During last year I was fortunate enough to be able to make my own class with one of my professors Sarah Parrish. I created an online blog dedicated to finding my own personal fashion theory and how I view fashion within the world. During the semester I was able to go through my favorite era of clothing (the 70’s) and talk about how the culture shaped clothing that we see in stores today. The three pieces I chose are from the beginning, middle, and closer to the end of that semester. I don’t necessarily want to revise my writing to change it, but to add more insight to what I have learned now that I am at the end of my degree and how the past year has impacted my thoughts on these topics.
“Are we really able to dress freely?” This is an age-old question that has never been answered. Many times people dress the way others do around them, or what the social, cultural, or economical norm for dressing in the area is. To determine whether dressing freely is fiction or is culturally determined I have looked through many articles on the subject. An article that is incredibly interesting is by Binge Culture. The post discusses how women are breaking away from the male-dominated society by dressing more freely. This article was enjoyable because I have had so much personal experience with this.
Culture and society play a substantial role in the way most people dress. This is because these clothes are what the person has grown up with and one's childhood helps shape their future self. Has your culture and society influenced the way you dress? The culture in America now is slowly becoming more accepting as in years prior societal and cultural norms for dressing were a male-dominated view of thinking. Now, this does not mean society is not judge mental, but it means that there are fewer restrictions on what people can and can’t wear. Being able to express oneself through clothing is promoted more than it has been in the past. The upcoming generations are much more open about free speech and are willing to talk about subjects that have were considered taboo in the past. This is why it is easier to dress freely now because society is much more in tune with others being able to find themself and express this in a way such as how they dress.
Growing up, school dress codes are almost exclusively geared towards girls so they do not “distract boys.” Adults' views of clothing often stem from what they were taught about it as a child. Schools should instead, teachd boys at an early age to respect a girl’s right to wear what they want and teach them boundaries. If girls were freer to wear clothes that make them feel positive about their body growing up during school, then they would be more apt to feel better about dressing freely as they become older. Many women dress so that men will stay away from them because this thought has been ingrained in them. Some examples I can remember are not being able to wear spaghetti straps or our shorts having to be past our arm’s length. As I mentioned earlier, society and cultural norms are becoming less strict and equally dominated between genders, so it will be interesting to see what fashion changes come from the next generations. The mood board and sketch I made for my collection are based on the topic of dressing freely. This topic is so important to discuss! Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Post covid thoughts on this conversation will be very different than it was. People tend to not care as much about what others are wearing as we are just happy to be back in public without having to wear masks in most places. We can hope that the sexualization of women in places such as school has become even less than it was before covid but this is something that we will be able to know within the coming years. I think that people feel like they can dress even more freely now that the mask mandate has been lifted in most places. People want to be able to feel like they are free to wear what they want when they want. This is a topic that will always be discussed because the more progressive the world becomes the more freedom women have to choose what they want out of everything, and in this case clothing.
The 70s fashion is what I would base my fashion theory on. I have always been drawn to the styles during this time period and I am going to dive deeper into why this may be. The 70s fashion is centered around the movements that happened in the decade. Much like today, there was much unrest within the country. The civil rights movements, women’s rights, environmental efforts, and LGBT were all circulating during that time. I find that the world is still fighting the same causes today, which may be why so many relate to this time period. Many awakenings happened in the 70s which helped popularized certain clothing materials.
I am naming my line of clothing The Walkout. This is because it relates to a personal story. My parents were in high school 1970s and jeans were not seen as school-appropriate clothing. One day the students decided that they did not want to follow this dress code as it was very gender conforming. They staged a walkout to demonstrate that they wanted to be able to wear jeans. This to me is the epitome of my fashion sense because I think you should be able to wear what you want when you want to. The 70s started this as women began to wear more “manly styles” and vise versa. As in every decade, many celebrities influence the styles that are worn. A big celebrity influence in jean was Farra Fawcett. Her staple besides the hair was the high-waisted denim jeans. These were seen as revolutionary because before women did not wear jeans out and about. The clothing item that I will be creating is based on her girl-next-door style. It will be a full denim jumpsuit. Jumpsuits had a rise in popularity as well as denim. The two will be combined to really signify the popularity of jeans as well as having patchwork pockets.
