Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Clothing Part II '70s Onwards

I thought we had hit the nadir with the '60s but I was wrong. I have looked for 1970s fashion for a long time tonight and this is the very best of it I can find. So let's start with the positive. Freedom and comfort continue to be paramount. Also, all colors are fair game and in any combination and any pattern. No color or pattern is "out" although I wish some had been. The people certainly have to have nerve to embrace this decade's fashion, especially the men, who definitely got the worst end of it.

The fashion is all over the map. One could say this is a veritable explosion of the ready to wear industry. Women clearly want to be as comfortable as possible. Pants have come in very huge and we know this will only get stronger with time. Those who are monochromatic look better than the ones in the neon colors but it is hard to pull off harsh colors.

I was in my 20s then and I thought I looked pretty good in these clothes. I think it was not the clothes. Instead, most of us looked good at that age and so the clothes managed to look good if we didn't go all out with them. It is telling when the people look better because they are in black and white instead of color. Paul Newman and Meryl Streep are absolutely gorgeous but who says they ever needed clothes to attain that state? On the other hand, now that I have experienced Burt Reynolds twice nude in Playgirl, I hope I have hit my lifetime allotment.

After one views these fashions, new respect is gained for those fantastic designers of the 1920s and 1950s who developed the classic, couture clothes and dressed their clients in them, like Christian Dior. 

Going to bed now and I am afraid to look at the 1980s in the morning!

Next morning after mentally girding myself, I start looking at '80s fashion pictures. I am in my 30s in this decade.

There are a couple of key figures who established themselves as icons and dominated the decade, none more so than Madonna and Princess Diana, seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum. One was contrived messiness while the other was polished elegance. Jane Fonda fit in handily as well. She made gym wear interchangeable with casual attire while Madonna worked on making underwear interchangeable with it. 

Broadcast News and Flashdance were major movies. Flashdance built on the Jane Fonda and Madonna gym and underwear styles. Perhaps the major look that survived from the era is that everything you wore to the gym then, you wear just about anywhere today. Being seniors you probably do not wear your underwear as your outwear though although your grandchildren might.

Nancy Reagan is dressed and styled the best here. One thing I have learned from going through all of these pictures is that simple, elegant, understated is rightly the default look. She embodies this here. The giant hair, giant shoes, gilt dress, cleavage and shoulder pads on the rest of the women have faded into oblivion. Overall, the men fare much better than the women in the '80s. All of the men would look just fine right now.

1990s  I am in my 40s in the '90s and will hit 50 in '98. I lost interest in fashion gradually as I drifted into middle age. These were the most popular tv shows in the country in that decade. There is no uniformity to the way they look.  The women all work. Elaine is the highest employed of the women and she is the most eccentric dresser. The skirt length varies tremendously. The hair can be short or long, permed or straight, back combed or not. Quite a bit of retro fashion is mixed in as well. The short kilt was big in the early '60s, the bobby socks in the '50s, the maxi skirt in the early '70s. The freedom which began in the '60s continued right into the '90s as people are mixed and matched across all lines so that they felt and looked good.  Today in 2014, that is still going on. Except for what may be required in a business setting or "black tie" event, everything else is wide open. Bryan Cranston, the huge star of Breaking Bad in the 2000s, played dentist Tim Whatley on Seinfeld so I also included him in this collage.

The movie stars of the '90s, seen here in the best movies of that decade, look minimalist compared with the tv stars. There is almost no experimentation here.  It is just relaxed, simple, classic.  The best cinematographers, makeup artists and costume designers in the world became expert at not gilding the lily. Less is more indeed. In 1998 I turned 50 and became less and less interested in fashion and totally interested in ease and comfort.  So this is a good place for a senior to end the study of fashion.

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