Yesterday, as I pulled on my ripped jeans and clipped on my oversized hoop earrings, I got to thinking about thematic dressing. Carrie Bradshaw once said that she wears “ghetto gold for fun”, explaining that her engagement ring (something one wears everyday) could never be gold. On countless occasions we’ve seen Carrie rock that ghetto gold she speaks of, in the form of her nametag necklace or some wild statement bangle, and on others, she wears elaborate diamond-encrusted pieces, elegant as ever. Her character is the prime example of reinventing personal style to channel an era, a movement or a muse.
Choosing to pair two items you’ve never imagined, sporting a piece that has been sitting in the back of your jewelry box or smearing on a bold lip colour during the day; each of these style choices will allow you to modify the routine, and to consequently find yourself reaching for new influences. For any designer, from big shots to start-ups, inspiration often comes from a point in history, whether it’s a person, a time or a trend. Well, if it works for the design experts, it should work for us too. Venture outside your usual formula and take notes from the historical movements that have brought us here today.
50s Style: Hourglass shapes reigned in the fifties. Skirts were full, kitten heels were sought-after and dainty, feminine accessories like gloves, hats and tiny purses were abundant.
50s Today: To get the fifties look today, an A-line or full skirt is the first piece of the puzzle. Try a fitted blouse on top and smear on a harsh, black eyeliner and some red lippie. OR Opt for high-waisted straight leg pants, rolled at the bottom, with loafers and your shirt tied in a knot.
Muses: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Coco Chanel
60s Style: The swinging sixties brought on a lot of social change, which greatly influenced the fashion scene. Rules were broken and new standards of style were set. Go-go boots, pillbox hats, bright psychedelic colours; all those things we now call ‘mod’ prevailed. Mary Quant introduced the mini skirt, changing the way women wore skirts and dresses forever.
60s Today: High-impact mascara or false lashes will give you that Twiggy look, and any geometric shapes in bright colours and fitted, boxy silhouettes scream 1960s revival. Cat-eye glasses, square-toe boots or loafers and opaque, bold tights, are all a must.
Muses: Twiggy, Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, Mary Quant, Edie Sedgwick, Janis Joplin, The Beatles, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (yes, still)
70s Style: Saturday Night Fever was a huge catalyst in bringing on the disco era in the 1970s, changing fashion forever. Bell bottoms, platform shoes, the mini skirts of the 60s, fringe, tie-dye, hot pants and jersey wrap dresses c/o DVF. Leotards, crop tops and wavy hair with a centre-part were also prevalent.
70s Today: Evidently, bell-bottom jeans have seen a resurgence in the past few years, making this the easiest 70s trend to emulate. Otherwise, an American Apparel leotard, some platform shoes, bold gold jewelry and your best beach hair will give you the hippie demeanor in a flash.
Muses: Bianca Jagger, Marie Helvin, John Travolta, Farrah Fawcett, Liza Minnelli, Alie MacGraw, Faye Dunaway, Debbie Harry, Iman, Joni Mitchell, Jane Fonda, Stevie Nicks,
80s Style: In the late 70s, punk entered the fashion scene, and this trend saw it’s heyday in the 80s. Ripped jeans repaired with safety pins, cropped or oversized leather jackets, fishnets, Ray-Ban sunglasses, Doc Marten shoes, and anything leopard print was the go-to punk attire. Otherwise, the 80s saw a popularization of “Power Dressing”, likely created due to women’s newfound presence in the workforce. Shoulder pads, boxy, neon suits and large hair were “power” staples.
80s Today: Today’s 80s look is a bit more refined, with thinner, more modern shoulder pads in blazers and less of a box frame in suits. However, the punk movement has certainly not died, with Balmain continually recreating the style each season. Ripped jeans, an oversized t-shirt, blazer or leather jacket, heavy eyebrows and some cumbersome jewelry, and you’ll be eighties-ready.
Muses: Madonna, Vivienne Westwood, Molly Ringwald, Joan Jett, Linda Evans, Brooke Shields, Jennifer Beals, Cyndi Lauper, Pat Benatar, Grace Jones
What's your favourite era?
All in all, the possibilities are endless when it comes to fashion and beauty in this world. Why stick to the present era when there’s so much to work with from the past? I bet you’ve got a piece inspired by each of these eras in your wardrobe, take one to the next level this weekend by pairing it with its perfect match and echoing some time in history. You’ll probably wind up falling in love with the trends of a decade, creating your own little resurgence, one go-go boot at a time.