The silhouette in the 1970s was an upside-down Y shape with a tighter top and wide pants. This then came into the liberal hippie loose clothing style with maxi dresses, ext. The disco aesthetic was around the same where the upside-down Y was the silhouette. The difference between the 70s fashion and others is that men were coming to meet women fashion with more paisley and floral prints which usually never happens. Jean/Denim was very popular with both genders. Denim was a part of the environmental effort and was able to be recycled. Very often it was used in patchwork clothing which was an ode to the great depression. This is because their parents would have grown up the depression. Fashion trends often take something from the past and reinvent them. Jean can be turned into many different clothing items, which made it even more popular.
During the 1970s denim went from outside work clothing to a high fashion item. I find this very interesting because America as a whole is often described as a “blue jean” country. My next piece involves a denim jumpsuit with patches throughout. The idea of American Denim has come up in songs throughout the generations and often people associate blue jeans have been a staple item for Americans. When other countries think of American fashion, more often than not jean is brought up and for a long time, other countries simply did not wear blue jeans. Blue Jeans were not actually popular until the ’70s. Before they were seen as something you wear to work in the yard or to fix the house in. They were seen as unfashionable and women especially would not be wearing them. During this time it was still somewhat taboo for women to be wearing pants. The ’60s and 70’s are really brought wearing pants and shorts for women into the spotlight.
I still love that this is such a relevant topic a year after I posted this. Jeans are such a staple in American culture and I don’t see this ever changing. The shift to more athletic wear has happened which in a sense makes jeans even more put together. Most people in the younger generation would say that wearing jeans feels like dressing up after being in quarantine. In quarantine most people would just wear sweatpants and athletic wear so the shift to jeans again is hard. Many companies have focused on making their jeans extremely comfortable so people don't feel like they are putting on actual jean material. This has been seen by so many companies because of such a shift. You also see a shift in the way the bottom of jeans are. Many jeans today are bell bottom, boyfriend, or more straight leg jeans. Skinny jeans are becoming something of the past while the past jeans from the 70’s and other generations are coming back.
Ever heard the song Surfin USA? I’m sure your parents or grandparents have played a band called the beach boys. They were very popular during the late ’60s and ’70s. The reason I mention them is that this idea of surf culture had a huge impact on the fashion of this decade. Many young people migrated to California from all of the United States, not only for the Hippie lifestyle but for the surf culture. Hawaii was also a place that people moved to for the surfing lifestyle. People enjoyed the barefoot, little clothing, simplistic lifestyle that surfers had. They really only cared about their surfboard. The women that I want to bring attention to are called the California Golden Girls. These were a group of women surfers that are looked up to as professional surfers before women were given the spotlight. Their names were Jericho Poppler, Shannon Aikman, Candy Woodward, Lisa Tomb, Brenda Scott Rogers, Betty Depolito. They were very athletic women who competed in competitions and events in the ’70s. These women are very important to the surfing community as they still continue to encourage girls in the surfing and sports industry. I am going to base my outfit on the wetsuits that they wore during the ’70s. The one featured is a high cut one piece wetsuit with a wavy block pattern. They even have the golden girls written on their uniforms which signifies their group. I love this because when women come together good change is brought about. The style of the swimsuit was very flattering to these women and are often
Along with the actual surfers, there were many who did not surf professionally that just enjoyed the beach, atmosphere, and vibe of the surfers. Short shorts, floral printed bikinis, and high cut one-piece swimsuits were very much the rage during this time. People started dressing much more scandalous for the time, showing off their bodies and freedom of the way they want to dress, especially on the beach. Many times the spectators would park their VW vans on the beach and hang out with whoever was around and many times roller skating. People seem to be drawn to this era due to the lack of technology and the carefree nature of the people they were surrounded by. The surfing attire became a 200 million dollar industry by the 1970’s as people wanted the beach bum vibe.
I found a video of someone who traveled to the California beaches during the 1970s which I have attached below and a video of the surfing during this time!
I chose this section because athletic fashion is becoming so trendy now. Everyone wants to wear more comfortable clothes as this is what we have gotten used to. Companies such as lulu lemon, athleta, and aerie are the stores that everyone is shopping at. This generation is also very into athletics and going to the gym. We want to stay healthy and active which is why the clothing is becoming popular. It is becoming very normalized for most people you meet to be involved in some kind of physical activity everyday. Surfing is also still a very popular sport as tennis and other sports of the 70’s are coming back into fashion. High cut bathing suits, tennis skirts, and women's athleisure is all seen throughout the stores. I think this is partly due to covid because we were forced to stay inside our houses. Now that we are able to be outside everyone wants to due outdoor activities and do anything that involves not being in the house.