Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

November 27, 2013

Retro: everything old is new again

Retro fashions from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s are seeing sales today that rival those from the decades of their origin.

If you fall into the over 50 crowd, you will remember exactly where these trends originated – and if you don’t, let me refresh your memory.

Undoubtedly the images on the ‘silver screen” have influenced the world of fashion heavily. The leather jacket, though quite tame by today’s standards, was once synonymous with rebellion and living on the edge. In 1953, “The Wild One” starring Marlon Brando as the leader of a biker gang set the standard for masculine dressing with his Perfecto black motorcycle jacket. It would continue to stand as the epitome of “cool” for years to come as it was worn by major Hollywood stars from Gary Cooper to Harrison Ford.

Often referred to as the “Fabulous ‘50s”, Americans seemed determined to leave the war years of the ‘40s behind and charge headlong into the new decade. Women were now juggling both work at home and a job, and this new surge into the work place required a new type of wardrobe. Skirts, both pencil straight and gathered at the waist, fitted dresses with Peter Pan collars and pointed top shoes filled closets of the ‘50s “working Mom.”

The controversial spaghetti strap dress, banned by some institutions for being immodest, was camouflaged for daytime with a cardigan sweater, only to be flaunted when the sun set. Teenage girls followed their mother’s need for fashion with two-piece sweater sets, cuffed jeans, Capri pants, poodle skirts, and the more crinolines the better.

To many the 1960s stand as one of the most influential fashion decades of the 20th century. The early part of the ‘60s found America captivated by the style and grace of First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Her designer pastel suits and pillbox hats for day wear and full skirted evening gowns for State affairs were quickly translated into affordable fashion for the masses. In the mid-’60s Stiletto heels {ouch!} replaced comfortable shoes, everywhere you looked was the color ORANGE, and men’s ties were wider than many of the bikinis tops on the beach.

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