Dunce Fashion?

What makes something fashionable?  Styles come and go.  Hemlines rise and fall.  Colors are in and then they are so out (remember the fluorescent 80s?).  What is up with that?  What dictates fashion?

Do you remember bare midriffs?  It seems like this happened sometime in the late 90s/early 2000s, where two competing fashion trends came to a head: impossibly low pants with insanely (wonderfully?) high baby T-shirts.  The result = about 12 to 18 ridiculous inches of exposed skin in the tummy/upper butt region at any given time.  Of course, not everyone could pull it off, and even on those that could, it was still too trashy to openly approve (though, in some rare instances, I will confess that I approved.  A little bit).

Since then, though, low-rise jeans have calmed down some, and it seems like trends in shirt lengths have gone in the opposite direction.  It seems like this happens constantly, a fashion roller-coaster between uber skankdom and almost Puritan modesty.  Right now, it seems, women’s shirts are long but fitted, and pants are tighter to offset the underexposed skin.  I wonder what will happen next.

When I was living in Dallas, UGGs were IN!  But because it is so hot down there, girls on campus would pair them with super-short mini-skirts, usually denim (it was Texas, after all).  How much sense does that make?  Your skirt says tropical clime, your footwear says you’re trekking the Himalayas.  But the shoes cost hundreds of dollars, and they were in, so sacrifices had to be made.  Fashion forces you to look ridiculous sometimes.

In high school, I had a vest: navy blue suede on the front with a satin paisley finish on the back.  And I am telling you, at the time, it was in.  I was hot!  I don’t know where it is, but I probably wouldn’t be caught dead in it now.  A sweater vest, maybe.  But not this thing.

I remember when Capri pants first came out, or re-came out.  I don’t know when they originated, but they seemed to have a pretty powerful resurgence in the last decade.  At first, I didn’t know what to make of them, but now know people that wear little else.  I can’t imagine a world without Capri pants.  Who started that?  Where did they come from?  (Capri would be an obvious geographic response, but who was the first person to cut 8 inches off the bottom of their jeans and say “there, that’s much better, I don’t care what people think”)?

Do celebrities dictate fashion?  Set trends?  What role, really, does the fashion industry play?  Who started all those high school trends (i.e. penny roll, overalls, friendship bracelets)?  How does a new look get started?

For example, say we wanted to start a “dunce look” (see picture).  I think we can all agree that this look is NOT in.  Never has been.  Nothing even remotely close to it.  But if we wanted it to, and got enough celebrities on board, and people started wearing dunce caps on the red carpet, to movie premiers, in movies, to weddings, in high schools, to prom, could it ever catch on?

What other fashions do you remember?  Where do they come from?

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