutes, sign me up.
“Uggs should go,” Siemens says. She’d prefer bringing back moon boots, rather than see every second girl sporting the Aussie-made
slipper shoe. “The moon boot represents interstellar travel and adventure,” she says, not Starbucks and salt stains. Siemens thinks they should stay in 2001, but negative fashion statement aside, their cloud-like comfort is undeniable.