The Twenty-Some Year Fashion Cycle

I first keyed in on this phenomenon while in college. It was the late 80's (Good Lord! How is that so long ago already?), and all over campus, people wore tie dyed shirts. The quintessential 60's hippie band The Grateful Dead was continually touring but now in support of their first top ten hit "Touch of Grey". (In all fairness, I would bet many of those tie-dyed co-eds saw The Dead during summer tours). The only thing missing from that 60's look were bell bottoms, but we were in the throes of pegged jeans and leggings. Flared jeans would just not do. The horror.

Twenty years later, the 60's were hip all over again.

(Side note: all I can do is comment on my own experiences. If your fashion led you down a differing path, feel free to tell me how you dressed!)

As far as I know, during the fashion nightmare that was the 1970s, there wasn't a re-popularization of the poodle skirts, leather jackets and saddle shoes that evoke the 1950's. So did this fashion cycle start with the 1980's revitalization of the 60's look?

Enter the 1990s. The first major cultural shift of this varied decade was the move away from heavy metal (Twisted Sister) and the glam/big hair bands (Poison) and into the long, scraggly haired, goatee-sporting grunge scene of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and The Chili Peppers. Was there some nod to the 1970's and their odd, shaggy hair cuts and side burns? Perhaps.

Neon disappeared. Pant legs began to widen. Shirts were tied around waists and not slung over shoulders, but preppy still survived.

A few years ago I saw a band at a hipster club in Chicago (at least the band members were old, otherwise we would have been the oldest by a decade). As I partook of some excellent people watching, a very disturbing trend began revealing itself. These youngsters were wearing distinctively 1980's clothing. Splashes of neon. Punk rock torn shirts. Stripes.

Egads! Certainly the 80's can't be returning. I was hoping it might merely be a hipster lark, as so many fashion trends are, and would fade.

It didn't, and it's no longer on the fringe. It's ba-aack.

Neon is commonly found on ski slopes again, where it once covered the mountain, and then disappeared completely.

Some new music out there is so synth-driven it makes you flash back to when we ran with flocks of seagulls.

'Cut Copy' played Lollapalooza a few years ago. They were fun to watch, but I could not help but picture this song (Need You Now) playing during the credits of some John Hughes movie. (I would be remiss to omit MGMT's Time to Pretend for a different take on 80's synth music.)

When my 10-year old enters high school, are the kids going to be growing their hair long and wearing flannel 'neath their goatees? If so, I will totally take Zoe and her friends to Metro and mosh (OK, I'll stay towards the back so as not to mortify them!).

Ay, Mama!

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