Saturday, May 16, 2009


I am no longer fashion-conscious like I used to be when I was younger (that was a long, long time ago). It comes with age I must say. Going through my old photo albums, I could not even pass the second page without rolling on the floor laughing at my so-called trendy way of dressing back then. Was I a fashion victim? To some, I was but I try to justify the situation by saying that I was only going through a phase (maybe even a few phases) of teenage rebellion and trying to find my own skin. Now, I am much more conservative when it comes to my dressing. Mini-skirts and geometric designs were all the rage in the early 60s. Thanks to Mary Quant and the First Lady of United Sates of America at that time, Jackie Kennedy whose influences have made them fashion icons even until today. Then, the hippie subculture ruled the late 60s with its tie-dyes, love beads, paisley designs, psychedelic motifs, bell-bottom pants, long ethnic-inspired skirts and fringed vests. The 70s saw the appearance of hot pants, midis, platform shoes, flared trousers, wide- collar shirts (Remember Saturday Night Fever?) and polyester (yuck!). Hair for both men and women was long and layered. The punk movement which emerged from the London music scene also brought the use of leather and vinyl into fashion in the 70s. Hair was dyed, coloured and dramatically cut or styled. Studs, spikes, Doc Martens boots, drainpipe jeans, chains and body jewelry were items which were closely associated with the punks. In the 80s, clothes were looser and not as tight as they were in the 70s and vice versa for the pants. Lycra (especially cycling shorts) and fluorescent colours replaced polyester and geometric patterns. Music and movies also had a big influence on fashion at that time. Jennifer Beals started a trend with cut-off midriff sweatshirts in the movie "Flashdance' and the New Wave artists took to the Romantic Look. Duran Duran, A Flock Of Seagulls, Visage and Culture Club had their own inimitable style. Madonna and Cyndi Lauper turned our attention to thrift shops where clothes reflected the New York street scene. Power suits became favourites among yuppies and executives. Linda Evans and Joan Collins wore shoulder pads bigger than those worn by American footballers. Hair was big and teased and sprayed to the heavens. Chunky metal jewelry and colourful Swatch watches were all the rage back then. Japanese designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake introduced their avant-garde clothes. Tom Cruise donned the Ray-Ban Wayfarers in the movie 'Risky Business' and 'Top Gun' which revived its popularity. And of course, who can forget all those Michael Jackson wannabes with their studded leather jackets and fingerless gloves? So much had happened in the fashion scene in the 80s that the 90s had to take a breather I guess. Clothes were much simpler at the beginning but that trend did not last for long. Grunge fashion popularised by the late Kurt Kobain and Nirvana started the new decade by wearing fashion that somehow reflected anti-fashion. Then, The Spice Girls brought back the platform shoes. Britney Spears and other teenage pop princesses decided they needed to show off their newly-developed curves in baby t-shirts, and low-rise jeans. Consequently, body -piercing especially navel piercing became more if not as popular. The Punk styles also enjoyed a revival thanks to alternative artists. Now, we are in the 2000s and fashion has evolved again. I won't be going into details but it is clear that each new decade brings more styles and trends. This has given more choices to people to find something that suits their personality and lifestyle. However, not many of us (including me) know what constitutes as fashion and what is considered as style. This has resulted many of us committing unforgivable fashion faux-pas. I totally agree when people say that money and wealth can only buy expensive clothes, not style. So how do I look? I must say pretty good for somebody who is slowly but surely approaching middle age!

p/s The above look is a definite no-no unless you are a New York pimp or going to a costume party.