PostHeaderIcon A Fashion Column

By Terez Howard

I wrote the following column, “Era of leggings returns,” in the Sept. 15, 2006 edition of The Weirton Daily Times.

Fashion appears to be stuck on a never-ending loop. Lace of the 17th century has been modernized and included in casual camisoles and elegant gowns. Bell bottoms, popularly worn by hippies during the ‘60s, made a reemergence in the past 10 years or so. Now, trends from the decade during which I was born are boldly making a comeback.

Several weeks ago I was reading an article about the “new” style for kids returning to school. I was shocked to see the ‘80s were named in vogue. Honestly, I did not believe the story until I received a circular from my favorite department store. The craze clearly screamed the 1980s for, not just school-age beings, but for adults as well.

Since I was born during the decade, most of my memories of it are in the form of photographs, television reruns and old movies. However, one particular fashion I adored during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s were leggings. As a child, I could romp around in comfort and what I thought was style in my purple favorites.

I’m more excited about leggings’ reappearance than I probably should be since I associate the stretchy pants with childhood fun. I plan to purchase a pair when they go on sale. But I digress.

A press release from my favorite department store reported women’s cardigans will get longer, sweater vests can be layered over wovens and belted jackets will emphasize the waist. The release also said combining different black fabrics together was fresh this season as well as that vintage-inspired prints would create “a strong visual statement.” Who comes up with this stuff?

I’ve wondered for years what group of people decides what will be the rage. Of course, various stores choose what to display on their racks. But how do they know if the public will fork over cash for something completely different from usual? I’m supposing they don’t. My excitement over leggings could be short-lived if no one buys into the idea and the product.

Catalogue models have been wearing longer, close-fitting shirts and totally flat shoes, two styles I’m gladly anticipating to don. The dressy scene looks very fitted, which has been the standard. But shirts are being neatly tucked in to reveal the waist line, when low-rise pants seemed to me to be more standard. Yet, I ask myself, will people accept these styles?

Although still perplexed about the origins of spiraling old looks, I believe one particular group of advertisers’ promotions can be deemed a great success. Celebrities wearing funky pleated mini-skirts and unisex clothing will inspire teeny boppers to rock the same as their favorite stars. Popular music artists and movie divas only need to show off a fashion once for it to spread like wildfire not only among the very young but also the old. Most don’t care to stand out in a crowd of ‘80s fashions and will eventually follow suit to fit in and become up-to-date, even if it is dated.

A fad is defined as a temporary style; however, so many fads that originally last a year or two or ten seem to return for another period. I suppose they are short-lived for a moment but survive by way of a resurrection. Why do fashions have to come from some other time?

I wonder if humanity has somewhat exhausted its originality in the style department. Perhaps, totally imaginative clothing gets turned down by the mysterious trend choosers, and we never see them. Even though every stitching pattern, sweater design and shoe embellishment comes from another era, I still like to see change, albeit a copy.

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