The History Of Retro Dresses: From The 1950’s To The 80’s
It’s cliché, but it’s cliché with a timeless meaning: What’s old is new again, and this saying certainly has a lot of stock when it comes to retro dresses and clothing. Mod clothing from several eras ago has a timelessness to them that’s hard to describe. They’re stylish, hip, and original in the sense that if you really want to go against the grain, wearing clothes your parents or grandparents haven’t worn since their teens may do the trick. The thing that makes fashion during the last century so appealing to youngsters is their variety and recognizable identity. It’s easy to identify them because each generation has established their own identities.
Take for example clothing of the 1950’s. The fifties was a golden age of glamour and panache. Not since the Victorian Era were people concerned about making wholesome dresses fit for all sorts of formal occasions. There’s a sense of classiness found in fifties fashion that cannot be found in subsequent generations. Magazines, rock music, and television paved the way in making the baby boomer youth more daring than before while the older generation of the era retained the panache of earlier, prewar eras. This was an era of oat garments, plaid, petticoats, girdles, trapeze dresses, petrochemical fashion fabrics, bobby socks, and teenaged fashion idols like James Dean and Elvis Presley Vintage Retro.
As for clothing of the 1960’s, this was an era of rebellion, hippies, and flower children. In order to propagate the message, “Make Love, Not War,” several things happened around this time; an anti-establishment rebellion the likes of which hasn’t been seen since James Dean became a poster boy of “Rebel without a Cause”, a sexual revolution of sorts that broke down generations-old taboos regarding the topic, and a growing anti-war sentiment during the Nixon era. The sixties was also the era of Women’s Liberation and the acceptance of trousers and (ironically) miniskirts for women. This is the era where stockings died and pantyhose took their place for a while.
When it comes to clothing of the 1970’s… the so-called disco era… long hair for both men and women were the norm. Bellbottom jeans were all the rage later on, but before that, there were the mini, micro, and maxi skirt lengths. Never before (and never since) has an era have so many skirt length options for women. The hippies of the sixties who brought over fashion from other countries was able to influence the seventies in the form of ethnic fashion trends. The seventies was a wellspring of creativity (as well as fashion duds) in terms of variation.
Then came the clothing of the 1980’s, where everything took a technological jump. Music featured electric keyboards and synthesizers. One of the hits of the decade was a repetitive song about robots. In the eighties, everyone was seemingly in love with neon-colored fashion, wild hair, and glam rock. The theme of anti-establishment rebellion was taken to the hilt during this time when punk rock teenagers were concerned about being unique individuals and power-dressing adults were primarily concerned about gaining a hedonistic, materialistic lifestyle.