I’ll bet you didn’t know you were a fashion icon. Maybe you did. If you’re like a gazillion Americans and folks all over the world feeling the weight of a chronically light wallet, you’re actually part of what’s steering the fashion industry right now. Allow me to explain.
Remember last spring when Alexa Chung and Drew Barrymore’s ómbre haircolor swept the fashion magazines and shortly thereafter most of our coifs? Remember your boyfriend, dad, or brother (or whoever) saying, “Why are you paying to look like you have grown-out highlights?” The world hasn’t seen a trend like this in a long time, and it has everything to do with the socioeconomic shift we’re experiencing as a species. Our paychecks are fewer and farther between, food and shelter are always first priority, so what goes on the back burner? Probably your highlights. No one “created” this look. Some brilliant hairdressers figured out how to market it, that’s all. Not only is it naturally-occurring for most of us, but maintenance on the procedure is… less than obligatory.
Have you noticed the revival of classic lines? Americans at the very least are holding tighter to their money, spending only when something seems like a really worthy investment. The result? Wash-and-wear slacks, timeless peacoats, boots designed to last longer than a season. The working class takes their appearance more seriously, and blue-collar occupations like printmakers, butchers, barber, and cooks become trendsetters; making the best of a society favoring need over want, and indulging only when absolutely necessary. Quality products are in higher demand these days, and production itself becomes the focus of truly detail-oriented craftsmen and women, determined to set their handiwork apart from the mass-produced Other.
Tattoos are becoming an element of dignity and taste. Again, with the elevation of the middle class, a tailored dress or suit exposing tasteful, high-quality body art exude a down-to-earth value system and an empowered younger set. The notion that life outside of work can begin to blend seamlessly with proprietary accessories has become quietly commonplace, but I think it deserves to be noticed. Haircuts and hairstyles have gone the way of Mad Men, effortless and elegant, simple and sustainable. Liquid eyeliner and berry tones have taken the place of Con de Nast tans and glittery eye shadow. Beauty has come back down to earth again, because you and I demanded it.
Finally, mixed with tried and true silhouettes, we see garments worn until virtually threadbare. We’re not buying cleverly-quipped screen-printed tees anymore, we’re rummaging for the real thing. Or even better, we’re wearing shirts we’ve had since grade school, opting for what’s around over the overpriced “thrift” at the vintage shops.
Your financial standing, your struggle has been possibly the most important thing to impact the fashion industry (the one with its feet on the ground anyway) in a long while. Kudos to you for making the best of an otherwise pretty bleak situation.
What do you do to keep your clothes working for you? What are some of your favorite pieces you hope last a lifetime?
[Non-celeb images via the Sartorialist.]
I chose the Sartorialist because his pictures are of people on the street, not just runways. Of course it’s impossible to see everything, but he does a great job at capturing what’s out there. He deserves major credit for what he’s doing.