Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fashion Faux Pas?

Being a 70s child, I spent much of my teenagedom and early 20's living it up in the 90s. This, fortunately or unfortunately, meant being fashionable was quite simple and often questionable. In those days, high fashion fell into a few basic categories and for the most part (besides ravers) it took very little effort.

Here are the categories, as I remember them:

Grunge/Alternative: "Two tokes and pass it on... Don't be greedy"

Ripped jeans, brown cardigans and Chuck Taylors or Docs... Sometimes cords... and a touch of velvet every now and then.

90s Raver: '125 beats per minutes... all the way man! This DJ is totally kicking it! And the laser light show is incredible... hey! Check out my glow sticks, it's like I've got neon light as an extension of my body"

Skirts over pants... fluffy leg warmers, UV strips down wide leg denim... crazy, crazy hair.

Homie: "Hey have you seen Boyz in da hood, man? Crazy shit! hey, hang on man. That dud is looking at me! Yeah... Come on! Come on! I'm carrying a knife man... don't fuck with me"

Wannabe Yanks wearing basketball shirts, Cross Colors with arse crack showing and some form of Nike or Adidas footwear. In the outta 'burbs of Melbs? Hmmmmm

These days... so much has changed and that is the topic I'm choosing to discuss today. What causes and why do we have major shifts in fashion (particularly women's these days)? I'm sure its more complicated than a few world famous designers coming up with a trend... After all, most fashion out there is nothing like what you'll see parading on the cat walk. There is something more to it than that... I'm sure of it!

Looking back I now think that we (Gen X'ers) dressed down to become equals. Our parents (or rather mothers and grandmothers) had fought, and fought hard for us to have anything we wanted in life... Further education, high paying jobs (alongside men), shared chores and parenting - if indeed we choose to go down that path. We were given great gifts by these wonderful women! To have the world as our oyster, for the freedom of choice and finally, for the respect from men we deserved.

So, while these women paved the way, we took it to another level. We dressed as men... our uniform consisted of jeans, tee's and minimal (if any) make up - even clubbing. Why were we so low maintenance? Mainly to be seen as equally intelligent and capable as our male counterparts. We were no longer to be viewed as sex objects - only as equals. I also believe, it worked... It was the final nail in the coffin of a chauvinistic world.

We were more revolutionary than we give ourselves credit for. Often, we consider the big changes to the way we live and view life and freedom took place throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s - these decades gave us teenagers, free love, drugs, war protests, womens rights, racial assimilation and so much more (including great music). But for us poor Gen X'ers... we've never been given anything but teenage angst to take credit for.

Over the past few years, I've noticed, a real shift in women. A step back, in the fashion sense, to the dark ages when women were merely seen and never heard... when women were perfectly manicured at all times purely for the benefit of men... and were considered second class citizens in all aspects. Are the recent spate of highly manicured, primped and perfect, short skirt wearing youth simply undoing all the hard work that women for generations before them fought for? Or is it that they can now have it all (looks, intelligence and sexuality) and still be viewed as an equal?

From what I've seen, it's more likely the latter... they've had the freedom to be pretty and be smart. I'm thinking that they do it for their own pleasure (and for the benefit of other women) rather than purely for mens attention. Am I being niave here?

Besides perhaps if I'd had the freedom (and the body) to dress like that, I may very well have donned a 'gina' dress, high heels, a face full of make up, some hair extensions, a french manicure and hairdresser fresh ringlets... Actually, who am I kidding! It sounds like to much work, for too little return, for this old Gen X'er!

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