The Cyclical Nature of Fashion

By Marcella Kukulka

Have you ever been into a boutique and thought hmmm, I’ve seen this before… Well, you aren’t wrong! It’s true that fashion tends to repeat itself, but not always in the ways that stylists predict. The concept of a trendy outfit isn’t necessarily that it has never been seen before, but that it has been freshly revived with a twist! If you’re interested in discovering which trends in 2017 are borrowed from the decades preceding it, check out this article below.

Perhaps one of the most timeless trends is the bibbed blouse. So who wore it first? Bibbed blouses originated around the early 1700s and were mostly popular for men traveling the high seas, a.k.a. pirates. The next time this blouse came about was around 150 years later when Southern Belles were walking around plantations charming handsome young men into wedlock. Bibbed blouses then recurred in the 1910’s and 1970’s respectively. Besides losing the puffy sleeves and ginormous shoulder pads, the trend has actually stayed quite the same since then. Most commonly made in plain white, designers started making the blouses in loud patterns during the 70’s. Now in 2017, you can find an assortment of bibbed blouses in many colors, but the main difference is that the bib tends to follow the buttons instead of spreading out widely along the whole chest.

Made popular in the 1950s, the much adored midi-skirt looked quite different than how it does today. In the 50s, the silhouette was predominantly a-lined and had a great deal of tulle underneath to accentuate a small waist. Now that the “preferred” body type has changed from a petite to hourglass figure, midi-skirts in 2017 are skin-tight in an effort to accentuate a woman’s curves. Meanwhile, the hemline has stayed the same from the 50s until now, hitting the figure below the knees and right above the mid-calf. Flattering for all body types, shorter girls especially shouldn’t be afraid to wear midi skirts since the tightness prevents the long hemline from swallowing their figure (usually making them look round).

Two trends that were quite hip in the 1960s were turtlenecks and fur vests. A staple of their performance wardrobe during the time, musical duo Simon & Garfunkel can be thanked for the continuity of the turtle neck. While this trend stays relatively the same, every few years the “chunkiness” of the sweater seems to change. In the 1960s, sweaters tended to be cashmere and cableknit, whereas 2017 is the year for thin, skin-tight cotton. Stylists also have the Hippie Movement of the 60s to thank for stylish fur vests. Hippies primarily wore vests that were made out of puffy shearling or fringe-type lambswool. Detailing also included leather ties that were apparent in the front. Nowadays, fur vests tend to be made of smoother furs, like fox. Hidden metal clips attach the front of the vest together, helping to make the outfit more chic.

A beautiful trend that has not returned since it’s premiere in the 1970s: jean culottes! If you don’t know what those are, just binge watch That 70’s Show on Netflix and admire the beauty and flair that is young Mila Kunis. Culottes are knee-length trousers cut with very full legs to resemble a skirt. Worn with multi-patterned sweaters and loose long-sleeved tops back in the 70s, the pants are now worn with solid-colored tank tops and off-the-shoulder bodysuits. Hopefully this silhouette is here to stay since different fabrics can make this trend look funky to fancy quite impressively.

While this trend actually returned around 2010, it is finally transforming to the point where stylists can say it isn’t just a repeat of what came before. Tight, loud, and bright; leggings have made a major comeback since the 1980s. While the overall purpose has remained the same, being a comfortable pair of stretch pants used primarily for exercise, there have been a few changes stylistically that have made these pants more effective for the modern day. In the 80s, leggings used to be called stirrup-pants since they had a piece of elastic that wrapped around the foot (like sport shin guards). This created a triangle effect that made the thinnest of calves look big. Not to mention, these stirrups pulled down the waistline meaning women had to constantly pull up their pants. Now, leggings are made in both solid and patterned prints, have pockets to hold small items while exercising, and come in capri, cropped or full lengths. Much more effective, but still as fun, leggings won’t be a dying trend anytime soon.

Back to the Future? More like Back to 1995! 2017 is officially the year of mesh shirts, fishnets, and chokers! The interesting part about this comeback is that it is fundamentally unchanged. Mesh shirts are still worn with cute bralettes and fishnets are worn cheekily under jeans and miniskirts. In the Fall of 2016, chokers were inherently the same as well; black, tight, little necklaces made out of cheap rubber or ribbons. However, the Spring of 2017 is actually bringing less grunge and more elegance - chokers are now looking more like jewelry, made with diamonds and gold or silver detailing. A controversial style in the fashion world, the choker trend is likely to fade sooner than later.

The Juicy Couture velour tracksuit of the 2000’s has now morphed into a fitted Adidas sweat suit. An iconic trend that was sported by celebrities Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Jennifer Lopez, every teenage girl in the early 2000’s dreamed of wearing a wide-legged tracksuit like their favorite idols. With a big and tacky logo featured on the breast and sweat pant back, the Juicy tracksuit is now replaced by a more subtle and athletically-inclined Adidas sweat suit. Made in neutral colors or soft pastels, Adidas sweat suits are cinched at the ankle and usually paired with a cropped sweatshirt that shows a fit midriff. As seen in the pictures above, Adidas is already experimenting with skirts to make the trend more feminine. This silhouette is fairly new so it’s uncertain if it will stay long. Although one thing is for sure, the sweatsuit will eventually return in a more effective design just like any other style made in this cyclical industry.


All images in this article are credited to Kaitlin Jahn, a freelance photographer for The Avenue

The models featured in this article are Kalah Karloff and Marcella Kukulka