Search Site

Is the classic look the wave of the future?

Is the classic look in clothing making a resurgence in the modern world of fashion?  It has been interesting to note that over the past couple of years there has been a subtle reintroduction of the classic look.  The classic look has always had its place in culture because of it timelessness or the sense of history it gives to a society quickly moving towards pure individualism and postmodernism.  The individualistic element in western society today has caused many fashions norms to fragment and splinter.  What I mean by this is that there seem to be negative underlying side effects occurring in our culture today as a consequence of individual expression; that is the erosion of corporate unity and societal homogeneity.

In previous decades it was very easy to see widespread trends dominate a society. For example, in the 1970s lapel shirts with flared pants and long hair were normative for most men.  In the 1980s it was the mullet hair cut and thin ties, and colorful suits were seen as must-haves.  No one in their right mind in the 80s would have worn a big, chunky tie with flared pants, unless of course it was for a comedic effect.  Likewise in the 90s, although not as universal, you did have the introduction of grunge, which resulted in a slammed door on the 80s.  So, within a space of 10 years it was easy to renounce the fashion of the previous decade even to the point of ridicule.  However, with the new millennium we have not seen such a sharp dichotomy from the 2000s to the 2010s.  I think this is largely due to the pervasive nature of individualism.  Now with so much choice available to us, it has become increasingly difficult to encapsulate a decade with a certain dress code.

A good example of how this is the case would be the movie the wedding singer, released 1998.  When it was released I remember thinking that even though the movie exaggerated the fashion of the mid 80s, it was still a fair representation of that era.  The movie was automatically funny because it poked fun at the previous decade by rewinding the clock 13 years.  Now, if you were to make a similar movie today on the same premise you would have to rewind the clock back to 2000.  Now would there be the immediate sense of embarrassment?  Yes, there would be a couple of things that would make you smile – like theY2K scare or the introduction of smartphones or social networks such as Facebook, but when it comes to fashion there really wasn’t this pervasive universal fashion trend that is now easily mocked and cringed over! Why is this? What threshold did we cross over at the turn of the new millennium? I think it goes back to individualism and the actualization of choice that has saturated our culture over the past 20 years.

This of course is a good thing from a consumer’s stand point.  With everyone now being able to log on to the internet, coupled with the rapid increase of communication, it has allowed people to construct their own individual world more, to the point they can easily personalize their clothes with custom embroidery and screen printing services.  This is of course, like I said, is for the most part a good thing for the individual, but there have been some causalities along the way.  One such causality is the lost of uniformity in our culture, which is now even seen in the fashion world.  However, we are not left completely without any consistent fashion trends, and the best one we have is the classic look.  With the success of recent shows such as Downton Abbey and time period movies such as Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows It seems the closest we might have to a fashion norm is a transitional look, which is “classic meets modern.”  Regardless of individual taste, there will always room for a modernized classic look, and maybe this will become the most recognizable style of this decade.  I guess we'll have to wait until the 20s to find out!